Auto Transport Tips: Cancellation Policy Basics

customerserviceperson-aasEvery retail store that you go to will have some type of return policy. Whether it’s lax, stringent, or simply a statement of “all sales final,” every retail store has a policy when it comes to trying to return merchandise. And in the car shipping industry, it’s really no different, except for the fact that once your vehicle gets going to a destination, it’s going to arrive at that destination regardless of what you say or do. See, instead of a return policy for auto transportation services, brokers have what are called “cancellation policies.” Usually, once you book your order with a shipping company, it takes said company a few days to a week (generally; exceptions, however, abound) to find a carrier for you. Once they settle on a carrier company (this is known as “dispatching,” or “dispatch”), you’ll have another 3-5 days generally to wait for the vehicle to be picked up. You generally have the option to cancel up until the time your vehicle is scheduled to be picked up; after that, it’s pretty much “all sales final.” At the same time, though, different companies have different rules regarding when you can cancel your order, and in this article we’ll take a look at some of the more common versions of the cancellation policy and what you can expect out of your own.

For starters, the cancellation policy will cover several things: when you can cancel, the reasons you can cancel, cancellation fees, and refund policies, though not necessarily in that order. Let’s break it down a bit easier:

1. When you can cancel
This is basically stating up until which point you are allowed to cancel, and after said point are no longer allowed to. Generally it’ll say either until the vehicle is dispatched to a carrier company, or else any time before the carrier company picks up your vehicle. This type of policy varies company to company.

2. Reasons you can cancel
Most shipping companies will just take any cancellation request for any reason – it can be you don’t like having to wait as long as you have, or your grandmother just died and now she doesn’t need the car – really, anything goes. This is how the vast majority of brokers work nowadays, but there are a few companies out there who won’t let you cancel without a good reason (though none that would advertise with us).

3. Cancellation fees and policies
Companies that charge a cancellation fee aren’t necessarily wrong in doing so, but it is kind of a pain in the butt when you have to spend more money just to break the connection with a crappy company. That said, many companies will offer free refunds up until dispatch (see #1 for more on when you can cancel), and after it’s dispatched will charge a cancellation fee that basically pays the driver that was going to pick your vehicle up an inconvenience fee for pulling a job out from under him. Then again, some companies don’t charge a cancellation fee at any time until the vehicle is picked up (because then it’s too late).

4. Refund policies
Refund policies only apply to orders where money has already been paid, because you are entitled to your money back if the company doesn’t do their job. Most auto transport companies won’t dispute this in any way, shape or form, but there are some out there that use “processing” in order to push how fast you can get your refund. Typically refunds go out anywhere from a few days to a week after cancellation. But not every company does that. Some make you wait thirty days before they even cut the check, then another few days for mailing. It can be a cumbersome process, to say the least.

These are some of the reasons why reading the cancellation policy is incredibly important. All the details we just went over will be in there, and if there are any problems with your shipper and you need to bail on their service, this is what they’re going to make you abide by. Cancellation policies are almost always included in the standard Terms and Conditions of any auto transport broker, and is easily accessible either on their website or through a representative – they can always e-mail you a copy of their T&C and cancellation policy. But it’s important that you read it thoroughly and understand when everything takes place, how long it takes to get a refund, and so on. Every company is different, so make sure you get a good understanding of the ones you’re interested in booking with before actually committing. If you’re interested in finding an auto transport company, you can fill out our free online quote request form and get multiple quotes e-mailed to you, absolutely free, within about an hour. If you have questions or concerns about this website or about the car shipping industry in general, call 800-930-7417 to speak to one of our live agents.

Household Goods Moving FAQ: What’s the Best Way to Pack My Boxes?

Moving 5Moving is never fun. But you know what’s even less fun? Moving to a new home a thousand miles away and then, when unpacking, finding all your valuable stuff broken because the boxes weren’t packed right. Haphazard packing can lead to some pretty awful stories, and I’m sure you’ve heard more than a few, either from family, friends or that you read online. It’s kind of a shame that these stories exist at all – really, a little common sense is all that’s needed to protect your valuables from breaking come moving day, and this includes knowing what to pack with. Newspaper may work if you’re moving within the town you live in, but when it comes to a cross-country move, newspaper just won’t cut it. Household moving companies, and their employees, work on a time-sensitive schedule, which means that it’s more important to get your boxes loaded onto the truck than it is to make sure they’re taken care of – unless you’re opting for full-service moving, where movers will take the time to pack your boxes right for you, the onus is on you to make sure you pack them correctly.

With that said, what’s the best way to go about it?

