The Most Common Scams in the Moving and Auto Transport Industry

Moving to a new home or shipping your vehicle can be both an exciting and stressful experience. With the logistics involved, it’s easy to become vulnerable to scams in the moving and auto transport industry. Therefore, as you plan your move, it’s important to be aware of the common scams that could potentially dampen the excitement of your relocation.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most prevalent scams and provide valuable insights on how to steer clear of them.

The Different Types of Auto Transport Scams


When in search of car shipping services, it’s crucial for individuals to be mindful of various types of auto transport scams, some of which are:

  • The Deposit Dilemma

One of the most common scams in the moving industry involves upfront deposits. Unscrupulous moving companies may demand a sizable deposit before rendering their services, only to disappear without a trace. To avoid falling victim to this scam, it’s essential to thoroughly research and choose a reputable moving company with a proven track record. Legitimate movers typically request payment upon delivery, not before they even load your belongings onto the truck.

  • Bait-and-Switch Tactics

Another notorious scam in the moving industry is the bait-and-switch technique. This occurs when a moving company provides an enticingly low estimate, only to inflate the costs on moving day. To protect yourself from this scam, insist on an in-home estimate rather than one provided over the phone. A reputable mover will assess your belongings in person, offering a more accurate estimate and minimizing the risk of surprise charges.

  • Hostage Loads

Imagine reaching your new home only to discover that your belongings are being held hostage by the moving company. Hostage load scams involve the company demanding additional payments beyond the agreed-upon price before releasing your possessions. To prevent this nightmare scenario, thoroughly review the terms and conditions of your moving contract. Ensure that all charges are clearly outlined, and consider purchasing additional insurance to safeguard your belongings.

  • Non-Existent Auto Transport Companies

In the auto transport industry, scams can take on various forms. One prevalent scam involves non-existent auto transport companies that lure customers with unbelievably low prices. To avoid falling for this trap, research auto transport companies thoroughly. Look for reviews, check their credentials, and verify their existence through reliable sources. A legitimate auto transport company will have a physical address and a solid online presence.

  • Fake Reviews and Testimonials

In today’s digital age, online reviews play a pivotal role in decision-making. Unfortunately, scammers exploit this by creating fake reviews and testimonials to deceive potential customers. When researching moving or auto transport companies, be discerning about reviews. Look for patterns, check multiple sources, and consider reaching out to individuals who have left reviews for more details. Legitimate companies encourage honest feedback and are transparent about their services.

  • Shady Insurance Practices

Insurance is a crucial aspect of any move, whether it involves household items or vehicles. Scammers in the moving and auto transport industry may offer insurance that sounds comprehensive but provides little actual coverage. Prioritize companies that offer transparent insurance policies, detailing what is covered and what is not. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification on any ambiguous terms.

Red Flags to Watch Out For


Identifying potential scams requires a keen eye for red flags. Here are some warning signs that should raise concerns:

  • Lack of License and Insurance

According to A1AutoTransport’s article on spotting car shipping scams, ensuring the legitimacy of moving and auto transport companies is paramount. Legitimate companies hold licenses and insurance, signifying their credibility. When considering a service, it’s essential to request tangible proof of these credentials to safeguard your interests. Remember, a lack of proper licensing and insurance can be a red flag, and taking this step helps you distinguish between trustworthy services and potential scams in the car shipping industry.

  • No Physical Address

Here’s another heads-up for your car shipping journey – watch out for companies that play hide and seek with their physical address. Those sketchy ones prefer to keep things vague without a real office. To make sure you’re dealing with the real deal, check if they’ve got a legit, brick-and-mortar location. Legit car shipping outfits are upfront about this stuff, giving you the confidence you need. So, when you’re scoping out options for moving your wheels, double-check that the company isn’t just a virtual phantom. It’s a straightforward move to keep you clear of any shady business in the car shipping game.

  • Unprofessional Communication

When it comes to choosing a company for your move or auto transport, keep an eye out for how they communicate. Legit businesses usually keep it pro, ensuring smooth and clear communication. On the flip side, scammers might tip their hand with unprofessional behavior – think inconsistent replies and vague answers to your questions. Trustworthy companies are all about being transparent and helpful. So, pay attention to the vibes you get during communication. If it feels off, you might want to think twice. A professional demeanor is a good sign that you’re dealing with a reliable partner in your moving or auto transport journey.

