Why did TMShipping allow my car to be impounded?

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By Christopher Elliott

Emanuel Bryant hires TMShipping to transport his car to Las Vegas. But when the company fails to show up on time, it triggers a cascade of unfortunate events. Can we fix this?


I recently hired TMShipping to transport my car from Sugarloaf, Calif., to Las Vegas. They subcontracted out to another vendor to move the vehicle.

I was notified by TMShipping to have the vehicle ready by Nov. 29 at noon. The delivery driver they hired confirmed the appointment. But he didn’t show up until Dec. 1 and said the car was gone.
I vacated the rental property on Nov. 29. The landlord towed my car and impounded it for vehicle abandonment.

TMShipping won’t get my car out of impound in spite of their negligence and poor selection of transporters. They say they are not responsible when, in fact, they are. I did not choose their subcontractor. The subcontractor never even bothered to call me. All I asked for was a simple phone call. Now they are washing their hands of everything when I didn’t do anything wrong. — Emanuel Bryant, Las Vegas


I’m so sorry your car got impounded. TMShipping’s contractor should have shown up when he agreed to and transported your vehicle to Las Vegas, as promised.

Here’s the problem: Your agreement with TMShipping basically lets it off the hook for all of your transport issues. The company only has to provide a driver to transport the car within one to five days of the pickup date. And TMShipping isn’t liable for the delays, including any changes to the driver’s schedule. (Related: Here’s why you should always, always, always read your car rental confirmation.)

Your case is a lesson to anyone doing business with a moving company. Always, always read the contract. Don’t assume the company will do the right thing. Make sure it is required to do so in writing.

Still, shouldn’t the company help you get your car from the impound? Yes, absolutely. It’s not required to help you, but I think it should. (Here’s our guide to renting a car.)

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As I reviewed your paperwork, I noticed that after your first relatively polite request, you quickly began to threaten TMShipping with a trip to small claims court. Your frustration is understandable, but it isn’t helping you get the resolution you want. Instead, it is making the TMShipping representative more defensive and less likely to do the right thing. Remember, being patient, persistent and polite is the key to a resolution.

What does TMShipping have to say?

You contacted the Elliott Advocacy team and I contacted TMShipping on your behalf. The company reached out to you, and you requested it pay the $250 impound fee and ship the car from the towing company to the delivery location at its expense.

The company says it fulfilled its contract by providing a driver to pick up the car within one to five days, starting at the first available pickup date listed in the contract. “But despite that, we contacted the client and offered to cover the impound fee in the amount of $250 as an exception and to find a new carrier to transport the car,” a representative told me.

TMShipping refunded its $85 service fee and found a new subcontractor to ship the car from the towing company to the delivery address, but the price would be $400 — $100 more than the rate to which you’d agreed. TMShipping offered to cover the extra $100. You’ll still be liable for the $300 transportation fee. Hopefully, your car will show up in Vegas soon.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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