Scams are everywhere, from financial scams to coronavirus aid scams. But did you know there are some less than reputable shipping container providers out there that will try to scam you? It’s true. Don’t be a victim. Follow these tips to avoid scams when looking for a shipping container provider.
Look Into the Website’s Domain Name
Find out how long the provider’s website domain has been active. Most legitimate companies have older, established websites, as opposed to a fraudster’s site, which will be very new. That’s because they pop up and disappear frequently to avoid detection.
Check For Legitimate Company Address and Verified Google Name
If you can’t find an actual address on file for the company, this is a big red flag. An established, credible company has an actual address and a verified listing on Google Maps. Make sure the profile is verified and make sure the contact information there matches what’s on their website. Strict verification methods are put in place by Google to ensure scammers don’t abuse the platform because that damages consumer trust.
Verify a Landline Phone Number
Providers that operate with just a cell phone number may be a little sketchy. A landline number indicates a central office, and this points to professionalism. To check for a landline number, look for an area code in the region of company location. Cell phones don’t always indicate location. Make sure that phone number matches with the phone numbers on the website, social media pages, and Google Maps. When you call, take note if it is answered immediately.
Learn How Long They Have Been in Business
Check out the About Us section on their website. Is the content well written or does it look thrown together or too good to be true? Is it too much information, something that could have been copied and pasted from somewhere else? You want to see a strong About Us page that details their experience in your area.
Get Several Quotes
It’s a good idea to choose at least three different providers and call them for quotes. Rock bottom prices that seem too good to be true usually are. They often lure people in with low prices just to get you to call, then hit you with hidden fees later on, or they may require you pay all up front in cash to get such a good rate.
Check for Organic Presence on SERPs
If you only see paid advertisements for the company popping up in the search engines with no organic links, take note. If a company wants to appear in organic search results, they have to have a legitimate website that engages in SEO ranking tactics. If you know anything about SEO, you know how long it takes to build up a presence on the SERPs with organic search alone.
Visit Social Media Pages
These will give you a good idea of the character of the company. Look for a lot of reviews. If they only have a couple, this isn’t a good sign. Make sure they’re recent and positive overall. Some negative reviews are normal, but you should still see if the company reached out to the consumer to acknowledge their complaint and offered to make it right.
Buy Directly From a Container Supplier
The best way to ensure you’re buying direct is to visit the company in-person rather than relying on phone calls and online interactions alone.
Ask to See the Container On-Site
It’s never a good idea to buy or rent a shipping container sight unseen. You should be met with enthusiasm when you ask to see the container, not a NO answer. This is a red flag. Most companies want their customers to be satisfied with the quality of their products, so they should have no problem showing you the inventory.
Don’t Share Banking Information
In order for a shipping container scam to be successful, it has to rely on the ability to get funds from a naive buyer’s bank account. If the company asks you for this information right away, before you have verified all details, take this as another red flag. Banking and payment info should be the very last step in the process.
If you follow the above tips, you should be assured of choosing a reputable shipping container supplier.
Contact Transocean Equipment Management
When you’re looking to partner with a proven provider of shipping containers in South and North Carolina, as well as Virginia and Georgia, contact us for a free quote to get started. We have more than 40 years of experience in the container sales and rental business for your peace of mind.