Avoiding Auto Transport Scams and Ripoffs

It has come to our attention that there has been a number of scam auto transport and car shipping websites popping up all over the internet. Some of the most common ripoffs are fake car transport companies pretending to be licensed and insured. All auto transporters must be authorized by USDOT, and have a bond to operate. If the company does not have a motor carrier (MC) authority or hides their credentials, they are not legally authorized to do business as an auto transport carrier. Other complaints include consumers submitting their information to sites that offer instant multiple rates – 8 to 10 quotes with one form. Most of the time these lead generating sites will capture your contact details and will sell your information to several companies. Always read their privacy policy and terms of service. If the site does not clearly state how they will use your information, most likely they do not care about your privacy and will do whatever they want with your contact data. Here are some tips on identifying a scam auto transport website and avoid getting ripped-off:

  1. We strongly DO NOT recommend using a company that asks you to wire money. Reputable auto transporters will either accept credit cards, PayPal, checks or some other form of e-commerce method. Legit car shippers will never require wire transfer payments.
  2. Check out their MC number. If their Motor Carrier authority number is not clearly shown on their website or is hidden, it’s a clear sign that they are hiding something. To check the credentials of a car transport company, search by their name, MC or USDOT number at FMCSA Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER).
  3. Look for a phone number listed for the site and call it. Most of the reputable auto transport companies use toll free or local numbers to allow customers to reach them. Fake sites often list either a non-working phone number or no number at all. Also look out for a physical address or the location where the company is located. Check them out on Google or Yahoo maps to verify if this address actually exists. Bogus sites generally do not list any mailing address.
  4. Do a Google search on the name of the auto transport company. Legit and reputable carriers will return many results that reference the actual company. Fly by or phony sites will have very few listings – unless they are brand new or just opened for business
  5. Ask for references to see if you can contact their previous customers. Legitimate car shippers will be able to provide you with references you can call or email to see how their service was.


Following these steps will help you avoid an auto transport scam and a car shipping rip-off. It will also provide you with helpful tips and assure you that the carrier you have chosen, will get your car to its destination undamaged and on time.

If you feel that an auto transport company has not treated you fairly, if you have been scammed or if your vehicle suffered loss or damage as a result of a carrier – you can file a complaint. It is always recommended that you first try to work it out with the company. If you do not hear from them within a reasonable time, or if you are not satisfied with the carrier’s action, you may file a complaint against the auto transport company directly with the USDOT. Send your correspondence to:

U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590

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