This is one of the frequent question car owners ask when addressing an auto transport company, at german auto mechanic Centennial we had the same questions.The answer to the question reviles an interesting aspect of the business and a good indication as to who the company really is.
Most auto transport companies do not ask for deposits.
They usually accept payment upon delivery which can be done with credit cards, cash or cashier’s checks. In some rare cases, they might accept personal checks but only if they trust their customer or have a trusted already established business relationship. Because they do not charge any money upfront, they will not unload the car until payment is confirmed. That is understandable as the car is the only collateral they have. If the customer refuses to pay and the car is unloaded, the carrier will have to go through a time-consuming legal process to recover his owed amount for the transport.
As far as upfront deposits go, this is a practice common for transport brokers.
They do not actually transport the car, but they work with multiple carriers. The deposit is the broker’s way of ensuring he is getting paid no matter what. In simple terms, brokers are the middle man and the deposit is their cut for their services. Carriers do not get any extra commission from the brokers and in most cases, there are no business relationships between the two. The broker will act on your behalf, collect a commission and arrange the transportation with a carrier. Since the broker operates on a commission that is drawn from the deposit, in some cases, the transport will be more expensive than when working directly with a carrier. Surely, there are also some reputable brokers that care about their business and their customers. In the end, brokers do make it easier to find reliable carriers, but it is just as good if not better to find a carrier on your own.
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