Recently a broker from New York was arrested and facing criminal charges for defrauding close to 100 victims with a monetary loss of about $600,000. With deceptive tactics and under a guise of cost effective automobile transport services the fraudster obtained customer’s banking information and generated fraudulent and unauthorized withdrawals.
To understand how this fraudster was able to gain the trust and deceive so many people we have realize that the internet allows unprecedented market access to criminals that lie and cheat. In the past it took years of good service and investment to build a reputation and a client base, but now there are brokers who simply buy leads without having to worry about their reputation.
The best thing to do as consumer is to be especially cautious on who you hire to transport your car. Follow these guidelines to not Get Taken for a Ride When Shipping Your Car.
Time in Business
Work with companies that have been in business for a significant period of time. This information is easily verified with US Department of Transportation. If a company has been in business for less than three years ask for references and be extra careful when vetting them.
Check the Website
Respectable companies will invest in their website and care how they present themselves. Bad, unusable or outdated design are all signs of a company that isn’t going to the there for the long haul. A reputable website will clearly list a phone number as well as the address of the company you are dealing with.
Get multiples quotes – if something looks suspicious or too good to be true make sure to scrutinize that vendor especially. There are logical reasons for fluctuating prices, such as seasonal demand, but fraudsters often prey on people looking for the best deal.
Avoid Multiple Bid Sites
There are websites that take your information and resell to other brokers, in some cases up to 10 different brokers. The problem with this is that you will get overwhelmed with phone calls and emails and are more likely to make a mistake. Another issue is that most 3rd party lead companies have no vetting processes – so practically anyone can sign up; the website operators are simply in the business of selling your information to the highest, and at times unscrupulous bidders.
Established freight brokers will carry additional insurance to protect their customers. Even though the DOT doesn’t require brokers to carry cargo insurance reputable companies always do. By law every broker has to have a $75,000 bond, but that is strictly for the protection of the carriers in cases when brokers go insolvent, the carrier will be able to get some of their money back. To protect customers & vehicle owners brokers must purchase a contingent cargo insurance. This policy steps in if the carriers insurance company denies a damage claim.