Shipping a motorcycle can be a risky endeavor if you are not careful. Unscrupulous companies may try to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers and sellers. However, with some research and caution, you can avoid common scams. This article provides tips to help recognize potential scams and choose a reputable shipping company.
Bait and Switch Pricing
One scam tactic is bait and switch pricing. A company will quote a very low price to lure you in but then tack on extra hidden fees when it’s time to pay. Be wary of any company that gives a quote significantly lower than competitors. Reputable shippers will provide a full price quote up front including all fees. Ask the company to clearly explain what is and isn’t included in the quoted price.
Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance
Shipping a motorcycle requires adequate insurance coverage in case of accidents or damage during transit. However, some dishonest operators will fail to purchase insurance as promised. Before booking, request written proof that the company has the necessary commercial cargo insurance in place. This should include coverage limits and your motorcycle’s declared value. Steer clear of any company unwilling to provide documentation of their insurance protections.
Motorcycle Shipping – Unlicensed or Unregulated Carriers
Only use licensed and regulated transportation brokers. Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website to confirm a company’s operating authority and safety record. Companies operating without proper licensing may not be professionally managed and could cut corners that endanger your motorcycle. Going with an unlicensed carrier also leaves you with little recourse if issues arise during shipment.
Poor Communication and Lack of Tracking
Reputable transporters keep customers updated with pickup details, estimated delivery windows, and proactive status notifications. However, fly-by-night operations may disappear after getting paid, provide little to no tracking access, and ignore messages. Prior to booking, ask about communication protocols and make sure the company offers online shipment visibility with tracking number updates from origin to destination.
Requests for Upfront Payment
|Demanding full payment before providing a quote or booking shipment details
|Requesting a deposit with the balance due upon pickup or delivery is reasonable
|Refusal to generate an official invoice or contract
|Providing signed documentation of services, rates, and payment terms protects both parties
While not outright scams, these payment practices greatly increase the likelihood of a problematic transaction. Putting money down is fine once all logistics are clarified, but wiring funds to an unknown company before that raises scam suspicions.
Motorcycle Shipping – Lack of Physical Address
Avoid companies without an legitimate business location. Search online for the business name along with “complaints” to check for unresolved customer issues. Their physical address and legitimacy as a carrier can also be checked on the FMCSA website. An address is needed to hold a company accountable should problems occur. Choose a transporter with an established local or regional office you can visit if needed.
Motorcycle Shipping – Conclusion
With a bit of diligence, you can sidestep motorcycle shipping scams. Do your research, check credentials, ask the right questions upfront, and never wire money without a clear contract in place. Going with a reputable company provides recourse if damage happens while still getting a competitive rate. Taking these precautions results in a far smoother transportation experience for both buyers and sellers of motorcycles.