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Auto Transport Reviews (see p. 31 for companies we endorse)

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Auto Transport Reviews (see p. 31 for companies we endorse)

Postby jrebeiro » Tue May 11, 2004 10:48 pm

We are moving across country and have decided to ship our cars. The company we chose is Dependable Auto Services.

I will try to keep everyone informed on the experience we have with them.

So far here are the details.

Shipping is from Terminal to Terminal... Hayward, CA to Linden, NJ. Cost per vehicle is $624. They offer a multiple car discount but you can't get it online. I had to call and ask if they offered one. They also sent me the quote for the full price ($674) but assured me that when I pick up the vehicles I will only be charged $624.

The agent was pretty helpful and seemed nice. The price is also nice and one of the cheapest I have found. They have a pretty good rating on epinions.com and are eBay reccomended. howwerate.com has somewhat negative reviews. In reading the reviews most of the problems seem to be in door-door shipments and from what I understand they use third-party shippers to go from your door to the terminal. We will be eliminating that step so hopefully we wont have an issue. It's also more convenient since we can control our drop-off date.

Links to reviews:
http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Moving_Ser ... ng_Service
http://www.howwerate.com/showcompany.php?s=DAS

I got a tip from someone to lower my comprehensive deductible to $0 so that any damage will be covered. DAS charges $100 to add you to their insurance and has a $100 deductible. Lowering my comprehensive deductible cost me $40 more on my 6-month premium.

Now if I can only find that plastic that they put on new vehicles. Does anyone know where I can get that?
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby 23 » Wed May 12, 2004 6:23 am

Very Funny!

I would make a few calls to your local car dealers. Maybe when they get a shipment of cars in, you could meet the driver and take the film off of their cars and place it on yours!
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby Diane » Wed May 12, 2004 9:15 am

Thanks, jrebeiro, for starting this thread. A lot of people are interested in finding inexpensive but reliable auto transporters. Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS) is one of the five highest-rated moving companies of any type on www.epinions.com that have been rated by more than 25 people.

I stress that I have no personal knowledge of DAS. However, I want to point out the following positive review by "penaddict" on January 13, 2004, on another thread (she was moving a car from Los Angeles to Denver in the winter):

penaddict wrote:So here is my follow up on DAS (finally). So the quote I got from DAS for $405 was accurate (remember I got a $100 off special, dropped off at the facility and picked up myself and used own insurance). I dropped it off on Dec. 20. Unfortunately the web site wasn't updating and it was really difficult to get through to DAS directly.
I found out that the truck arrived on Dec. 30. We were already at our new destination and didn't know the truck was here until later when I called the towing location here.
We picked it up. It was in great condition (just dirty) and it started right up.
So was happy with the service. Though we could have picked it up earlier. But we weren't charged any storage charge even though it was sitting there for more than the allowed five days.
I would recommend DAS!

A person who works for a major van line and posts frequently here as "Nancy" has said that her company often refers people to DAS and they have been satisfied. Nancy commented on the same thread:

Nancy wrote:The door to door service is typically serviced by a local tow company hauling your car from the terminal to your residence on a flat-bed tow truck. You can certainly save money by picking up the car yourself at the terminal. . . One good thing, they run their own trucks, rather than brokers who have no control.

So what I'm getting from this is that you can save money on shipping your auto by doing the following:

(a) eliminating the deductible temporarily on your own comprehensive auto insurance (it costs less than you'd think to do this) and refusing the DAS insurance; and

(b) driving your car to the nearest DAS terminal and picking it up there. (Just like the DITY mover ABF charges less if you use the terminal-to-terminal option.)

As jrebeiro says, you also minimize the chance of delay and hassles if you eliminate the tow truck involvement.

As I posted on another thread, I also saw that a company called Tn'T in Carlsbad, CA, has many good reviews on this useful website (also mentioned by jrebeiro) that rates auto transporters: http://www.howwerate.com/index.shtml. There are about 100 reviews of Tn'T there, of which about 85 are favorable. Where people have written in to complain, the company has responded with an explanation, which I like. However, I stress that I have no personal knowledge of this company, although I believe that others posting on this board may have used them. People considering DAS might just want to get a quote from them for comparison (1-800-872-8681).
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby MusicMom » Wed May 12, 2004 10:34 am

I didn't know it was possible to have a $0 deductible. Bet they'd raise your premiums a large chunk, though.
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby jrebeiro » Wed May 12, 2004 1:11 pm

Like I said in my post.... my premium went up about $40 for 6 months. I should have had $0 all along since its so cheap.
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby Diane » Sat May 15, 2004 10:53 am

