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How To Avoid Car Shipping Scams

Car shipping scams are uncommon in the transportation industry, but unfortunately, they occur. Despite a car shipping website appearing highly professional, it’s crucial to be aware of scams offering rates that may seem too good to be true. When sending your car across the country, our goal at uShip is to ensure a hassle-free and secure experience. 

Scammers often attract people with convenient services and low prices. They might ask you to pay a deposit using digital wallet services like CashApp, Paypal, or Venmo. Once you transfer the money, the scammer might give you a pickup date but not follow through. They might say the driver is delayed or just stop communicating with you. They have professional websites and promise excellent service at a very low price. However, these low initial quotes can become expensive once you discover hidden fees if they do, in fact, arrive to haul your vehicle. While many reliable auto transport companies exist, scammers want to make easy money from unsuspecting customers.

Many complaints about these scams are made to offices responsible for helping stop car shipping scams, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In one year alone, in 2019, people in the United States lost $1.9 billion because of transportation scams.

In this blog, we will arm you with all the details to help you navigate safely in the otherwise risky world of auto transport service. We aim to keep you and your car safe from these suspicious car shipping scams, teaching you how to spot and steer clear of them. We want your car-moving experience to be as smooth as riding on a road without bumps or stops.


Does not knowing if a shipping company is legit trouble you? If yes, then don’t worry. Knowing the warning signs can help you avoid fake car shipping companies. Below are some red flags that may help you figure out whether an auto transport company is a scam or not:

Quotes That Seem Too Good To Be True: If a quote seems low enough that it is too good to be true, then you need to be careful with the auto transport companies who give them. They may use this to get more clients and later attach hidden fees or provide poor service.

Lack of Licensing and Insurance: Make sure you have the company’s licensing and insurance information. Legitimate auto transport companies are registered under the Department of Transportation and have proper insurance coverage.

Research Online: One way to do so is to research the company online and read reviews from customers who have used their services in the past. Many negative online reviews or gaps in reviews may indicate unreliability.

Request for Full Payment Upfront: Avoid companies that ask for the entire payment before the service is rendered. Reputable companies usually ask for a deposit, with the balance payable on delivery.

No Written Contract: In all cases, request a written contract containing all the auto transport service terms and conditions provided. Avoid companies that do not provide written agreements.


Man researching car shipping companies

Before you put pen to paper, do yourself a favor and dive deep into every word of that deal. You must know when and how your ride’s getting picked up and dropped off, the route it’s taking, catch reports on the car’s status, figure out insurance components, and everything in between, not to mention the importance of knowing about how the company fixes issues or takes complaints. Familiarizing yourself with these details means fewer headaches and arguments down the line.

Checking licensing and insurance credentials

An unquestionably crucial step is ensuring that the company follows all necessary regulations and security measures, as most shell companies trying to trap you in one of their auto transport scams may not have proper licensing or insurance credentials. So, you need to confirm that they align with all applicable laws and standards. Feel free to ask for evidence of their insurance and double-check any necessary licenses or permits they should have.


Secure payment practices slash the risks of being trapped in a car transport scam, suppress jitters, and intensify overall satisfaction with transporting your vehicle. Within the spectrum of choices, uShip’s secure platform rises above the competition. Here’s why:

Using uShip’s Secure Payment Platform

Our secure platform protects your funds until your car is delivered, inspected thoroughly for any damage, and you release payment. Speedy fund transfers happen post-confirmation. This unwavering protection creates trust and unity among car shipping aficionados.

Avoiding Wire Transfers or Cash Payments

Wire transfers and cash purchases are often used but hide more profound problems. When tracking is complex, the possibility of lost funds arises. Even scarier, these methods rarely protect buyers well enough, which attracts fraudulent individuals. Make deals with authorized and secure carriers that will accept major credit cards. You can also book through uShip, where your funds are safe and payment is not released until you’ve signed off.  

Understanding Refund and Dispute Resolution Policies

Understanding refund and dispute resolution policies is crucial for two main reasons:

  1. Knowing the refund rules prevents confusion and gives you a clear idea of when and how to get your money back if something goes wrong.
  2. Knowing dispute resolution processes can protect you from possible fraud while offering a fair settlement for all parties involved if any issue arises. 

