Watch for These 5 Signs to Avoid Getting Scammed By a Bad Transportation Vendor

man stressed after falling for a scam by a bad transportation vendor


As the car shipping market grows, there will be more risk for consumers when selecting a carrier.

Key Takeaways

  • The auto shipping industry is experiencing growth
  • Scammers are entering the market as a result
  • Watch for signs that can help you avoid scams
  • A reputable broker weeds out shady carriers


With auto transportation becoming a growth industry that’s sure to expand even further in the coming years, more carriers are moving into the space. This expansion is positive news on the surface because it means more choice for the consumer. However, with more vendors in the marketplace, there’s more opportunity for scammers to get involved and take advantage of you. 

Much like any other industry, shady carriers will go where they can make money at the expense of unsuspecting customers. Fortunately, there are warning signs you can watch for to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of their scams.

Here’s a look at five things to keep an eye out for to avoid getting scammed by a bad vehicle shipping carrier.

1. Read up on their reviews

Perhaps the most straightforward way to avoid getting scammed is to read some online reviews on each carrier you’re considering. Reputable carriers will usually have hundreds of verified reviews online. This makes it less likely for a fly-by-night organization to disappear with your money or vehicle.

In fact, most trustworthy vendors will be proud of their reviews. Therefore, they might even ask you to read up on them before making your final decision. 

Keep in mind that a company with exclusively positive reviews might raise some red flags, too, because they could be suppressing negative comments or paying reviewers to leave positive ones.

2. Check for licenses, registration, and insurance

All vehicle shipping companies must have a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) registration. A motor carrier number and USDOT number are also necessary. 

Make sure you ask for these numbers when speaking with a carrier or look them up yourself on the FMSCA website before signing any contract. Any vendor that isn’t registered on that website isn’t legally permitted to transport your car.

You’ll also want to ask your carrier about their insurance and the extent of their liability. Reliable shipping vendors will be happy to go over their insurance policy with you so you can fill in any gaps with additional coverage.

3. Examine the Contract

Yes, it’s time-consuming, but reading over every detail in the contract can provide you with further insight into your chosen carrier. There could be hidden fees or ambiguous language that you’ll want to discuss before signing anything.

If the carrier is unwilling to answer your questions or explain purposely unclear information, it should raise red flags on their true intentions. You could also end up paying far more than what your quote states if there are additional fees hidden in the contract.

4. Question suspiciously low quotes

Of course, you’ll want to secure the best possible rate on your auto transportation, but a vendor with suspiciously low fees could be too good to be true.

The problem is that space on transportation trucks increases and decreases in price based on demand. In a period of high demand, rates will swell. When there isn’t much demand, rates will shrink.

If you receive a suspiciously low quote, there’s a good chance it isn’t tied to a specific date. In this scenario, your carrier charges you a reduced amount right now and then waits until there’s empty space on a truck that it can give you for that price.

This scam is common with resellers who don’t have trucks of their own. They’ll promise you a spot for the quoted price, but you could end up waiting months for a space to open up at that rate.

Ask about timelines when receiving a quote to ensure you don’t end up in this situation.

5. Trust your gut

It’s a bit of a vague anti-scam method, but you’ll probably have a pretty good idea if you’re dealing with a shady vendor based on your interactions.

Will the vendor give you time to compare quotes, or are they rushing you to sign a contract right away?

Is the exact price clear?

Did they provide you with a free, no-obligation quote?

Do they have a high-quality website?

Is there a phone number?

All of these factors are worth considering because scammers are usually looking for a quick buck and don’t bother putting a professional appearance together. Also, if you question their methods, they’ll simply move on to the next victim because you’re causing them too much of a hassle.

Since selecting the right vendor could be the difference between your car arriving at its destination in one piece or not, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if something seems fishy, there are plenty of other options available.

Consider using a broker

With so many carriers coming and going every year, keeping track of who’s trustworthy and who isn’t is challenging. Fortunately, a reputable auto transport broker can handle much of the research for you. This will also ensure you’re dealing with solid vendors and making it easy to conduct your own research.

Mercury Auto Transport only presents you with offers from FMSCA licensed and insured carriers. We guarantee that there won’t be any hidden fees. We also ensure that you can speak directly with your vendor before shipping. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you avoid shady characters in the auto transport industry or for a free quote.



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What Our Customrs Are Saying


We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.