Cheap car transport red flags!
Anyone who’s actually booked transport with a vehicle hauling company knows going with the cheapest auto transport quote may be one of the most costly decisions they ever made. When you come across bargains that seem too good to be true, they usually are. The same applies when searching for low price auto transport quotes. In this article, we’ll go over some signs you should be aware of when looking for a cheap car shipping service through a broker as opposed to dealing with an auto hauler.
Auto transport brokers have a number of auto shippers they will farm your vehicle out to, trying to find the lowest price available, and the person you initially deal with is usually not associated with the company that ends up transporting your car. Once the broker gets your non-refundable deposit, they are done with the process, leaving you to deal with any problems that arise with the third party they have brokered your shipment to.
Should you equate a cheap car transport with questionable service?
The quote that a broker offers to you is usually a generic one, and there may be hidden fees later. This unfortunately is common when dealing with a broker instead of actual auto transport companies. That is why when dealing with an auto transport broker you should always ask the brokering agent what exactly the quote includes. Is insurance included in the cost? How about door-to-door service?
Many times you are quoted terminal to terminal services from a broker. This means your car will spend time at a terminal waiting to be picked up by you or the auto transport carrier. The terminal will charge you a terminal fee, and sometimes a daily storage fee. If your car spends days at the terminal, the storage fee may be more than the “savings” that you made by going with the cheaper quote.
Items you need to be aware of:
- Make sure you plan in advance when you want to transport your vehicle. Two weeks is what is usually recommended. That way, the auto hauler has time to coordinate moving your vehicle with other shipments that may be on the same route.
- Be wary of auto transport brokers and haulers who give you a quote significantly lower than everyone else and say they will still be able to pick up your vehicle in the standard 1-7 days. That will not be the case 99% of the time. The only way to get your vehicle transported for a rate far below market value is if a transporter needs to fill a spot on their trailer, and your vehicle is the only one listed along the route. At this point, the auto truck transport carrier would rather take your car than go with an empty spot, even if it is severely under-priced. The main problem with this is the unpredictability of when an auto shipping company will find itself in that position. Cheap auto transport services completely depend on your ability to have excess time and flexibility to ship your car.
- In a worst case scenario, less reputable auto transport brokers will collect your (non-refundable) deposit then take weeks or months to transport your car, or in some extreme cases, not ship your vehicle at all. The broker’s agent that offered you the quote pays the carriers they hire to transport your vehicle very little money, and will have difficulty finding someone willing to do it for that amount. This leaves the customers wondering why nobody has come to pick-up their car when they were told it would be picked up. It’s because there isn’t an auto transporter willing to do it for the fee they are getting paid by the auto transport broker. While this is a nightmare for the customer, from the broker’s point of view, everything’s fine. You’ve already paid the nonrefundable fee and instead of saving money, you have wasted a lot of time and money. Not to mention the aggravation, frayed nerves, and stress this has put you through.
- When you find a company that offers you a quote significantly lower than the others be careful. Unless the broker is up front from the start, cheap auto transport quotes can potentially give you the biggest headache with hidden fees and unreliable service. You would never expect great things from a cheap piece of merchandise, right? Why would you then expect wonders from some cheap car carriers? The old adage “you get what you pay for,” applies in life and especially in the vehicle hauling business.
- A substantially lower quote usually means very poor services. And since what is at stake is your car (probably your second-most valuable asset after your house), low-quality services may translate into a financial calamity and logistical mess.
Our advice would be to not always go with the cheapest quote you get. Although, a couple of hundred dollars may seem like a substantial amount of money, the cost of not getting your vehicle delivered by the date stated can outweigh the initial savings and cause unneeded stress and worry. Cheap vehicle transport carriers may trade off quality for speed, or vice versa, therefore, choose wisely when selecting an car transport service. Do some research and get quotes from multiple companies, brokers and transporters alike. You’ll be glad you did.
Before getting drawn in by a cheap quote, take the time to learn about the potential pitfalls.