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The Saner Container

8 Shipping Container Vendor Signs to Watch Out For

When buying a shipping container, you want to be confident that you are getting exactly what you are paying for. Scammers are becoming increasingly savvy, and unfortunately, the shipping container market is no exception to their tactics. This is why ensuring your vendor is a reputable source is more important than ever. In this blog, we'll be sharing 8 red flags to watch out for when scoping out a shipping container and where to find a credible source.

Shipping Container Vendor Signs to Look Out for
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1. Companies missing information.

This is a common sign of a scammer. They won’t list an actual address and/or phone number (particularly a non-800 number) on the website. And if they do, one quick way to test it is to put the address into Google and see if the company name pops up for that address (try it out with Super Cubes - our address is 13284 Spencer Sweet Pea Ln, Eden Prairie, MN 55347). Try it with their phone number, too.

2. Limited or missing company history. Like the contact info, they also won’t talk about the people involved in the company or anything that gives you any real information about the company that isn’t super generic. This includes talking about key people like owners or the names of key salespeople. It could also be things like, do they have a blog? How far back does it go? Do they have a website or just a Facebook page? If that Facebook page is all they have, how old is it?

3. Mismatched images and descriptions. At Super Cubes, we have noticed that scammers often put out a picture of a fancy, specialized container like a 20’ open-side container (which is fairly expensive) and put the description of it as a “used 20’ container,” which is the cheapest 20’ container out there. Often, when purchasing from a nonlegitimate vendor, you buy from them expecting that nice, fancy container in the picture, and you end up with a cheap, used container and do not have anything to go back to because the description won’t match the pictures. Being informed about what you are buying can protect you from being scammed. A trustworthy vendor, such as Super Cubes, will have all container sizes, types and conditions listed on their website so you can see how they are all different.

4. Pricing that seems too good to be true. This is the most common tactic by scammers. They offer a rate well below market rates to entice people into buying. We have seen rates that are 20% of the going rate, which means that if the company were legitimate, they would be paying for 75% of the customer’s container for them. It seems highly unlikely that is the case. Instead, what is more likely is that one of two things are at play:
    1. It is a scammer pure and simple. They are asking for your money have no intention of providing you with a container. They just want your money.
    2. It is a bait-and-switch. They offer up a container at a great price to lure you in. You say you want that, one and magically, that one is no longer available, but they have another one that is more expensive. That cheap one probably never existed.

      Unrealistic pricing on shipping containers

Another pricing tactic is offering free or significantly discounted delivery from locations not close to you. For example, we have had customers say scammers offered them delivery for $350 from a location 1,000 miles away. Logically, it isn’t possible for a car to travel that distance for that rate, much less a truck that does not get that kind of fuel efficiency to make that kind of trip.

Find out More: 5 Steps to Verify Your Shipping Container Vendor's Legitimacy

5. Vendor is hard or awkward to contact. If you reach out to the vendor and encounter significant delays in a response, or if they insist solely on email and text communication without engaging in a phone call, these are potential indicators of a scam or an unreliable seller.

6. No discussion regarding container delivery.  This should also be a big red flag. If you are getting a delivery to your location that requires a large truck, the company coming in with that truck should be asking you questions about where it is going. They should want to make sure there is enough space for the truck, that there is enough room for the container, that the container is going on appropriately firm ground, and that the truck won’t be driving on ground that is too soft or elevated so that it will get stuck. If they are not asking those questions, they are probably either:

  1. not bringing you a container or 
  2. not that good at bringing containers out to people. 

Either way, you probably want to move on.

7. They can’t tell you details about the container if you ask or call back about it. If you are buying a container and know that you want to get a specific size and condition, the vendor should be able to answer questions about the container. They should not promise you flawless conditions because even one-trip/”new” containers have come over from China on a ship and will have rubbed up against other containers. So if they promise you the sun, moon, and stars with no exceptions, that should be a red flag. If you ask about any potential issues and they can’t think of any, it's another red flag. If you try to call them back later and can’t get them on the phone, it's a huge red flag. You should be able to get realistic, consistent answers from companies about what you are buying.

8. Lack of reviews or bad reviews. Check them out from other sources besides their website or postings. What comes up in a Google search? See what you can discover from searching their name and seeing what comes up. Next, filter the reviews to look at the best, worst, and average ratings. Pay close attention to the average reviews because they should remain relatively neutral and will tell you both the positives and negatives of the vendor.

Super Cubes Open-side 20 shipping containerA reputable vendor will readily provide all necessary information upfront, such as business information and history. They will actively engage in discussions about your container purchase and delivery requirements. They will want to talk to you about your purchase, not avoid you.

When you have found a company that is not reputable or raises red flags, be ready to step away. Often we find customers will tell us they suspect a company isn’t legitimate, but “the rate is too good to pass up”. Sadly, they will call us back a few days or weeks later after giving their money these companies and not get a container in return. There are scammers out there, so be aware of that. But also, keep in mind that the rates they are offering are also not real. You cannot expect a legitimate company to match those scammer rates. 


Related Article:  7 Questions To Answer Before Buying A Shipping Container


Finding a Credible Shipping Container Vendor

If you're seeking a reliable shipping container vendor, Super Cubes is your solution. As a longstanding family-owned container provider, we have the expertise to locate and deliver the container that works best for you. Reach out to us today to get started.

Super Cubes is a family-owned business located in Minneapolis, MN, that provides containers anywhere in the continental US. We offer personalized service for individuals and businesses, providing high-quality containers at competitive prices. With nationwide facilities, we can modify and deliver containers close to you. Contact our experienced team for your next container project.

Post by Super Cubes
April 4, 2024