  • Too-Good-to-Be-True Prices

Here’s a golden rule for navigating the moving and auto transport scene: if a quote sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Those rock-bottom estimates might seem like a steal, but beware – they could be a clever ploy to reel you in, only to ambush you with hidden charges down the road. Legit companies are transparent about their costs, avoiding the bait-and-switch game. So, when you’re hit with an unbelievably low price, take a moment to question it. A fair and transparent estimate is your best bet to steer clear of any unexpected financial bumps in your moving or auto transport journey.

  • Pressure Tactics

Scammers love to push customers into quick decisions, creating a sense of urgency. On the flip side, a trustworthy company understands the significance of your decision and won’t rush you. Instead, they provide the information you need, giving you the time to make a well-informed choice. Avoid falling for the urgency trap; a reliable partner values your peace of mind over hasty decisions. Take your time, gather the facts, and opt for a company that prioritizes your satisfaction throughout the moving or auto transport process.

How to Protect Yourself


Arming yourself with knowledge is the best defense against scams in the moving and auto transport industry. Follow these tips to protect yourself and ensure a smooth relocation or vehicle transport:

  • Research Extensively

Choosing a moving or auto transport company is no small feat, so don’t skimp on the research. Dive into online reviews, seek recommendations, and double-check their credentials to ensure a smooth journey. The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends this meticulous approach to guarantee you’re in capable hands. Reviews provide insights into real experiences, recommendations offer valuable personal perspectives, and verifying credentials safeguards against potential scams. Take the time to do your homework – it’s the surefire way to distinguish between reliable service providers and those that might turn your move or auto transport into a regrettable experience.

  • Get Multiple Estimates

Don’t jump the gun on the first estimate that comes your way. Take a chill pill and get quotes from a bunch of companies. It’s like shopping around for the best deal—compare prices, scope out the services, and make sure you’re not getting a wild outlier in the estimate game. If a quote is doing the limbo under or over the average, it’s time to raise an eyebrow. Playing the field with multiple estimates ensures you’re not just settling for the first sweet talker and gives you the upper hand in snagging the best deal for your move or auto transport.

  •  In-Person Estimates

When it comes to moving services, push for that face-to-face estimate. It’s like getting a sneak peek at what’s coming your way and can save you from any surprise charges on the big moving day. Going in-person lets the movers eyeball your stuff and assess the real deal, minimizing the chances of unexpected fees popping up later. It’s your ticket to a transparent and upfront agreement, ensuring that what you see is what you get. So, for a move without unwelcome surprises, make sure that in-person estimate is on the checklist—it’s the secret weapon against any moving day plot twists.

  • Check Credentials

Before sealing the deal with any company, do a bit of detective work. Make sure to snoop around and verify their credentials. Look for the essential trio: check if they’re licensed, ensure they’re insured, and confirm that they’ve got a real, physical spot on the map. A legit company won’t mind you peeking into their credentials – it’s like their way of saying, “We’ve got nothing to hide.” This simple checklist ensures you’re partnering with a company that’s playing by the rules, safeguarding your move or auto transport from any potential hiccups down the road.

  • Read the Contract

Before you sign on the dotted line, cozy up with that contract. Give it a thorough read, like you’re diving into the latest bestseller. Make sure you’ve got a grip on the terms and conditions of your moving or auto transport deal. If there’s anything that sounds like a plot twist, don’t be afraid to play detective and seek clarification. Ensure that all the costs are laid out on the table, leaving no room for surprises. It’s like setting the stage for a drama-free journey—know what you’re getting into, and your move or auto transport will unfold without any unexpected plot twists.

  • Trust Your Instincts

Listen to that gut feeling; it’s your internal compass in the world of moving and auto transport. If something smells fishy or seems too good to be true, don’t ignore those instincts. It’s way smarter to gracefully step away from a deal that’s sending off sketchy vibes than to fall prey to a potential scam. Your instincts are like a built-in scam detector, so let them guide you. By trusting your gut, you’re putting your move in the hands of clarity and steering clear of any dubious deals that might lead you down a regrettable path.



Navigating the moving and auto transport industry can be challenging, but knowing the ropes on common scams gives you the upper hand in making savvy decisions. Take the time to dig deep, throw the right questions around, and keep those eyes peeled for any sneaky red flags. Armed with research and a keen eye, you’re basically putting on a superhero cape against unscrupulous practices. Bottom line? Your move or vehicle transport can be a breeze, stress-free and all, as long as you roll with the right precautions and a service provider that’s got your back.