There was an interesting email chain that went around between the owners of many of the top Car Shipping Companies this week regarding the cost to ship a car (and some very misleading Pay Per Click advertisements that were resulting in angry and frustrated customers).
The email was generated by a equally angry and frustrated owner and sent out to us fellow owners, in which he asked everyone to band together against some of the larger auto transport 'lead generation' companies in an effort to get them to remove their PPC ads that contain headlines like "499 Ship a Car Cross Country".
He brought up an excellent point, since 499 certainly wouldn't be anywhere near enough to Ship a car across the country (unless, of course, we were all magically transported back to 1979) and the only goal of an ad like that is to generate a 'click' so that the poor, misled consumer's information could be captured and sold to 8-10 hungry (read: bloodthirsty) car shipping brokerages.
In the end, it's bad for everybody (except the PPC advertiser who made the ad, mind you) because the consumer has been misled and is now being FLOODED with calls and emails that are WAY out of line with his expectations; and the brokers are stuck chasing a customer that is basically a 'dead lead' because if he had known or even suspected what the actual price was, he probably wouldn't have asked for a quote in the first pace.
It's lose-lose and time wasted for all involved. (Again, except for the unscrupulous Advertiser)
I personally didn't engage in the dialogue beyond reading the frustrated responses that were generated by various owners and cc'd to everyone on the original email.
I realized a long time ago that purchasing leads from these advertisers was a waste of time, because a customer that clicks on an ad like that is not "Safe-Direct Car Shipping Material" (as uppity as that sounds). That customer is just looking to go with the company that quotes him the lowest price, and that just simply isn't what we bring to the table.
Our car carriers are the best of the best, and unfortunately, that means they are often not cheap.
But, I have always found that when you are up front and honest about the cost to ship a car, it is better for all involved. In fact, it's a big reason that we offer a Free Rate Calculator on our website and strive to keep it up to date and as accurate as possible. With the calculator, you can get a fairly accurate assessment of the cost to ship a car, before ever picking up the phone or sharing your contact information.
That way, if shipping a car is too costly for you and you know it going in, it's time saved for everyone involved.
There are too many "bait and switch" operations in the car shipping industry, and we will never be one of them. While it may result in one order placed, it will never result in happy customers and referrals from friends, which is one of our best sources of traffic.
So, the next time you read a PPC ad that sounds too good to be true, I would encourage you to "think before you click".
Just like Mom always said, If something sounds too good to be true - it's probably because it is.