The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: How to Avoid International Shipping Company Scams

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: How to Avoid International Shipping Company Scams

International shipping can be a complicated process.  Picking the wrong international shipping company only makes this process even more complicated.  K International Transport has been in business for over 20 years and we’re proud to say that most customers stay, but unfortunately some go.   But the ones that go always return…and why?  Well I’ll tell you exactly why, and in ode to the popular Western’s of the 1960’s we will use our friend Clint Eastwood to demonstrate “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly” of International Shipping Companies.

Don’t let a bad international shipping company take you for a ride,
read below for tips on how to avoid “The Bad and The Ugly”

The Bad and The Ugly – How to Spot International Shipping Company Scams

  • Don’t be fooled by a con-artist. If you are shipping automobiles, construction equipment and other specialized cargo does the international shipping company have experience handling this type of cargo?

Not every international shipping company is an experienced international car shipping or construction equipment shipping company.  No two international shipping companies are exactly alike, some companies specialize in hazardous cargo while others specialize in agricultural products.  But shipping a container of hay is no way similar to shipping an automobile.  Be sure to ask the shipping company if they have ever handled cars before and if they can explain how the car is loaded into a container or on a roll-on / roll-off vessel.  If they sound like they have no clue…run…

  • Every thief knows how to steal a bag of gold from under your nose. Is the car shipping quote for international car shipping too good to be true?

 We get this all the time, “I’m shipping my car to Italy and the other car shipping company only quoted me $150 to ship my Range Rover to Genoa…”  Two weeks later the customer comes back crying.  As they say with most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  No reputable shipping company will charge you $2000 to ship your Range Rover to Genoa if it only costs $150.   Whenever we hear customers mention such a big difference in price an automatic red flag goes up.  

First ask your overseas car shipping company how they will ship your car.  Is this roll-on / roll-off service or container service?  Oftentimes international car shipping companies will quote for consolidation service without even letting you know.  Think about this, would you want your 2012 Range Rover shipping with a 1993 Volvo worth $5?  What happens when the Volvo customer reaches Italy and realizes the customs and VAT charges are more than the cars worth and decides to abandon his car?  Now your car is stuck in a container and customs refuses to release it.  

Also, one of the biggest international car shipping scams is the shipping company picks-up your car and delivers it to port.  Next thing you know your Iphone gets an email from the car shipping company asking for more money or else your car won’t ship.  Now you’re stuck, either your car stays in the port forever or you have to pay the charges.  Don’t you wish you didn’t try saving that extra $50 to go with a less reputable shipping company.

  •  Not everyone can be a sheriff.  Is the international shipping company licensed?

Every freight forwarder and international automobile shipping company must be licensed by the FMC.  FMC stands for the Federal Maritime Commission, and this organization is here to help you, the customer.  In order to receive an FMC license, the applicant must confirm they have 3 years of experience in international shipping and provide credible references.  Furthermore, the company will have to obtain a surety bond in order to get approved.  Not sure if your international shipping company is licensed?  Every shipping company has a license number and should be able to provide it to you.  But also remember, not every licensed company is a good company.  Several “shipping companies” will have a website that takes your personal information and sells it to other customers.  Don’t get passed around!  If you aren’t sure if your international shipping company is a reputable company, ask for references and how long the boss has worked in the industry.  If they can’t provide you with either, again…run…

  • So you’re the new guy in town…. How long has the overseas shipping company been in business?

Did the international shipping company just open yesterday and the owner of the company only has 3 years of experience and the rest of his workers have none?  Although the person might sound friendly over the phone, you want to make sure you are in capable hands.  You wouldn’t trust your gardener to deliver your first child, so why trust a novice with your first international car shipping experience.  

  • When there’s too much heat in the kitchen, the company runs.

There was an unfortunate accident and your cargo was damaged.  Good thing you purchased international shipping insurance!  You call your “reputable” international shipping company and the customer service representative won’t return your calls after you tell them of the incident.  When purchasing international shipping cargo ask your shipping company to send you a copy of or the original insurance policy immediately.  They should also be able to provide you with the following information before you decide to ship your car and purchase insurance: what is the deductible?  Will insurance cover the full value of my car?  When does insurance coverage start and end?  When unfortunate incidents happens no one is happy, but you need a reliable international shipping company who will help you throughout the entire process

The Good- Found a Reputable International Shipping Company? Some Tips to Cover Your Behind

So your shipping company seems to pass the test, now it’s up to you to make sure you CYB – Cover Your Behind

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions

No question is a stupid question, and a reputable international shipping company will tell you this.  If you have a question, ask, ask, ask.  You will regret it later when you have a problem that could have been easily answered or solved if you asked beforehand.  Some things to consider: check the transit time, sailing date, estimated arrival date and agent information for the port overseas.  This will help save you a lot of headache.

  • Read all Terms and Conditions 

Stuff happens, and some things are beyond the control of the international car shipping company.  Those two pages of terms and conditions they gave you with your car shipping quote…read through it, it’s there for a reason.  The same way you have to CYB, international shipping companies have to do the same.  

Aren’t you glad Clint Eastwood saved you from the bad guys of international shipping

In conclusion, while many international shipping companies will bring out the “Bad and the Ugly” there are several that will bring out the “Good”.  When choosing which overseas shipping company to use to ship your car, Caterpillar, construction equipment or furniture, make sure to follow the above tips.  With over 20 years of experience, K International knows what we’re talking about when it comes to international shipping.  Call us today at 212-267-6400 to receive international shipping quotes.  We are also on skype: Kinternationalny and can be reached by email: Skype Me™!