When car shipping began, it was a service that was only offered to car dealerships or those with plenty of money. It did not take long, however, for it to break out into the mainstream, where many people could both offer and use the service. Because of this, there were many less than honest companies that claimed to be highly rated and professional. It did not take much to transport a car, so it was hard to tell which companies were honest and experienced, and which were not. To this day, scams exist, however, there are a few things that you can do if you want to avoid these problems.

Talk to the Company

Your first impressions are very important, no matter what kind of deal the moving company will give you. You should always call the company directly and speak to a representative. See if you can find out how many employees the company has, how many trucks they operate, if they have a 1-800 number, and if they have locations around the country. Car transporters who are highly rated will also give you numbers that are associated with their companies so that you can look them up through various business groups as well. Do not hesitate to follow through with this step.

Check them Out

Every legal company will have licenses and certifications to provide the services that they claim to offer. If you do not get these numbers, you could be dealing with any number of scams or under the table companies. Make sure that you do not stop at just retrieving these numbers. Make sure that you follow through and check these numbers with the right agencies as well. Scam companies often have numbers, but they may be fake or expired. This could be a big red flag when you are trying to decide on a company to ship your vehicle with.

Picking One

In the end, you will only be able to choose a single auto hauling company to handle your vehicle transport needs. As you complete the research process, you will end up with a shrinking list of companies. By the time you weed out all of the less than honest ones, you should only have a couple of companies left. When you get to this point, you may want to consider calling the better business bureau or other business ranking organizations that will be able to tell you of any issues they have on file for a given company. Go online and research the company name as well. In the end, you need to pick the one with the best reputation rather than the one that will cost you the least. By doing this, you can ensure that your vehicle makes it to your destination in one piece.

If You’ve Been Scammed:

Knowing who to contact in the event that you find yourself as the victim of a car shipping scam is important. There is a statute of limitations on when you can file a complaint, and the sooner you do so, the quicker you will find resolutions to the problems. Below are the different avenues that you should use in order to report scams and less than upfront companies.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Consumers can file complaints online at http://www.1-888-dot-saft.com/CC_Info.htm or by phone at 1-888-368-7238.

Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General

Consumers can file complaints by sending them in email format to hotline@oig.dot.gov.

American Moving and Storage Association

Consumers can file for arbitration from the AMSA under the AMSA Arbitration Program. (For companies who are members of the AMSA only.)

The Better Business Bureau

Even if the company is not a member, consumers can file an official complaint with the BBB at http://www.bbb.com.

Your Legislators

Though no official complaint process exists, consumers can contact their representatives in the US Senate and House of Representatives in order to provide feedback on the shady business practices and other abuses that consumers face from the moving industry as a whole.

Moving Scams Online

Consumers can also file a complaint with MovingScam.com; a website that specializes in helping consumers avoid scams in the moving industry (including car shipping scams).