Auto transport red flags are something you need to know. Just like in any other venture where you’re doing something online, you want to make sure the companies you hire for whatever you’re looking to do are good.
Whether you’re buying a car online, buying something off of Amazon, or trying to find someone to help you get something done, online shopping is fraught with potential peril. While the wild west days of the internet are mostly a thing of the past, there’s always someone trying to pull a fast one. Whether it’s bad eBay sellers, companies that don’t get how online shopping works, or simple bait-and-switch tactics, you need to be careful.
And this includes when you’re shopping for someone to transport your car. Auto transport red flags aren’t as prevalent as they once were. Bad companies have either gone out of business or forced off of any type of online marketing platform. Reviews play an integral role in the success of any business today, especially those that rely on an online presence. But sometimes…well, sometimes, you just have to know what to look for.
That’s why in this entry we’re going to talk about some auto transport red flags, how to spot them, and why you need to avoid them.
Spot auto transport red flags before you start
The first thing to know how to actually spot red flags. Most of it is honestly just basic common sense, and they tie more into how best to find a car transport company.
To start, though, you absolutely need to get different quotes from different companies. You want at least six quotes, but 10 is even better.
Why though? Usually, when you get multiple quotes for a service, you end up on mailing lists and get spammed to death. And while that is true to an extent, it happens with car shippers only when you try to ignore them time and again. But that’s not the point. What is the point is that you want those multiple quotes for comparison purposes more than anything.
You want them to email you quotes and tell you their services. You want to see who has good prices, who has bad prices, who promises things they obviously can’t deliver. You’re looking for companies that explain the process, that explain what sets them apart from the rest of the field. These are great reasons to get multiple quotes to ship your car.
But most importantly, you can compare them against each other and figure out which ones don’t fit.
Now, when you fill out our free quote form, you can rest a bit easier. We clear every company you get a quote from for both dependability and reliability. We make sure they are real, honest companies that operate in good faith. But not everyone does, which is why we highly recommend starting with quotes via our free quote form before anything else.
Low deposit price
One of the easiest things to spot, right off the bat, is a low deposit price. Now, a low deposit price doesn’t necessarily mean the company in question is trying to scam you or anything else. But it is a red flag, mostly because a low deposit price generally indicates a lack of knowledge of how the industry operates.
Auto transport companies charge a deposit, or a down payment, or whatever their name for it is. They charge this in order to cover their operating costs and to pay for their time in helping move your vehicle. These are the brokers, and generally, brokers are who you want to book your shipment with.
But you don’t want just any broker. You want one that charges a normal price for a deposit. Deposits usually fall in a range from about $175-275, with $200-250 being the average. If a company’s deposit falls within that range, then it’s not a red flag!
But a low deposit price usually screams desperation. Either they’re new and inexperienced, or they’re trying to drive sales to account for losses in other areas. Companies with low deposit prices usually have to resort to bait-and-switch tactics. While the entry price may be lower than usual, there are usually a whole host of problems that arise when using companies like this.
Not every company that offers a low deposit price is bad. But it’s definitely something to watch for.
Low price in general
It’s not just a low deposit price that is a red flag, but a low price in general. While the industry is route-based, that doesn’t mean that prices are fixed. Car shipping brokers will post loads for what they think the going rate on a route is, and independent carriers will inquire about loads they are interested in.
There’s not a carrier out there that will take a load that pays less than another. They will always try to get the highest-paying loads they can, and will settle on lower-priced freight so long as they can still make money on it.
So, when you put two and two together, it’s clear that low prices won’t yield promising results. Lower prices mean a lower offer from the broker you hired. And, since the offer is lower, there aren’t going to be many carriers (if any) that are interested in your load.
Low prices tend to be the start of a bait and switch. They aren’t always the start of one – pricing is not easy in the auto transport industry, and with tens of thousands of routes nationwide, keeping up on them all can be daunting. Prices on a route can change rapidly due to circumstances that are unforeseeable. So while a low price can be a red flag, it’s not always the sign of a bad company.
Regardless, when you get multiple quotes to ship your car you can compare prices. You want to avoid the ones at the lowest end.
Guaranteed pickup or delivery
In the car shipping world, few things are truly guaranteed. Whether it’s pricing, pickup dates, delivery dates, it doesn’t matter – nothing is really guaranteed. And while that’s also true for most things in life, it’s especially true in auto transport. And there’s nothing that is less guaranteed than specific pickup or delivery dates.
Auto transporters don’t give specific pickup dates. They give specific pickup windows, which are generally 24-48 hours. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest one is simply the fact that transit times are estimated.
Auto shippers spend their days driving. As they drive, they encounter all sorts of delays. Most of it is traffic, especially in major metropolitan areas. But other things such as customer cancellations, inclement weather, road closures, construction, all of those can delay a carrier.
So companies that say they can get your vehicle picked up guaranteed are often just using it as a sales tactic. Many companies will add a percentage caveat to skirt this and say that “X% of cars get picked up guaranteed!” or something like that. Which is fine. Many companies have different levels of service that “guarantee” pickup within a given window. Many times they have the highest tier which can get a car picked up within 24 hours usually, but most will give a 1-7 day business window.
If they guarantee their dates, though, and provide those instead of actual windows, be on the lookout.
Bad reviews/no reviews
This one may take a bit more investigative work on your end, but it’s worth it. Something that online shopping nowadays has going for it are reviews. Specifically, customer reviews, as real customers often will give their stories honestly. Not all of them of course, but many will give fair and honest assessments of their experiences with whatever company it is they’re reviewing.
With auto transportation companies it’s much the same. You want to go with companies that have good reviews, and avoid those with bad reviews.
Of course, with car shipping companies, there’s a lot of really good companies out there. There are some bad ones, but they’re easy to spot. What’s not so easy to spot is when a bad company is masquerading as a good company. In addition to the red flags we covered above, you should also watch a company’s reviews. More specifically, how many bad reviews they tend to get, and what those reviews are about.
If a company has communication issues, that’s something that will crop up in many reviews left by customers. The same goes for the attention to detail or finding carriers that don’t do a good job. You’ll see patterns start to emerge when you start reading reviews. Companies that are good tend to have a majority of good reviews, and oftentimes, it’s just something ticky-tack that ends up earning four stars instead of five.
You should do your homework regardless of what we say, though. Compare prices and services and reviews, and use that information to find the right fit for your needs.
Avoid auto transport red flags with ASQ!
If you’re interested in shipping your car with a reputable company, start with us. Take a minute to fill out our online quote request form to get multiple free quotes emailed to you within the next hour. Avoid the auto transport red flags by choosing a company that’s already been screened for you. We clear each company you get a quote from for both dependability and reliability. This means we make sure they are fully licensed and bonded, and that they understand the industry. So no matter what you’re looking for, let us at ASQ help you find it.