Easily the best way to ensure proper packing is to use bubble wrap or packing peanuts. The former is best for dishes and other delicate items that can be wrapped, like china dolls or porcelain figurines. The bubble wrap protects them from damage, especially if they’re packed with other bubble-wrapped items, and will also protect them from jostling, being picked up and put down, having things stacked on top of them, etc. Packing peanuts work best in boxes that have one or two large items that can easily break, as well as electronics like game consoles, computer monitors, etc. Packing peanuts will allow you to fill the volume of the box with cushioned materials, which means that those breakable items won’t shift much and will be better protected from falls and the like. However, packing peanuts are best reserved for those things mentioned above; packing a lot of smaller items, like dishes and figurines, into a box with packing peanuts may cause them to shift into one another as they’re being handled. You can also talk to your moving company about the proper way to pack certain items.

There are also specialty boxes for things such as dishes and clothes that your moving company can supply you with. Clothes can get heavy fast, and a lot of people that can afford household moving services have clothes that are really nice and can’t be treated like normal, everyday clothing items. Wardrobe boxes are great for keeping your nice clothes nice – you can get these from your moving company. Likewise, there are special boxes for dishes that allow for them to be packed vertically without having to go the bubble wrap route, though packing peanuts inside a box specifically designed for dishes will help prevent breakage from jostling and regular moving. At the end of the day, you should talk to your representative if you’re concerned about your household goods getting damaged during the move, as they’re the real experts. If you still need to find a household moving company, you can fill out our household moving quote request form via this link, and if you’re shipping a car along you can actually get auto transport quotes free of charge and simply check the box for household goods quotes as well. All our quotes are 100% free, and there’s no obligation – if you don’t like any of the quotes you get you don’t have to book with any companies that send you them. You can also call our toll-free telephone number at the top of the page for more information and to speak to one of our live agents.

Auto Transport to Newport News, VA

Newport News 12Newport News is an independent city located in southeastern Virginia. As an independent city, it is not a part of any county, but is rather self-governed. Home to over 180,000 residents, Newport News is the fifth-largest city in the state of Virginia by population. Originally nothing more than a tiny farming community since its founding in 1694, Newport News began to experience rapid population growth in the late 19th century, with the coming of the railroad to the area. With the construction of a major shipyard and port at the same time, Newport News turned into a major exporting town, bringing goods from all over the Mid-Atlantic such as coal from West Virginia and cotton and tobacco from the more southern states. During the 20th century Newport News became the site of several army and navy bases, as well as a major naval shipbuilding yard, which also helped fuel its growth. It was the county seat of Warwick County before becoming an independent city in 1958, and you can learn more about Newport News here.

Newport News is part of the larger Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News area, which is a major army and naval area. Several major navy bases dot the area, and Norfolk is the site of one of the largest naval bases in the United States. As a result, many people live in Newport News and work in other areas of the region, particularly Norfolk – many people living in Newport News and the surrounding area are career military as a result. With many distinct villages and neighborhoods, as well as lower crime rates than other areas of Virginia, Newport News is considered one of the safer and nicer cities in southeastern Virginia. Mainly rural until the navy came to the area, the city – particularly the downtown core – has been expanded greatly, with new buildings and businesses coming to the area since the end of World War II.

Transportation to and from Newport News typically takes place along I-64, the main interstate that services the entire region. Newport News is a popular shipping location when trying to get to Portsmouth or Norfolk from New England and other northern states, as it sits north of both cities – you can usually save some money by having vehicles shipped to Newport News and then drive them to the destination that you want to get to. Newport News is also a popular alternative to Virginia Beach, which sits just thirty miles or so southeast of the city. Virginia Beach is the largest city in the state of Virginia by total population and is also a popular resort town. If you’re interested in shipping a vehicle to or from Newport News, you can fill out our free online quote request form and get multiple quotes from reliable and reputable auto transport companies e-mailed to you within about an hour. You can also call our toll-free telephone number at 800-930-7417 to speak to one of our live agents, who can help get you free quotes to ship your vehicle as well as answer any questions you may have.

Why Working With Auto Transport Brokers is Always Better

Military 2You hear it all the time: “auto transport is full of scammers.” “Auto transport is a shady industry.” “I had a brother that shipped his car, they really screwed him!” I’ve heard these statements more times than I care to admit, mostly from customers fed up with their old auto transport company and looking to find a new one, a better one. And then there’s the people that don’t even do that; they just complain for ten minutes over the phone, then say “well I’m just going to go with a carrier directly,” or “why not just skip the middleman?” or something like that. My response is always the same: “Good luck finding them.” There’s a reason why the auto transportation industry works the way it does: it may not be perfect, but it’s the best that it’s going to be. If you’ve read anything about the industry you’ll understand that most of the advice you read online is geared toward setting you up with a broker to handle the shipment of your vehicle. This is by far the BEST method of booking your shipment, and in this blog I’ll explain more about why and how brokers actually benefit you in the long run.

