AAA Transporters Unregistered transportation broker, repeated price increases, unregistered with USDOT Miami, Florida!!
For several weeks, I have been trying to have someone move my 2006 Ford F150 4×2 shortbed crew cab pickup from my employer’s Southern California terminal to my new residence in Southeast Wisconsin. I work as an over-the-road truck driver myself, so moving the vehicle myself would entail taking over a week off from work (unpaid) in order to move the vehicle myself. My partner and I determined that, if the price was right, it would be better to have an automobile transportation company move the vehicle for me.My partner and I, independently, obtained various quotes using two different web sites that promised several quotes each from each. This incident refers to the fourth such “company” we dealt with.AAA Transporters contacted my partner on June 14, 2017 with Quote# 9796-YU. My partner received an email from them, which she forwarded to me that claimed the following:1. Shipping charge of $850 from pickup location to delivery location as stated.2. That they are a high volume, experienced broker for drivers, who set the prices.3. No charges applied to my credit card until the vehicle is actually dispatched for pickup.4. Full transparency in their dealing with their customers.They also offered a $300 gas card, usable at any gas station I choose. This later turned out to be a gas card that would require me to purchase $1500 worth of fuel in order to receive the $300 “rebate.”I visited the company’s web site to get more information on them. The site claims they are an industry leader in the automotive transportation industry with over 20 years experience. The site also listed another name for the company, A-1 Auto Transport, which I did not think about initially.I contacted AAA Transporters by telephone at the number they provided in the email, and was put into contact with Ryan. He confirmed the information in the email and from their web site, and said they had several drivers available to pick up my vehicle within the next 24-48 hours. Normally, such companies charge only a deposit (the broker’s commission), with the balance due in cash or bank money order to the driver upon delivery. Since I travel extensively on my job, and would not be home when delivery was made, I made arrangements with Ryan to pay the entire balance up front using my credit card, and that they in turn would pay the driver.After providing personal, credit card, and vehicle information, Ryan assured me that everything appeared just fine, and that the driver would contact me when he arrived at the pick up point within the next 24-48 hours. Instructions by me for the pick up made clear that the vehicle was being picked up at a trucking terminal (my employer), and that the driver would need to pick up the vehicle between 7:00 am and 3:30 pm weekdays, since the shop manager had the keys to the vehicle and these were his work hours. I was assured this would not be a problem. The driver would also be required upon delivery to move the vehicle from the transport vehicle to the assigned parking location, as my partner is visually impaired. Again, no problem.Ryan told me I would receive an email confirmation shortly, once all information was entered into their computers, and that I would hear from a driver within a day or two when the pickup was accomplished.The next day, and no email. I contacted AAA Transporters at the number I had from the email, and reach “Carlos.” He told me Ryan was not yet in, and that my vehicle had yet to be entered into their system. My call was then forwarded to Ryan, who quite obviously had just awakened. Ryan told me that he was unable to enter the vehicle the previous night because the computers had shut down due to it now being “after hours,” but that my information would be entered within the hour, and that he would call me back once that was accomplished. This was at 9:00 am Pacific Time.At 7:00 pm Pacific time, having again heard nothing from Ryan, I called again. Ryan was not in yet. A few minutes later, Ryan called me back from a different number. He said he had a driver available, but that the driver required an additional $150. Wishing to just get the vehicle moved at this point, I agreed to the higher price, with the belief that the driver would pick up the vehicle the following morning.The following morning, nothing. I tried several times to contact AAA Transporters, only to repeatedly get voice mail recordings. That evening, having learned no one had made any attempt to pick up my vehicle, I called the last number Ryan had called me from, but again voice mail. A few minutes later, “Carlos” called me, demanding to know how I got his number. I explained this was the last number Ryan had called me from. He looked up my order, and informed me that no carrier had been scheduled, and that the new, higher, agreed upon price had not been posted, although paperwork showed I was to be charged the additional $150.At this point, I asked that the order be canceled. Carlos explained that he could not do that, and that I would have to speak with “Junior,” apparently the name Ryan is known by at AAA Transporters.The next morning, I called AAA Transporters and asked to speak with Ryan. He was not in. I again asked that the order be canceled, and this time was told that the order had now been canceled. Later that evening, Ryan called (from yet another number), and explained that a clerical error had been made, which he had now corrected, and that he should have a carrier available to pick up my vehicle within the next 24-48 hours. I again demanded that the order be canceled, and explained my reasons. Ryan assured me the order would be canceled immediately.The following day, I contacted one of the telephone numbers listed on the web site for this company. Again, voice mail, this time for Mr. Delancey. When Mr. Delancey returned my call a couple of hours later, I explained what I had been through, and asked that he look into it. He pulled up my order, which was still active. I explained that I had tried to cancel the order multiple times now, and that I wished the order to be canceled. He then assured me he had done precisely that as we spoke.I have subsequently learned that AAA Transporters is not a broker licensed through the US Department of Transportation, and does not have an “MC” number as required to engage in such a business. A yellow pages and white pages search shows no listing for their business. A check of public records regarding business or tax licenses for AAA Transportation shows no record. A WHOIS on their web site reveals the company’s online presence began just last March, using a domain proxy service to hide their identity and location (normal for individuals, unusual for established businesses).The many different telephone numbers I have for this company show locations from Southern California to Washington State to Indiana, Tennessee, Maryland, Georgia, and finally South Florida, where the company claims to be located. The company appears to operate out of various private residences via cell phone throughout the United States.There is no listing of either AAA Transporters or A-1 Auto Transport anywhere, not in government databases (USDOT, licensing agencies, etc), telephone listings, nor professional rating sites. I have since spoken with several drivers who work in the automotive transportation industry, and none have heard of them. AAA Transporters, aka A-1 Auto Transport, claims to have been in business for 20 years, and yet they are unknown and invisible to the internet.Posting this experience on the aforementioned professional rating sites cannot be accomplished without a USDOT MC number on the company (required by law to engage in interstate transportation of goods as a broker or motor carrier). Hence the need to post this here (I would have anyway). They aren’t the only “broker” I had problems with, but they are the most obvious and blatant of those I’ve encountered.Buyer beware. If you need to have your vehicle moved, make sure who you are dealing with has a USDOT MC number, and operates out of a fixed business location. If at all possible, deal directly with motor carriers, rather than brokers.After all I’ve been through with this, I am now taking the time off from work to fly back to Southern California and drive the vehicle back to Wisconsin myself. The time off from work, the cost of airfare, and the expense of driving it back myself will cost me hundreds more in the short term, but the added expense will be well worth it compared to what I’ve been through trying to get someone else to move it for me.