How to Avoid the Auto Transport Bait and Switch
We all know what a bait and switch is – a company sells you on the bait, then suddenly makes it unavailable or otherwise unobtainable for you, then makes you buy something else (the “switch”).
A common scam tactic, several legislative attempts have been made to curb its prevalence in a multitude of industries, and on the whole it’s worked – very few companies nowadays legitimately use the bait-and-switch tactic to try and swindle customers into buying different products or services than what is advertised.
But that doesn’t mean it’s eradicated completely; like the Ponzi scheme, there’s always going to be someone trying to dishonestly make money in this world, and it’s for that reason that laws and rules have been enacted to make sure it doesn’t happen.
The auto transport bait and switch is simple. You book your auto transportation services from Los Angeles to New York City with Company A for $500. During the company’s pitch they said they could easily find you a carrier and get your vehicle picked up in at most seven days.
After you book, they come back to you and tell you that your car will never be moved at the quoted rate and that they’ll actually need $1200 to ship your vehicle in the timeframe they advertised. This is called a bait and switch because the services they offered you were not reasonable or possible.
It’s much different from simply pricing your shipment wrong – cross-country transportation services will never cost $500, and everyone in the industry knows it. The “bait” here is the fact that the broker deliberately priced the shipment far lower than the going rate in an attempt to deceive the customer into booking with them and also told the customer that their vehicle would move (they lied).
The “switch” comes when the customer is told that their car will never be shipped at that rate, despite promises they could do it, and the price is then corrected to the actual going rate.
In the car shipping industry it can be hard to tell a legitimate pricing error from a bait and switch at times. Typically a pricing error comes from the fact that some routes’ prices change more quickly than others, and more often than not a pricing error will only be $50-$100 wrong, not $500 or $700 (as in the example given above).
Pricing errors are actually somewhat frequent in the auto shipping industry considering the fact that prices change rapidly and it’s essentially hit-or-miss when it comes to actually pricing loads. Brokers price based on average prices on your route, but there are always extenuating circumstances that can raise your specific prices beyond what your representative is seeing.
Brokers price their freight, then look for a carrier once you book; they don’t have people waiting in the wings for your loads, and between the time you book and the time they find someone interested your price may change by $50 or so. It’s best to communicate openly with your auto transport broker so as to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
To avoid bait-and-switches in the beginning, make sure to get multiple quotes from reputable and reliable shipping companies – you can get one from a top-rated shipper right here, right now! Just fill out our free quote form to get your instant quote and see how we can help. We price our freight to move. We may not always be the lowest, but we will be the best.