Red Flags of Auto Transport Scams

Posted on September 7, 2023

Embarking on the journey of transporting your vehicle? And driving it yourself isn't an option. While most companies in the auto transport world are on the up-and-up, there's a shady underbelly you've got to watch out for. Stick around; this guide will be your co-pilot, spotlighting the warning signs of shady dealers and the road to trustworthy partners like True Carriers.


1. Decoding the Auto Transport Industry
2. Red Flags: The Warning Signs of Auto Transport Scams
3. What's at Stake: The Real Cost of Falling for a Scam
4. No Scam Zone: How to Choose a Reputable Auto Transport Company
5. FAQs

Understanding Auto Transport Industry

Understanding Auto Transport Industry

Every day, thousands of cars traverse the U.S., not on their own wheels but securely strapped to transport trailers. Maybe it’s that vintage convertible you bought from a collector across the country, the family SUV you’re moving for a job relocation, or the fleet of delivery vans a growing business needs shipped to its new branch. The auto transport industry is the silent engine behind these journeys, ensuring vehicles reach their destinations safely and efficiently.

This can be done by either open or enclosed trailers, depending on the customer’s preference. The cost of shipping a vehicle can vary depending on several factors, including the distance of the shipment, the type of vehicle being shipped, and the time of year.

Unfortunately, there are some car shipping frauds and scam companies out there that take advantage of unsuspecting customers. They may offer extremely low prices or promise unrealistic delivery times, only to disappear with your money or deliver your vehicle in poor condition. To avoid falling victim to these scams, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable auto transport company.

One way to ensure that you’re working with a legitimate company is to check their licensing and insurance. All auto transport companies are required to have a Motor Carrier (MC) number and a USDOT number. You can verify these numbers with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make sure they are valid.

In addition to checking licensing and insurance, you should also read reviews and ask for references from the auto transport company. This will give you a better idea of their reputation and the quality of their service. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify any concerns you may have before booking your shipment.

By understanding the basics of the auto transport industry and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure a smooth and safe shipment of your vehicle.

Warning Signs of Auto Transport Scams

In every industry, there’s the good, the bad, and unfortunately, the downright deceitful. The auto transport sector isn’t exempt. While many businesses, like True Carriers, pride themselves on transparent and trustworthy services, others veer off the ethical road. Recognizing the warning signs can steer you clear of potential pitfalls. Here’s your guide to the major red flags:


One common scam is the bait-and-switch tactic. The company will lure you in with a low quote, but then once they have your business, they will raise the price significantly. To avoid this, make sure you get a written quote and read the fine print carefully.

Bad Reviews

Always check the transport reviews before choosing a company. If a company has consistently bad reviews, it’s a red flag. Look for reviews on multiple platforms, such as Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau.

Pricing Crickets

If a company is hesitant to provide a quote or gives you vague pricing information, it’s a warning sign. Legitimate companies should be transparent about their pricing.

Vague Broker Fees

Some companies will add broker fees to your bill without explaining what they are for. Make sure you understand all fees and charges before agreeing to work with a company.


Be wary of any company that requires a large deposit upfront. Legitimate companies typically don’t require deposits, or if they do, they are small and refundable.

Desperate Brokers

If a broker is excessively pushy or desperate for your business, it’s a warning sign. Legitimate brokers don’t need to resort to high-pressure tactics to get your business.

Random Drivers

Some scam companies will use random drivers to transport your vehicle instead of professional drivers. This can lead to damage or loss of your vehicle. Make sure you ask about the qualifications and experience of the driver who will be transporting your vehicle.

Deceptive Texts

Be wary of any company that communicates with you solely through text messages. Scam companies often use texts to avoid leaving a paper trail.

No Credentials

Legitimate auto transport companies should have proper licensing and insurance. If a company can’t provide proof of these credentials, it’s a warning sign.

No Background Checks

Some scam companies don’t perform background checks on their drivers, which can be dangerous. Make sure you ask about the company’s hiring process and driver screening procedures.

Remember, your vehicle is a significant investment. Handing it over to a transport company requires trust. But with a discerning eye, you can sidestep the scams and ensure your car’s journey is in safe hands. True Carriers, with its commitment to integrity, remains a reliable ally in this quest. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and always opt for proven partners on the open road.

The Ramifications of Falling for a Scam

Nobody embarks on a journey expecting to stumble into a trap. Unfortunately, in the auto transport realm, scams can be more than just an annoyance. It is essential to be aware of the potential risks and take appropriate measures to avoid them. In this section, we will discuss some of the ramifications of falling for a car shipping fraud.

