The climate of automotive & shipping complaints
With a set of statistics released during National Consumer Protection Week earlier this month (March 9), the Better Business Bureau highlighted the 10 industries that received the most customer complaints throughout 2014. Three of the most problematic industries were automotive: new car dealers came in 4th, used car dealers were 6th, and auto repair landed in the 10th position.
Another sector within the automotive field that received extraordinarily critical coverage in 2014 was car shipping.
Specifically, the car shipping contractor selected by the Department of Defense for international vehicle shipping delivered cars late and was often unable to provide details on their whereabouts. At one point, the Tampa Bay Times reported that 70% of the vehicles being shipped by International Auto Logistics (headquartered in Brunswick, Georgia) would arrive late. The negligent actions of the company, which was responsible for shipping the personal cars of military service people and civilian personnel, eventually resulted in the development of a class-action lawsuit.
Beyond the troubles experienced by military servicemen and servicewomen, other reports from around the country show how vulnerable consumers are when selecting transporters. For instance, 40-year-old Adam Mayers of Port Charlotte, Florida, was charged with running a car shipping company as a front to steal a Ford F-350 and a Bentley GT. RipoffReport.com is filled with other examples, with 1520 total grievances filed under the “auto shipping companies” and “auto transporters” categories.
2015 Carrier Credibility Guide: 4 common credibility indicators
Consumers need auto transport tips and clarity on how to avoid car shipping scams. The whitepaper by Car Shipping Carriers, an auto transport broker based in Tampa, is intended to empower consumers to better understand the four primary credibility terms:
DOT-compliant / FMCSA-compliant – Carriers described in this way are compliant with the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For instance, motor carrier regulations require that driving shifts last a maximum of 11 hours, with 10 hours of rest in between each shift.
Licensed – This means that the carrier is actually in possession of two licenses:
Each driver has a commercial driver license (CDL), permitting legal operation of a semitruck.
The carrier company is licensed with the Department of Transportation to ship cars or household goods.
Bonded – Although this distinction is an additional sign of legitimacy, it actually protects the relationship between carriers and the brokers that represent them to consumers. The surety bond allows a carrier to collect if they don’t receive money from a broker.
Insured – Carriers insure both their haulers and the automobiles they ship from any form of damage or destruction. Progressive and other household-name companies insure haulers with policies that typically range from $100,000 to $1 million of coverage.