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What to Expect When You Move with Montway Auto Transport—Betsy’s Move
Montway Auto Transport is one of our best car shipping companies, but it didn’t leave a good impression on Elizabeth (Betsy), a recent customer. She shipped two vehicles with Montway in April 2021 when her first choice didn’t work out—and it wasn’t smooth sailing. She was frustrated by poor customer service and felt unsafe when her driver showed up not wearing a mask. Her price was also sky-high because she had no choice but to make a last-minute reservation.
Betsy chose Montway Auto Transport because it could guarantee her pickup dates. The company was able to guarantee the dates within her time crunch, but she still had a laundry list of frustrations. Betsy’s experience was so bad that she vowed never to use the company again.
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Betsy is a writer who loves the beach—and big poodles. In April 2021, Betsy and her partner moved from Venice, CA, to Old Saybrook, CT because they wanted a change of scenery. While she planned to ship two cars with Bargain Auto Transport (a 2018 Mazda CX-5 and a 2019 Mazda CX-5), Betsy ultimately went with Montway Auto Transport.
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Why Betsy chose Montway Auto Transport
Betsy chose Montway Auto Transport because another company left her in a bind. She initially placed a reservation with Bargain Auto Transport because Move.org liked the company’s affordable rates (she also got quotes from Easy Auto Ship, but Bargain was cheaper).
However, Bargain failed to pick up Betsy’s cars on schedule. When she ran out of time, Betsy demanded a refund of her deposits ($100 per car) and searched for a company that offered guaranteed pickup. She found Montway and booked two reservations for her vehicles.
Note: Bargain Auto Transport has since gone out of business.
A Montway driver loading one of Betsy’s vehicles onto a small trailer.
What to expect with Montway Auto Transport—Pricing
Montway Auto Transport’s car shipping prices are typically about 5% below the industry average—but that wasn’t Betsy’s experience. Car shipping prices vary based on things like the size of your car, how far you travel, and how much lead time you have. Because Betsy needed her cars picked up immediately, Montway’s price was twice as high as the companies she initially contacted: Bargain Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship.
Note: Easy Auto Ship (and virtually every other car shipping company) would have given Betsy much higher quotes if they had the same tight pickup window as Montway. You often get the lowest rates if you place your reservation about two weeks before your car is ready, while you’ll pay the highest possible prices if you give only 24 hours’ notice.
That’s why Montway’s prices were so high: it had only a couple of days to get Betsy’s cars on the road, while Bargain and Easy Auto Ship had six weeks to shop around for the cheapest truck drivers.
Car shipping: Short pickup timeframes lead to higher prices
Time between initial quote and scheduled pickup
2018 Mazda CX-5 price
2019 Mazda CX-5 price
|Bargain Auto Transport||43 days|| |
|Easy Auto Ship||43 days|| |
|Montway Auto Transport||1-3 days|| |
Data as of 4/2/21. Prices and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
What to expect with Montway—Customer service
Montway Auto Transport typically gets better customer service reviews than most other car shipping companies, but here again, Betsy’s experience was much different. While Montway’s average customer review score is 4.7 out of 5 stars, Betsy barely gave it 1 star.
She pointed out several frustrations:
- It was hard to reach a human. Betsy had a direct number for her Montway rep, but rarely managed to get past a machine. “It always went to voicemail,” she says. “And if we called the main number we were on hold forever. When they did answer, they almost always told us that they would have to call us back—which they didn’t do.”
- She couldn’t track her car. Betsy called several times after her cars were picked up to find out where they were, but Montway wasn’t able to track them down. “We never got updates, and when we called to demand them, no one knew anything,” she says. “The company could say only that our first car had been ‘delayed’ for mechanical reasons. Or in the case of the second shipment, that it hadn’t left yet.”
- Montway reps gave different answers. Montway’s reps were rarely on the same page. “Literally every time we called, we got a different answer on when the cars would be delivered,” says Betsy. “Even on the day of delivery, we were given the wrong delivery day only to find out later that it would be delivered that evening.”