I am going to re-post on this thread some previous posts about auto transporters that I think are particularly valuable for consumers to see. I'm doing this so that they won't get lost in the shuffle--so that we can keep everything about auto transporters together for easy reference. If any of the original posters object to this, please send me a PM and I will remove the post.
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby Diane » Sat May 15, 2004 10:56 am

Posted by "jrebeiro" on Fri May 14, 2004 12:38 pm
Post subject: BEWARE A-1 Auto Transport
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
jrebeiro wrote:I had contacted this company for a quote. The price was good on the phone and I asked about reserving the date. One of the questions I had asked was if I reserve can I cancel. I was told that this was possible. I also asked when my card would be charged. I was told when I dropped the vehicles off. I am shipping two cars so I went ahead and "reserved" the first vehicle thinking it was a similar process to hotel reservations. Something happened with my phone and I got disconnected. I tried calling back and never got hold of them. I was placed on hold for about an hour. I got an email from them with the quote and the email stated I needed to place the order. I emailed back and said I would like to cancel the reservation.

A week later I went to pay my credit card online and saw my available credit was way low. I look at recent transactions and there are 2 charges from "A-1 AUTO TRANSPORT CARSON CITY NV" for $665 each. I have tried to call them numerous times to "cancel" an order I never placed but keep getting stuck on hold. I finally waited it out and got a hold of someone who said she could help me. She told me they don't do reservations and they charge your card when you call. I told her I got disconnected and never finished the order... she said she saw that and offered no explanation to how both orders were "placed". She said she would cancel them and I should get a refund on my credit card. I will keep people informed on this.... but for now I wouldn't deal with them. They got horrible reviews on all websites I checked after the fact.

It pays to do research! I hope I can help people in that research... learn from my mistakes

Jeff

This was answered by "MusicMom" on Fri May 14, 2004 2:50 pm
Post subject: Re: BEWARE A-1 Auto Transport
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MusicMom wrote:You need to send them a typed, signed letter, certified mail, return receipt requested, cancelling both orders. For many companies, this is the only legal way to cancel a move. Send it ASAP, and then you can send a copy of the letter on to your credit card company showing you have canceled the orders. The credit card company would either refund the amount to you through thie own resources, since you have proven the cancellation, or get A-1 to send it back.
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby Diane » Sat May 15, 2004 11:27 am

Posted by "ewa" Fri Apr 02, 2004 2:28 am
Post subject: Auto transporting
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ewa wrote:Hello,
Is there some one here who has experience with an autoshipping company called A-1 Auto Transport, Inc from Carson City, NV?
I'm trying to find a shipping company to transport my mini SUV from Florida to California. Dependable Auto shipper gave me a quote on $1274 and this A-1 Auto Transport gives me a quote on $950, so they are a little bit cheaper, but I don't know anything about this company
.


Posted by "Diane" Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:02 am
Post subject: Re: Auto transporting
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Diane wrote:Ewa, I don't know anything about these companies, but I'm going to consult a friend of mine who is in the business and if you check back tomorrow, I may have an answer for you.


Posted by "Diane" Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:24 am
Post subject: Re: Auto transporting
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Diane wrote:Ewa, I checked with my friend. This A-1 (or A One) Auto Transport company in Nevada has an "unsatisfactory" rating with the BBB due to unanswered complaints, which means you should rule it out right away. There have been serious allegations involving unreasonable delay in delivery, damage to vehicles, failure to comply with the terms of a contract, and extremely unprofessional behavior by the people running the company. The BBB reports that the company had 62 complaints during the past 12 months. You can see the report yourself by looking at www.bbb.org.

In contrast, Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS) is the highest rated auto shipping company on www.epinions.com that has more than 25 reviews, and several people posting here have said good things about it. Check a report by "penaddict" to see how she saved money with DAS by using a discount coupon, her own insurance, and a terminal-to-terminal option
.


Posted by "Tyrone" Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:51 pm
Post subject: Re: Auto transporting
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Tyrone wrote:I personally just used Auto Driveaway Co. to have a car shipped from Boston, MA to Las Vegas. It was $900 and was shipped using an open car carrier (one of those specialized trailers that haul many cars at the same time on those slanted "ramps").

Anyway, they arrived a day early and there were no problems. Their website is www.adcautotransporters.com.

2 years ago I used American Auto Transporters (shipcar.com) out of Canton, MA to ship my Mercedes and my Cadillac from Boston to Las Vegas. AAT then brokered the shipment to another company based out of Henderson, NV. Instead of hooking my Benz to the car carrier by the frame, they hooked it to the suspension causing one of the suspension springs to literally LEAP off of the car as soon as it came down off the truck. The suspension spring made a giant "BOY-OY-OY-YOING" sound and shot across the street (mind you this is a heavy metal spring that weighs around 40 pounds! If it had hit somebody it could have killed them.). The car was undriveable. It cost me nearly $1,000 to fix it and the company gave me the COMPLETE runaround on the repair. They told me that the check was in the mail for 3 months and then they sent me a letter saying my claim was denied. Let me tell you I was PISSED at the damage to my $51,000.00 Mercedes and it could not have come at a worse time (my household goods were being held ransom by US Movers Van Lines).

