One question I receive over and over both in person and in the mail is “what do I do when it comes to shipping once I buy a car online?”
I’ve gone through this process when I bought a ’59 Edsel from a gentleman in North Carolina about eight years ago. I did have several problems with the shipping as the original summertime pickup date had to be cancelled. Then there was a change in price upwards. I finally had the car successfully delivered (open trailer) but the experience wasn’t the best by any means. Unbeknownst to me, I used a broker that didn’t own any trucks and once I signed the original contract, I had no options concerning a more expensive reschedule.
To better assist my readers who may be in the process of buying a car online, I communicated with Max Matev, owner of the MIG Transport LLC, doing business as MIG Auto Transport in Jacksonville, Florida. Max has excellent blog reviews, and gives numerous recommendations. He also names several competitors he feels are the most trustworthy which makes for a more objective and “fair to all” column.
Matev explains there are factors like ease of the route and seasonal fluctuations that can affect pricing. He recommends getting a quote beforehand for better budgeting.
“First, your auto transport process should start before you buy the car,” Matev begins. “Get a quote for shipping so you can factor it into how much you are willing to pay for the car and especially so that you aren’t blindsided after the purchase like what happened with your ’59 Edsel. In most cases, but not all, the closer the car is geographically, the cheaper the price.
“The next and most important step in the process is picking the right company. One of the biggest problems in auto transport today is that customers simply choose the cheapest company from a list on the internet. The problem with this method is that most auto transport companies work via brokers. These broker companies don’t actually own any trucks and their function is simply to find a carrier to move your vehicle.”
Matev then added a common price switch trick that some of the “bad brokers” use by quoting an impossibly cheap price.
“You receive a nice, low price and later the company raises it when they have a signed contract with your deposit. Your 1959 Edsel delivery is a good example. So start things off right by checking out the reputation of your auto transport company. It is your number one concern,” explained Matev.
Some companies Matev recommends are: MIG Auto Transport migautotransport.com; Montway Shipping, montway.com; Ready Logistics, readylogistics.com; and Reliable Carriers, reliable-carriers.com. Once you pick a company, buyers must decide on an open or enclosed trailer.
“I recommend if the car is worth more than $100,000, go with enclosed transport. You have to weigh out your decision based on the difference in price. And even if you are shipping a classic car worth $40,000, the enclosed delivery might still be the way to go as you receive excellent protection from weather,” he noted.
Matev then explained that after you decide open or enclosed delivery, an important part of the scenario is sometimes forgotten.
“You need to inform your broker so they know everything about your car. Make sure to mention if the car is running and if not and make sure the pickup location is accessible for the truck. Also, tell your company if there are any extra parts or items that need to go with the vehicle, any special modifications like lifted or lowered suspensions, and make sure the broker is aware of both your availability and the seller as for pickup and delivery (work schedules, upcoming vacations, etc.) You don’t want surprises for you or the driver.”
Another important area Matev pointed out is finalizing the contract and paying for the car.
“I do not recommend signing a contract or paying anything until the seller of the car you buy receives your check and it’s cleared by the bank. You don’t want to pay cancellation fees for a deal that falls through for whatever reason. Truck drivers have very restrictive schedules so if something isn’t ready they usually have to cancel and move on. There is rarely an opportunity for them to wait until a payment clears, said Matev.
The last thing to be concerned with is the condition of the car when picked up for delivery.
“With the technology we have nowadays,” Matev continued, “there is no reason for disputes. Every carrier driver has a Smartphone and can take pictures of your car at the pickup point to give you an accurate idea of the condition. This photo recommendation isn’t a requirement by most companies so you need to request photos to be taken at the pickup location.”
Matev explained if you receive your dream car with damage, make sure you do not sign the inspection report. He noted every carrier has insurance that will take care of any damages your car sustains during transit. Call your broker so that they can guide you through handling things correctly during the drop off.
“And that’s it,” said Matev. “The process isn’t scary and can be very cost effective when compared to the cost of flying to a location and driving a car back home if possible. Next time you are looking at buying a car online follow these steps and you’ll be happy with the results,” he concluded.
Thank you Max Matev for your informative course of action. Check all the broker and carrier websites and reviews online (there are hundreds) and if you’d like to contact MIG about a delivery, call 904-553-7367. MIG is located at 4400 Chasewood Dr., Jacksonville, FL, 32225.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.