- The delivery driver wasn’t COVID-friendly. Moving during COVID-19 can be tricky, and Betsy felt stressed out when her delivery driver failed to social distance or wear a mask. “It made us feel very unsafe,” she says.
What surprised us about Montway Auto Transport
There were a few things (good and bad) that surprised us about Betsy’s move with Montway:
Montway managed a one-day turnaround
It’s really hard (and very expensive) for car shipping companies to pick up vehicles on a single day’s notice. While Montway was late picking up Betsy’s second vehicle, the company successfully arranged next-day pickup for her first one. Although it irritated Betsy that the first driver arrived two hours early, we’re impressed that Montway was able to pick up her car so quickly.
Montway paid for a competitor’s failures
Montway didn’t do everything right, but it also paid the price for another company’s mistakes. Betsy is right to be frustrated with Montway’s poor customer service—the company fell below the high bar it set with other customers. However, while it failed to turn around Betsy’s bad experience, Montway inherited the frustration caused by another company that didn’t pick up her cars on time.
The last-minute stress and unexpected high prices were part of Betsy’s move from the beginning, and that frustration probably rubbed off on Montway. (Just think of how much more likely your customer service call is to go poorly when you’re in a bad mood before you even pick up the phone.) We can’t excuse the company’s shortcomings, but we also recognize that Betsy’s move was largely doomed before she ever heard the name of Montway.
Montway’s customer service was rough
Customer service is usually something we like about Montway Auto Transport—but not in this case. Montway had a perfect opportunity to gain a lifelong customer by easing Betsy’s stress after her frustrating experience with another company.
But it didn’t rise to the challenge.
Everything from long hold times to unhelpful customer service reps to a driver that didn’t follow COVID-19 protocols made things more difficult for Betsy. “I would not recommend Montway,” she says.
Don’t pay more than you have to. Check out our car shipping discounts guide to find lower rates for students, seniors, snowbirds, and more.
We gleaned several pro tips from Betsy’s feedback. While some parts of her move were beyond Betsy’s control (like poor customer service reps), there are also things that she could have done to save time, money, and stress:
- Use a company that has guaranteed pickup dates. Betsy’s nightmare started when Bargain Auto Transport wasn’t able to pick her vehicles up on time despite having a six-week window. For customers who don’t have much wiggle room, we recommend using a company with guaranteed pickup dates like Montway Auto Transport. It’s a lifesaver if you have to catch a flight on time or be out of your house by a certain date. Betsy likely would’ve gotten a much lower price (without having to deal with the last-minute stress of finding a new company) if she had gone with Montway in the first place.
- Reserve in advance. Betsy did this when she placed her reservation with Bargain Auto Transport six weeks in advance. However, because Bargain didn’t have guaranteed pickup dates, she ended up scrambling for a backup plan when her vehicles were already supposed to be on the road. Those eleventh-hour changes are why Betsy ended up paying more than double what she expected.
- Ask for daytime delivery. If you file a car shipping insurance claim, you’ll need to document damage like chips in the windshield or scratches on the paint. But it’s tough to find problems if your delivery driver drops off the car when it’s dark outside (that’s what happened to Betsy). While not every company can guarantee delivery times, we recommend you request daytime delivery so you can properly inspect your vehicle.
You should examine your vehicle for signs of damage when the delivery driver drops it off. Ask for daytime delivery so you can see things like scratches that aren’t easily visible in the dark.
You need auto transport documents like a bill of lading and insurance terms and conditions to ship a car. Those transporting vehicles to or from Hawaii also need paperwork such as a lienholder authorization and absent owner authorization.
Montway Auto Transport is one of our favorite car shipping companies, but Betsy’s experience shows how fickle the industry can be. While thousands of customers give Montway an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, Betsy barely gives it a 1. She repeatedly had to wait on hold, and often got conflicting info when she reached customer service. And while pricing was out of Montway’s control because Betsy needed next-day service, her bill was more than double what she expected.
We sympathize with Betsy. We also see a few things she could have done differently that would have led to a smoother—and cheaper—experience. We’re surprised that Montway’s customer service fell short, but we’re also impressed how quickly it picked up her vehicles on short notice.
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