For starters, brokers are the go-to in the industry because they’re the easiest to find. Whether you use a service like ours (fill out one form, get multiple free quotes from brokers, book your order) or you find them online in a Google search, brokers are the companies that you see first and foremost. Why? Well, the main reason why brokers are a dime a dozen is because they don’t physically move your vehicle; the carriers do that, and they spend all their time driving, not working on their advertising campaigns or figuring out new ways to appeal to customers. They rely on brokers to do that, to find them new loads, so why would they want to sink money into advertising online when a) brokers do that anyway and b) they can simply call the brokers looking for loads? Brokers are not just customers’ go-to; they’re also a carrier’s. You can find carrier companies directly online, but they’re usually buried under pages and pages of search results that score higher than they do. Their websites are usually old, if they have one at all, and you’re lucky if they have a quote form on their site at all (most don’t).

The job of an auto transport broker is to find you a carrier – and to find customers for carriers. They’re a vital part of the industry for this reason alone. Let me put it this way: if you were to book directly with a carrier company that has, say, a fleet of five trucks, your pickup date could be anywhere from a week to two weeks or even more depending on where their nearest truck is at. It also depends on how full those trucks are – you could possibly be waiting months for a pickup, if they are a busy carrier company. Factor in as well the fact that most auto transport carriers only service specific routes (Boston to Miami, New York to Chicago, Los Angeles to Seattle, etc), and your search just got a whole lot harder. Now, imagine having someone who’s sole job it is to wade through all those different companies and find one that is not only near you (or will be near you soon), but also has room on their truck for your vehicle AND runs routes along the route that you just happen to need transportation services along. Wouldn’t that be convenient? Those types of people exist – they’re called auto transport brokers.

You get your horror stories in every industry – seriously, the best interior painters in the United States probably have bad reviews. You can’t satisfy everyone, but you CAN do the best job you can and understand that sometimes things just don’t work out. We ran a piece a while back called the “auto transport broker horror story” – it’s an insightful post about different problems people have with brokers. But those people are few and far between, unless they get shacked up with a bad company from the get go. Doing your homework on the broker you choose is important, and really the best way to go about it would be to find one through an online quote provider – like us. Not to toot our own horn here (well, maybe a little), but we do most of the detective work for you in that we make sure that the companies we work with are fully licensed, bonded, insured, have good ratings with the BBB and also that they come highly rated via Transport Reviews and other online auto shipping review sites. We make sure that we get you in contact with only the best shippers in the industry, all brokers, because that’s who you want. You can fill out our free online quote form and get multiple quotes e-mailed to you within about an hour, and if you have questions about the information in this (or any) post, you can simply call us toll-free at 800-930-7417 to speak to a live agent who can help you navigate the site or simply answer questions and help you get your quotes.

Flood Damage an Increasing Problem on Used Vehicles

Dealer 3The auto transport industry transports hundreds of thousands of vehicles a year, some of which are purchased by a customer from an out-of-state dealership and then transported back to them. This is a good way to go about it, more often than not, but there’s something that online shoppers can’t do, which is actually see the vehicle that they are purchasing, particularly if it is used. As the world gets more and more digitized, online shopping has become one of the best tools that people have at their disposal; no longer are we required to go anywhere, really, to get shopping done, at least not if it suits us. But there are dangers that are inherent when it comes to online shopping, namely not being able to see the “actual” product that you are purchasing – you see a picture of the thing, sure, but when buying from retail stores it’s like buying a burger at a fast food joint: what you see isn’t always what you get. This is prevalent in the used car industry, and Auto Trader recently did a great article about flood damage to vehicles and how to spot it, which is something that everyone buying a used car should do. But what if you can’t? Here are a few ways to go about it.

For starters, Carfax is your best friend when buying online. Carfax is one of the best tools for buying a used or certified pre-owned vehicle from an online dealer, because it provides a great overview of the history of the vehicle. Carfax isn’t the only vehicle history report you can find, but they’re one of the best and most widely used, and while it does cost a bit of money you’re already spending a lot of it on a car you’re purchasing out-of-state, so what’s the harm? Not all vehicle history reports will report on flood damage, so in addition to whatever vehicle report you decide to get you should also hire a private vehicle inspector before the vehicle is shipped to you. A private inspector will be able to objectively look over the vehicle and look for any problems ahead of time; you can do this at any time before you purchase the vehicle or have it shipped to you, which is something you’ll definitely want to do, especially if it’s coming from a third party or a used vehicle dealership.

Of course, once the vehicle is slated to be picked up, it will be inspected by the driver before it’s loaded onto the truck itself. This will also tell you some things about the vehicle, and as you will be inspecting the vehicle upon delivery, you’ll also be able to give your vehicle a good once-over. The inspection during the auto transportation process typically just looks at the interior of the vehicle, and the inspection will take place between the driver and whoever you’ve chosen to be there for pickup (usually an employee at the dealership or the person you bought the vehicle from). You should still inspect upon delivery, however, as that will be the best way to go about it. For more information about the auto transport industry, you can read more on our blog roll, and you can also learn more at our helpful auto transport articles section. For free auto transport quotes, fill out our free online quote form or give us a call at 800-930-7417 to speak to a live representative who can give you a quote right over the phone. It’s that simple./

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