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Auto Transport Hustle- You Get What You Pay For

Auto Transport Hustle- You Get What You Pay For

As a consumer, there are two things we spend the most money on, a house and a car. Both are considered prized possessions.  This then begs the question. Why do people try so hard to ship a car as cheaply as possible?  Shipping a car is a luxury.

Recently, there have been extremely low offers from brokers to ship cars and there have been truckers calling in to pick up the vehicles.  The truckers calling are a brand new companies. We all know everyone starting out has to try to find a niche but at the same time, it needs to be done where this is a win/win for all concerned.

Now the new thing out there is known as the “Auto Transport Hustle”.

This one is coming to you from the truckers (especially brand spanking new ones), this time around.  How does this affect you, the customer?

Please note, when fuel prices were high, all other services for truckers raised their prices as well.  When fuel prices fell, this was the only thing that fell. All other services such as parts, tires, insurance etc. did not drop their pricing.

Now reputable drivers are finding it extremely hard to compete with companies taking offers for $250 cash on delivery to transport a car from Florida to say, MA. In fact, some of them are parking their trucks which is putting a strain on the system when it comes to moving cars. This is leaving a vacuum which is being filled but not in a good way.

Here is why these “Auto Transport Hustle” truckers are able to do this.

They literally have no overhead. They are not paying insurance which is extremely expensive, 2nd only to fuel costs.

How do they get away with it?

The ringleader say XYX2 Transport buys a Red Kenworth tractor head. The co- conspirators, purchase tractor heads the same make and color.  They, then take the MC# & insurance that XYZ2 transport has use it on their company paperwork.  So the sign on their door has to carry an MC #. They have one dispatcher working to load all those companies working with this number.  Bear in mind, it is a legitimate number but it just does not belong to them.  So they are going around and picking up cars dirt cheap. They only have to worry about paying for fuel.

Now what happens when a trucker picks up a car and while the car was in transit, it was damaged? You the consumer, will be left with no recourse. How? When a car is damaged, a broker will provide the customer with insurance information.  When the customer goes to file a claim, this is when they find out that the insurance on file does not belong to the trucker that picked up the car.  They then have to have their car fixed through their own insurance and then have to go through a long drawn out process by contacting the FMSCA (Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration) to get to bottom of this.

How did this come to light?

A trucker picked up a vehicle in GA and was heading to MA. The truck broke down.  Another trucker was contacted to complete the run. When the trucker got there, the 1st trucker took the vehicle off his trailer. While that was happening, he ripped the bumper off. The 2nd trucker took pictures of the damage and sent it to the customer advising them of the damage and that they received the vehicle in that condition.  When the customer filed an insurance claim against that company that initially picked up the car, the customer found out the policy number did not belong to that trucker, it belonged to someone else.  There was no recourse.

How to avoid this? Work along with a reputable broker, one who takes due care of your request. Work with a broker who does not want an up-front payment by taking card information over the phone.  Work along with one who does not get paid until delivery.  Those brokers are the ones who will do their job efficiently. They will take the time to look for reputable drivers who have been in the industry for years and have an outstanding reputation.

Do they charge a premium for their services? Yes they do. Is it worth it in the long run? Yes, it is.

In this industry, if you want cheap, you can get cheap but you will get what you pay for.  Does this mean you cannot find a driver who is trying to do the right thing but is just starting out and just trying to get their foot in the door? No.

Is it worth it to take the chance to go cheap, then possibly risk damage to your vehicle only to find out you have no legitimate insurance to file a claim against? No.

What is the possible fallout? Your insurance rates go up.

Is it fair? Heck no

How long will this possibly last? Who knows but in order to protect yourself, ask questions of your broker. Check out the reputations of the transport companies contacting you for business. Lowballs are and will always be something in the industry. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. There are companies out there that pride themselves on their reputation and will do what is needed to maintain their reputation.

This is also a lightbulb for brokers too. If we allow the good drivers to leave the business and the unscrupulous ones to damage it, it ultimately affects your bottom line as well.  The short term money is just that, short term, then what do you do?

It is left up to all of us to protect the business for the reputable truckers, brokers and ultimately the people we need to stay in business, the customer.

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