The Ramifications of Falling for a Scam

Financial Loss

One of the most significant consequences of falling for a scam is financial loss. Scam companies may ask for upfront payments or deposits and disappear with the money. They may also provide low quotes initially and charge extra fees later, leaving customers with a hefty bill. It is essential to research the transport company thoroughly and read reviews from trusted sources to avoid being scammed.

Identity Theft

Scammers may also ask for personal information, such as banking and credit card details, and use it to commit identity theft. They may open fraudulent credit cards, make charges to existing credit cards, and even open bank accounts. It is crucial to be cautious and not provide any personal information unless you are sure of the company’s legitimacy.

Damage to Your Vehicle

Some scam companies may not have proper insurance coverage, and in case of damage or loss to your vehicle, you may not receive any compensation. It is crucial to ask for proof of insurance and check for the company’s license and registration before hiring them.

Legal Troubles

If you fall for a scam, you may end up in legal troubles. It may be challenging to track down the scam company or recover your money. Reporting the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission and leaving an online review warning future customers can help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.

While these ramifications paint a grim picture, they underscore the importance of due diligence. Trusting your vehicle transport to proven experts like True Carriers ensures you’re not just handing over your keys, but you’re also entrusting your peace of mind. But it`s always crucial to be cautious and research the transport company thoroughly before hiring them. Reading reviews from trusted sources, checking for proof of insurance, and verifying the company’s license and registration can help you avoid falling for a scam.

How to Choose a Reputable Auto Transport Company

Just as you’d be selective when choosing someone to babysit your kids or a mechanic to handle your car’s engine, selecting an auto transport company requires careful consideration. The safety of your vehicle, your peace of mind, and your wallet are at stake. Here’s a roadmap to lead you to trustworthy transporters:

How to Choose a Reputable car shipping service
Check for Licensing and Insurance
Before choosing an auto transport company, make sure they are properly licensed and insured. All legitimate companies should have a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and a Motor Carrier (MC) number. You can verify these numbers on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. Also, check to see if the company has liability and cargo insurance to protect your vehicle in case of damage or theft.
Read Reviews
Reading reviews from previous customers can give you a good idea of what to expect from an auto transport company. Look for reviews on the company’s website, as well as on third-party review sites like Yelp and Google. Keep in mind that some companies may post fake reviews to make themselves look better, so be sure to read a variety of reviews from different sources.
Ask Questions
When speaking with an auto transport company, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about their experience, their process for transporting vehicles, and what kind of equipment they use. A reputable company should be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
Trust Your Gut
If something seems off about an auto transport company, trust your instincts and look elsewhere. Scam companies often use high-pressure sales tactics or make promises they can’t keep. If a company seems too good to be true, it probably is.

By following these tips, you can choose a reputable auto transport company and avoid falling victim to car shipping frauds and transport reviews fake.

In the realm of auto transport, awareness is your best defense against scams. Understanding the intricacies of the industry, recognizing red flags, and being aware of the consequences of falling prey to deceitful operators empowers you to make informed decisions. In True Carriers, we ensure that your vehicle isn’t just transported but cared for every mile of the journey. Remember, the most cost-effective, stress-free, and safe way to move your vehicle is by choosing a partner you can trust. Safe travels!


How can I verify a transport company’s registration with FMCSA?

Visit the official FMCSA website and use their search tool. You can enter the company’s name, USDOT number, or MC number to view their active registration status and safety records.

What should I do if I suspect I’ve been approached by a scam company?

Avoid making any payments, document all communications, and report your suspicions to local law enforcement or the FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database.

Are there any additional insurances I should consider when transporting my vehicle?

While reputable companies provide comprehensive coverage, you may want to consider gap insurance to cover any difference between the company’s insurance and the value of your car, especially if it’s a luxury or classic vehicle.

What details should be included in a genuine auto transport contract?

A contract should specify pick-up and delivery dates, total cost, payment methods, insurance coverage, and any potential additional fees, among other terms and conditions.

Can I pack personal items in my car during transport?

This varies by company. While some might allow a few personal items, it’s generally discouraged due to weight restrictions and potential theft risks. Always consult the transporter’s policy.

How are auto transport prices determined?

Prices usually depend on factors like the distance of transport, type and size of vehicle, route popularity, seasonal demand, and specific service type (like enclosed vs. open transport).

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United Car Transport
4 months ago

Choose reputable auto shipping company by checking licensing, reading reviews, asking questions, and trusting your instincts. Stay informed to ensure a safe journey for your vehicle.

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