Car Shipping Terms in Plain English

Car Shipping Terms in Plain English

When you sign a contract to ship a car it is typically full of fine print and legalese that often no one reads and even fewer people understand. Even reviewing our own orders terms got me thinking that maybe if customers shipping their cars better understood what they are signing it would lead to better service and greater satisfaction.

The primary purpose of any contract you sign is of course to limit the liability of the parties involved. I’m not a lawyer nor have any legal training, but have spent years in the industry – so any problem that comes up I’ve probably had to deal with in one way or another.

Below is my interpretation of the:

Car Shipping Agreement

1. The car you are shipping either belongs to you or you have permission from the owner to ship it. Please don’t try prank your friends by shipping their car to Montana.

2. Make sure the car is ready to be transported, doesn’t have loose parts, no alarm systems that can’t be shut off by the driver and other common sense measures.

3. Do not leave any personal items in the car for 2 reasons, they add weight and make your car a target for vandalism. A bonus reason, car haulers do not have legal authority to transport personal items – no insurance is provided for personal items.

4. A person has to be there to ship the car and to receive the car. If no one is present on delivery the auto transporter can put your car in storage at your expense. Special arrangements can of course be made.

5. No guarantees for delivery dates, nor pick up dates, nor transit time – everything is just an estimate assuming one of dozens of reasons that could delay your shipment doesn’t occur.

6. The company you are contracting to transport a car is most likely a broker, you give permission to this broker to hire a licensed carrier. But at the same time if you have any claims – those claims are to be sent to the carrier this broker hired. A good broker will help you navigate the claims process.

7. If a truck cannot get to your pickup or delivery location, due to variety of restrictions including: zoning, winding roads, low-lying trees, etc., you will be asked to meet him nearby.

At the same time you are giving the broker and the carrier they hire permission to drive and store your car to enable its transport on a truck. The only damages the carrier and broker are liable for are the ones they caused themselves; Acts of God are not covered by insurance, also minor damages such as light scratches and rock chips will not be covered.

There is whole list of things not covered by insurance – I recommend if there is one section you read carefully it is this one. Also I recommend getting a copy of a certificate of insurance for any company that you deal with.

8. When you receive your car you must inspect and note damages on the inspection report or Bill-of-Lading. If you did not note the damages you cannot claim them, also if you did note the damages you must submit a written claim within 15 days.

9. Transport fee is due when you receive your car, even if you find damages on your car.

10. If you do not pay for your transportation fees we have legal means to recover those fees, including liens, collection and lawsuits.

11. If you change your mind last-minute and the carrier and broker already incurred costs to attempt to make your pick up you may be be charged a cancellation fee of $100.

12. No one is really sure what this means, leave it to the lawyers but something along the lines of you (the customer) will not entangle the broker or the carrier in a complicated web of lawsuits that resulted in personal injury if your car was not delivered on time or in one piece or the exact way you imagined.

13. Another clause limiting brokers liability in cases of natural disasters, terrorism and so on.

14. This agreement is more important than any other agreement that you made with us – if you want something changed get it in writing.

15. Any legal action, including lawsuits or arbitration must happen in Sacramento, California. By signing this agreement you waive any personal jurisdiction. In reality however no one wants to go to court for any reason.

This post is simply my interpretation of what the agreement is between RCG Logistics and its customers. In no way does this post supersede the actual contract that you have to sign when shipping your vehicle and of course consulting a more qualified legal expert is always recommended.

Have any additional questions or concerns – comment below!

About the Author: Alex Marinov

Alex Marinov is the president of RCG Logistics LLC, with years experience in the shipping and freight industry. His main interest include sustainable building design, video production and automobiles.


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