For more details of this bad transaction (email exchanges, insurance certificates, etc.) see the websites www.weshipcarssucks.com or www.safewayautotransportsucks.com, both launching in October 2012. Simply type safewayautotransport or weshipcars into any search engine to call up the new websites.
Last February I contracted through an online service called uship.com to have my car hauled. The bid was accepted from one car hauler, who then subbed the job out (unknown to me) to Safe Way Auto Transport out of Kuttawa, Kentucky. The car was a vintage, near mint 1966 Mustang that my father in law had given us and we were having it hauled from Kentucky to New Hampshire. When Safe Way Auto Transport picked up the car they immediately damaged it when loading it onto the truck, as the front point of the hood was lifted into the front of another car as the operator positioned the mustang.
The hood had a gouge and damage to the chrome trim piece. My father in law (a retired car hauler himself) was there when the car was loaded, and commented that he had never seen anyone not know what they were doing like this operator. During the course of transporting my Mustang, the operator had to move it to make way for another car he was picking up, and this time he completely smashed and destroyed the passenger side headlamp, bezel and assembly. The damage was pointed out to me (hard not to notice it) when they dropped the car off, and they promised to get me a check to repair it quickly.
The owners of Safe Way Auto Transport, Frank and Linda Keichline, requested that I get two insurance estimates. I took the car to two different body shops, and got estimates for just over $1,700 to have the repairs made. Both shops were within $50 of each other on their estimates. Then, Frank and Linda Keichline requested pictures of the damage, so I sent them two pictures taken with a cell phone.
They sent these two pictures to a "desktop appraiser" who then gave them a repair estimate of $1,200+, without having even seen the car or the extent of the damage. To make things worse, the desktop appraiser admitted that he had to go by an estimating manual that only went back to the 1987 Mustang, since that was the oldest he had. Numerous times Frank Keichline told me that there were aftermarket parts available cheaply through catalogs to make these repairs. More than once, the body shop who did the work on the car told frank that aftermarket metal parts did not usually fit and had to be modified at the shop, and they were far inferior to OEM parts on a vintage car.
They questioned the labor rates ($40/hour from their desktop appraiser vs. $60 from both shop estimates due to the fact that the car was vintage) more than once. The bottom line is that I contracted with Safe Way Auto Transport to haul a vintage car, and they accepted responsibility for it with a "guarantee" to deliver it undamaged. Frank and Linda Keichline made it clear that this was not an insurance claim since it was below their $2,500 deductible.
They first tried to get the body shop to accept their desktop, 1987 based estimate and after two months I finally told the repair shop to go ahead and fix the car while I sorted out the payment. After repairs were made, Frank and Linda Keichline then offered me Just over $1,200 LESS a $250 "deductible" (for a non-insurance claim) that would have paid me just over $900 for a $1,700 plus repair bill. This is just one instance where Frank and Linda Keichline flat out lied during the course of this transaction. Since he lives in Kentucky and is a retired car hauler himself, my father in law asked if he could get involved.
He had several phone conversations with Frank and Linda Keichline. During the course of these talks, my father in law was able to get the money released from the original hauler who had subcontracted the hauling job to Safe Way Auto Transport. The original hauler was holding onto the money until Safe Way Auto Transport settled the claim with us, and this created a catch 22. After we convinced the original hauler to pay Safe Way Auto Transport the money they owed them, Safe Way Auto Transport then turned around and told us, sorry, we're only going to pay you $1,200 to settle this claim.
So I am out almost $600 out of pocket because of the incompetent car haulers Safe Way Auto Transport and the dishonest lying weasel owners Frank and Linda Keichline. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of car haulers available to haul your car or boat, and the internet makes it so much easier to find a good reputable one who stands by their business and backs up their guarantees. With so many decent haulers out there, do not make the same mistake I made of doing business with dishonest scumbags like Frank and Linda Keichline of Safe Way Auto transport. People like this only give an industry a bad name, and unfortunately through no choice of mine, our paths just happened to cross.
Don't take the chance. Use a reputable car hauler for your vehicle and don't end up wasting six months of your life fighting over a repair bill for incompetence.