Woodburn Dragstrip
7730 Hwy. 219
Woodburn, Oregon

Learning by Experience – December 2017

I heard you bought a car on eBay and need to have it shipped across the country.  Maybe you are considering using a professional vehicle transport company.  Let me tell you.  This, in itself, is an education.  And just as in many of life’s events, we can learn by reading about it, hearing about it, or by just trying to do it by oneself.  And that is how I got my education — Not that I am an expert in this field, but I did learn from experience.

The first thing I learned is that securing a transport company is a non-regulated industry.  If you use the internet to secure a driver, you will most likely find the name of a “trucking company.”  This trucking company, however, is not really a transport company, but a broker who will connect with a transport company, pocket a few dollars for himself or herself, (via your credit card) and then the balance is paid to the driver by cash or cashier’s check upon delivery.  When you give your credit card number to a broker, there is no guarantee that you have a driver, but you can be sure that your credit card has been hit.  The broker may or may not work hard to secure a driver, because, he/she already has your money.  Lesson number 1:  Do not give your credit card number to a broker until a driver has been dispatched to pick up the car.

When discussing your arrangements on the telephone, the broker will not always be truthful.  To the best of my knowledge, all brokers use a central internet posting for drivers to learn of available cars to be transported.  My car was a Plymouth Volare coming from Westhampton New York to Keizer, Oregon.  But one broker posted it as a 66 Charger coming from Commack New York to Portland, Oregon.  I never could understand why this untruth was posted.  My suggestion is that you see everything in print prior to agreeing to anything.  What you may be told does not always align with the actual posting that the broker will submit.  Lesson number 2:  See it in writing.

One broker may promise to secure a driver for less money than another broker because he wants to get your business (and get you to sign his/her contract).  If you sign a contract and give your credit card number, you likely will be under obligation for at least 10 business days.  However, if you are trying to save money and just settle for the lowest amount promised, you should not be surprised if no drivers respond to your posting.  In my case, my posting was on the board for 14 days with not one response, (because the broker said he could find a driver for that amount), but when a new broker posted at $200 higher,  I had a driver and dispatch within one day.  Lesson number 3:  If you want results, money talks.

Finally, you will be able to find many reviews of the “trucking companies” through Yelp, BBB, Facebook, and transportreviews.com but none of these are reviews of the brokers.  You will find both positive and negative reviews, but you cannot be sure who is actually writing these reviews.  Sometimes, I suspect, it is one broker, using a fake name and fake story, to post negative reviews of another.  Be cautious if you believe everything you read.  Lesson number 4:  A good broker is the key to a good auto transport experience.

In conclusion, you might want to think twice if you are buying a car that needs to be transported from a distance.  There is a lot to be gained when you view the car in person and haul it home yourself.

Elvon Kauffman has been drag racing since 1975. He has been a NHRA Northwest Division ET Finals Champion twice – first in 1978 when he defeated fellow Woodburn racer, Joe DiFillipi at Seattle International Raceway and secondly, in 1980 when he again defeated a Woodburn racer, Ron Burch at Woodburn Dragstrip.  He was the first and only World Champion in Heavy Bracket, winning with his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 4-speed at the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in October, 1980.  Elvon’s variety of life experiences become the basis for the stories he shares in Straight Talk, a monthly column produced by Woodburn Dragstrip.

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