The Cadillac was OK and I would have been able to give this company a recommendation if they had not shown gross incompetence in securing the the Benz, and then been utterly despicable in lying about my claim.

Neither the good company I just used (ADC) nor the crappy one from 2 years ago (AAT) was a car moving company I found on the Internet. BOTH were large, well known LOCAL BASED carriers from the Boston area that came highly recommended. So I guess it's a roll of the dice.

That's my personal experience, for what it's worth. You should also do a search on "Southerland Auto" for an overview of the type of scams that can happen when shipping a car.
_________________
Minister of Procto-Cranial Extraction


Posted by "Ewa" Sat Apr 03, 2004 5:27 pm
Post subject: Re: Auto transporting
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ewa wrote:Diane, thank you so much for your help. That was good information you gave me. I have not found the discussion at www.epinions.com yet.

Ewa


Posted by "Diane" Sat Apr 03, 2004 6:14 pm
Post subject: Re: Auto transporting
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Diane wrote:You're very welcome, Ewa.

The list of auto transporters on www.epinions.com is at http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Moving_Services-All-Auto and Dependable Auto Shippers is the fourth one on the list.

You can see the discussion by "penaddict" if you do a search on this website under her name as author
.
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Re: Auto Transporting

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat May 15, 2004 11:34 am

Terminal to terminal is always the best option for shipping autos.

It gives you the flexibility to not have to be at a specific place at a specific time to receive the vehicle.

In addition, you take it to the terminal and it goes onto the car carrier directly.... When door to door, you increase by 4 the handling of the vehicle. Handling on and off the two truck at origin, and the same at destination. That alone increases the chance of damage to the vehicle.

And why are you leaving Hayward? I'm on the Oakland/San Leandro border.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain
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Re: Auto Transporters

Postby Diane » Sat May 15, 2004 11:41 am

I think it is worth pointing out that Dependable Auto Shippers has had a spotty record in the past. This is from the BBB report on the company in Mesquite, TX (the parent company):

Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. Any complaints processed by the Bureau in its three-year reporting period have been resolved. Previously, this company had an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to one or more unanswered complaints. Recently, the company has responded to those matters.


This is from the BBB report on the branch in Gardena, CA, which has apparently not been updated:

Complaints generally alleged delays in delivery of vehicles and denial of damage claims.

The company responded to delivery related complaints by referring to the contract indicating delivery dates are not guaranteed, explaining that reimbursement for rental cars is not provided. In some cases, they offered monetary adjustments. To complaints regarding damage to vehicles, the company generally responded by offering $250 which they state is their limit of liability. They generally denied claims based on mechanical malfunction and claims relating to damages to the undercarriage.

The number of complaints brought to the firm's attention is not what we consider to be excessive, given the nature of business and the volume of business transacted.

To avoid misunderstandings, obtain written confirmation of all verbal promises. It is also advisable to remove all personal possessions from vehicles before transport and purchase additional insurance coverage in case damages occur.

Dependable Auto Shippers has been in business since 1954, which is a huge plus. From following this messageboard for almost a year, I've learned that the most common complaint about auto transporters in general is delays in pickup or delivery. These delays occur primarily because the car carriers have to zigzag all over the country to pick up enough cars to make the trip profitable for the company. Judging from what people have posted here, you may be able to save some time by taking your vehicle to a terminal and picking it up there.
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Re: Auto Transporters

Postby jrebeiro » Sat May 15, 2004 12:32 pm

Regarding their BBB Report... the contract clearly states that their liability should you refuse the $100 valuation insurance is $250. I don't know about others but I read contracts before accepting them. This is why I took it upon myself to contact my own insurance and lower my liability because I did not want to pay the $100 extra per vehicle for their insurance.

It just goes to show you that you have to read the details of negative feedback before passing judgement on the company. Like I said in my previous post I noted that the negatives seemed to be transit time related. By using terminal to terminal I think my chances of getting an on-time shipment just shot up to about 85%.
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Re: Auto Transporters

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat May 15, 2004 12:46 pm

Diane, you are absolutely correct in your assumption.

Car carriers are different than HHG carriers, in that they cannot operate profitably be having only one or 2 cars going cross country. My feeling with car companies is that they should offer spreads based on worst case scenario.