Being knowledgeable allows you to safely and efficiently manage the process of exporting your automobile.


To ship your car without problems, you need a written agreement. This paper explains every detail of the job to prevent confusion. Make sure your contract talks about:

  • What the Carrier Does: Write precisely what the person moving your car will do.
  • Insurance: State who will insure your car during its trip and what the insurance covers.
  • Agreement Before Shipping: Agree on all the rules and what you expect before and after the car is shipped.

Putting it all in writing from the beginning makes everything clear and can help avoid fights later. With uShip’s eBOL feature, this process is straightforward and creates accountability for both you and your carrier. 


auto transporter loading vehicle

Here are a few extra pointers to ensure your prized possession arrives at its destination just as shiny and unscathed as when it left your driveway.

Taking Photos of the Vehicle Before Shipment

First, let’s talk about how important it is to have good photos. Take several pictures of your car from all angles before it begins its journey. Take shots of it from the front, back, sides, and the underside. You’re taking pictures of its good points and keeping track of how it looked before the trip. You’ll have a “before” and “after” picture to show what’s changed if it comes with a new scratch or dent, which hopefully will not happen.

Follow the Shipment Using uShip Tracking

Who does not enjoy a good tracking feature? With tools from uShip, you can track your vehicle throughout the shipping process. We also make it easy to communicate directly with your carrier, so you can check in as needed. 

Being Cautious Of Unexpected Delays or Changes

Sometimes the road surprises us with delays or turns we didn’t expect. The highway might be backed up because of traffic, a storm, or a UFO sighting (hey, we don’t judge). Talk to the carrier immediately if something seems wrong, like a quick change in route or a wait that has yet to be explained. Your carrier should be proactive about communicating these delays to you. 


If you suspect a scam, you must immediately protect yourself and your money. Don’t worry; we’re here to guide you through the process.

Contact Customer Support Right Away

If you think you’ve encountered a scam, quickly contact the customer support service of the broker or transporter you hired. They’ll work with you to resolve the issue and prevent further problems.

Report the Incident to the Authorities

In addition to contacting the firm, you should report the incident to the relevant authorities. This includes the FTC, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), or your local police department. Reporting the scam helps to build a case against the scammer and can prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.

Keep a Record of Everything

Documenting all communication and transactions related to the suspected scam is crucial. This includes emails, messages, phone calls, and financial transactions. Having a paper trail can be helpful in case you need to provide evidence to authorities or our customer support team.

Some Important Reminders

When dealing with online transactions, it’s essential to be cautious. Here are some important reminders to keep in mind:

  • Always research the company or individual before doing business with them


It is not very complicated to watch out for scammers, but it surely requires some effort and attention. Applying the tips in this blog may significantly decrease the possibility of having a bad experience.

Remember, it’s all about doing your homework and using caution. Look into those carriers, verify their qualifications, and ask questions boldly. If anything seems odd, heed your instincts and stay clear.

At uShip, we are dedicated to offering a secure and dependable platform for automobile transportation. We make it easy to see verified customer reviews, check qualifications, and safely pay for your shipment. Plus, if you have any questions or problems, our customer service staff is always here to assist.

Using uShip, you can be sure your car is in capable hands. We’re committed to safely and quickly transporting your automobile from point A to point B safely and quickly while also providing you with peace of mind. 


What are the most common car shipping scams?

Watch out for companies that quote you a super low price and add extra fees later. Some companies might ask for a deposit and then disappear with your money. Some scammers might pretend to be an honest car shipping company to steal your money or identity.

How can I verify a car shipping company’s legitimacy?

Check online reviews and ask for references. Ensure the company is registered with the government and has an actual address and phone number. This will help you avoid scams.

What should I do if my vehicle is damaged during transport?

Check your car for damage, take photos, and contact the shipping company to report the damage. Get a claim number and ask about its process for fixing damages. Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered. If you purchased a uShip Protection Plan, you can easily open a case directly from your account. 

Are there any scams specific to international vehicle shipping?

Be careful of companies that promise to ship your car internationally but then steal your money or sell your vehicle. Some companies may also scam you by saying you owe extra fees or taxes. Research the company well to avoid these scams.

How can I protect myself from online car transport scams?

Research the company online and check its reviews. Be careful of companies with fake reviews or poor websites. If something feels off, it probably is.