Like in any industry, not all motorcycle shipping companies have the best intentions. Or, a company that you think is reputable, is in fact just a con artist trying to take your money.
Do you know how to spot non-reputable businesses that are looking to take advantage of you? We do. Read on to learn about motorcycle shipping scams, ways to identify them and how to prevent them from happening to you.
Common Motorcycle Shipping Scams
What kind of fraud can occur within motorcycle shipping? You would be surprised! The following are the most prevalent scams to be on the lookout for.
Some scammers pose as a motorcycle transport carrier, using a business name or website domain that closely resembles that of an actual carrier, leading potential customers to believe they are legitimate. But in fact, these “businesses” will give you a falsified quote, request and receive your payment, only to never contact you again.
Using a licensed transport broker not only helps with the logistics of transporting your motorcycle, it provides you with increased peace of mind. You’ll feel more confident knowing that legitimate experts are coordinating the transportation of your valuable motorcycle.
As the largest licensed broker in the U.S., Montway Auto Transport can help expedite your motorcycle shipping request. Contact us at 888-989-8526 to get a customized shipping quote today!
One of the more common scams occurs when a customer is originally quoted one price — usually a very low one — and once the bike is in transit, the company reports that there is some kind of problem and the owner needs to pay more to resolve it. Often, unexplained charges or hidden fees are also added to the final bill.
Lead aggregators are websites that will ask you to input your criteria (type of motorcycle, shipment date, pick-up and delivery location, etc.), but instead of giving you an instant quote, the company will sell your information to several brokers or carriers. Those companies will then contact you via email or phone attempting to secure your shipment. While not all lead aggregators use shady practices, you should be skeptical and still do your own research.
Identifying a Motorcycle Shipping Scam
The good news is that there are some telltale signs you can watch out for to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
First and foremost, if a company’s offer or quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. Using the same search criteria, one quote may be significantly lower than the others. While this sounds appealing, it should instead be considered a red flag.
You should also be skeptical if a company says they can pick up your motorcycle the same day as your request. Pickups are coordinated in alignment with carrier shipment routes where your motorcycle is part of a larger planned logistical shipment. Unless your pick-up location happens to be conveniently located along a primary delivery route used by most carriers, the odds of same-day scheduling is highly unlikely.
Next, be wary if a motorcycle transport provider asks for payment via wire transfer, like MoneyGram or Western Union or if they ask for full payment upfront. While companies also need to protect themselves from unethical customers and might ask for a mutually safe transaction, no reputable one will request a MoneyGram or Western Union payment. Credit card payments are typically used.
Avoiding Motorcycle Shipping Scams
Being aware of potential deceptive practices and knowing what to look out for are the first steps in scam prevention. Here are some other ways to ensure you select a reliable motorcycle transport partner that will protect you and your motorcycle.
Legitimate companies should have plenty of information readily available on their website or upon your request. Ask for proof of insurance and references you can contact to hear about their experience. Read online reviews to get other customers’ perspectives about the way the company operates. Obviously, steer clear of ones with a high percentage of negative reviews.
Can’t find any reviews? Take it as a bad sign and move on.
Get multiple quotes
We do not recommend accepting a quote from the very first company you contact. Instead, acquire a handful of quotes to get a sense of what cost range is reasonable for your requirements. As mentioned earlier, a business that provides a considerably lower cost likely comes with a catch (and not a good one).
Get everything in writing
You should have a written contract that includes the details of your motorcycle shipment and the agreed-upon cost estimate. Read the fine print, as well as the terms and conditions prior to signing and request a copy signed by both parties (you and the company).
Use your best judgment
Don’t ignore any suspicious feelings. After all, you are trusting someone with your special possession that will cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace — or may even be irreplaceable to you. Ensure the company has a quality website, shares their licensing information and provides valid contact information, like a U.S. phone number and a professional email address (ABC@companyname.com).
Work with a motorcycle transport broker
The most reliable way you can avoid being the victim of a motorcycle shipping scam is to work with a reputable broker service. Trustworthy transport brokers have a network of carriers with varying shipment options and can steer you in the right direction for your needs and budget.
A Motorcycle Transport Broker You Can Trust
Montway Auto Transport is the premier motorcycle transport broker in the U.S., working with people across the country to ensure their bikes get from point A to point B as efficiently, inexpensively and safely as possible. We have relationships with thousands of vetted and proven carriers. Contact us at 866-989-8526 today and one of our customer service representatives will be happy to assist you!