I recall checking their web site during the holidays, and they had a message posted saying there was a 7 day delay on cars shipping from the East Coast to the West Coast.

It is not realistic to expect a car to go from coast to coast in 7 days, when a hhg shipment might take 14. Shippers electing to use car carriers need to be flexible on their dates, and choose terminal delivery.

The issue with the claims for undercarriage damage is an example of door to door where the vehicle is hoisted onto a flat bed. That is the side effect of that. DAS should probably have dealt with the claim, and subrogated from their tow agent.

But, as the BBB report indicated, the nature and number of complaints don't warrant much concern for a company this old, and it appears they have all been addressed.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain
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Re: Auto Transporters

Postby 23 » Mon May 24, 2004 9:02 pm

80mm just shipped his Jeep from CA to MI and used a company named A to Z Auto Shipping out of California. His car was shipped without a hitch!

You can find more info and get a quote from them at www.atozauto.com

This would be a company to at least get an estimate from when shipping a vehicle. They also give discounts for multiple vehicles being shipped at the same time!
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Re: Auto Transporters

Postby Diane » Tue May 25, 2004 8:50 am

I've asked 80mm to come on this thread to provide more information about his experience with A to Z Auto Shipping in Westlake Village, CA. He posted elsewhere that he was very pleased, but didn't give many details.

People reading this should use caution and should look at A to Z's BBB report, which seems to me about average for an auto transporter. The report posted on www.santabarbarabbb.org indicates that there were 16 complaints over the past three years, of which half were classified as "resolved" and half as "company made a good faith effort to resolve."

People should also read the reviews of the company on www.epinions.com (three bad reviews--one of which is in a comment--and one good review) at http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Moving_Ser ... y_~reviews. The Epinions reviews talk about delays--common in this segment of the industry--and about the fact that the company is a broker. In one case, the owner of the company ("Dree") has responded with a rebuttal. In my opinion, none of the complaints are hugely serious, but consumers may want to go with a company that has better reports on Epinions.

NOTE: To see all the reviews on Epinions, people have to join and sign in as a member. Some of the reviews are filtered out and are not shown to non-members. For example, non-members see only 2 of the 4 reviews of A to Z Auto Shipping.

Another thing to keep in mind in interpreting recommendations on this website and elsewhere is that some auto transporters routinely offer to pay full-service movers a $50 fee for referring customers to them. One of the moving professionals posting here has said that her company does not accept such fees because it could expose her company to liability claims if the auto transporter is sued. Another moving professional has said that Tn'T does not offer such referral fees and that she respects and supports that policy.

A friend who was in the auto transport industry for many years tells me that in general, companies like Dependable Auto Shippers that have their own trucks and broker out only a small percentage of moves have a better reputation in the industry than companies like A to Z Auto Shipping that broker out all moves. This is because the move is only as good as the driver and company that actually hauls the car. However, Tn'T doesn't have any of its own trucks, as far as I know (although it calls itself a freight forwarder, not a broker), and it still seems to have a good reputation among professionals in the industry.
Last edited by Diane on Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Auto Transporters

Postby jrebeiro » Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:28 am

I feel like I hit the jackpot with this move. Both choices for Household and Auto Transporters were right on!

Lets start talking about DAS. I called the 800 number and got a quote from Jon. I was shipping 2 cars so I asked for a discount. I got $50 off each car. The discount seems only available when you call since there was no option on their website for it. After you get the quote you get an automated email from their system. You have to reply YES and your shipment is confirmed. The quote came in without the discount so I emailed Jon and asked him to confirm the price.. he said the quote doesnt show the discount but I would only be charged the discounted rate... sounded good so I replied YES.

I chose the terminal to terminal option. I dropped the cars off in Hayward, CA to a somewhat run down building. Luckily the transporter was outside so it calmed my nerves. The transporter looked brand new and I was once again comfortable. They inspected our vehicles and gave us tracking numbers and an estimated delivery date of june 12.

Online tracking was less than helpful. Their 800 number had more current info but was a bit of a neiusance to call... even tho they had no more than 2 minutes of hold time. The cars arrived on june 12th but their online tracking wasnt updated and nobody called us. I checked again on monday and the online tracking was still saying our cars were in Missouri. I called the 800# and emailed my rep... both of which said our cars were in NJ and we can go anytime to pick them up.

The depot in NJ was ALOT nicer. Our cars arrived with zero damage and they even washed them for us. I was quite impressed!

Excellent job.. delivery time was a bit slow but the price was extremely low and they technically did not miss their delivery estimate. Terminal to terminal was the way to go... I think if we did door-door it would have taken longer and cost $300 more per vehicle.

I'll give them an A- due to their poor online tracking system.

Excellent choice for terminal to terminal at least.
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