How to Avoid Shipping Container Scams

With so many sellers and options to choose from, it’s hard to know who to trust to deliver your container so you don’t end up saddled with junk — or worse, getting scammed. Read this guide to help protect yourself from potential scams.

Nina Barango
Dec 15, 2023
6 mins
The exterior of a luxury shipping container home.
Table of Contents

Staying Protected Against Container Scams

At Boxhub, we understand that purchasing a shipping container can be challenging. With so many sellers and options to choose from, it’s hard to know who to trust to deliver your container so you don’t end up saddled with junk — or worse, getting scammed.

Unfortunately, various shipping container scams exist online, each with its modus operandi.

The most common scam involves advertising containers that simply don’t exist. Scammers create fake listings or use stolen photographs to make non-existent containers appear legitimate. They may even set up fake websites or online marketplaces to deceive unsuspecting buyers.

Another common scam is misrepresentation, where scammers intentionally provide false information about the condition or specifications of the container being sold. These scams may include impersonating legitimate shipping companies or brokers with fake profiles to gain the trust of their victims.

To help protect yourself from potential scams, here are a few things to watch out for:

1. Check The Seller’s Better Business Bureau Profile

Trustworthy container companies like Boxhub hold an A+ accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. Always look for this when you’re considering a purchase from an online container company. You can also check credible review platforms like Trustpilot and Google to read verified customer testimonials.

2. Be Wary of Non-Traditional Payment Methods

Reputable container sellers generally accept payment through credit cards, bank transfers, or PayPal. If a company insists on using electronic transfer apps like Zelle and Venmo or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, be careful — this could be a red flag.

3. Too-Good-To-Be-True Deals

We all love a bargain — but some low-price tags come at a cost. Be cautious if the seller offers prices significantly lower than other reputable companies. Unrealistically low prices often signal potential scams.

4. Containers For Sale Via Personal Profiles

Thanks to online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay, just about anyone can sell their belongings online. Unfortunately, marketplaces also serve as breeding grounds for shipping container scams, with limited recourse in case of fraudulent activity.

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Staying Protected Against Container Scams

Not sure if a seller is genuine? Here are some things you can do:

Verify the Seller

Thoroughly research the seller before making any commitments. Look for signs of legitimacy, such as a well-established online presence, positive feedback from previous transactions, and detailed information about the container they sell.

Check with NPSA

Most trustworthy companies are connected with the National Portable Storage Association (NPSA). You can search for verified container suppliers on their website.

Get a Quote Safely

Request a quote through the company’s Better Business Bureau page. This way, you know you’re dealing with a real company — not an impersonator.

Pay by Credit Card

Credit card companies offer consumer protections that minimize the risk of losing out to online scams. Conversely, payment methods like wire transfers, money orders, and cryptocurrency payments offer limited recourse in the event of a scam. Of course, always check with your credit card provider on what you’re covered against before committing to a large online purchase.

Trust Your Instincts

If something feels off or too good to be true, trust your instincts. Scammers often pressure buyers into making quick decisions. Take your time, conduct thorough research, and don’t rush into any agreements.

At Boxhub, we know that buying a container sight unseen is a leap of faith — which is why we offer a market-leading condition guarantee and a 30-day money-back warranty to ensure that you can confidently purchase a container with peace of mind.

If you have any questions or are uncertain about a quote you received, give us a call at 1-888-356-2954. Our team is happy to review quotes and provide guidance on their legitimacy.

About Nina Barango

Nina Barango is an experienced content marketer and container expert with a proven track record in the tech and logistics industry. Having worked with various startups and SMEs, she bridges the world of marketing, tech and shipping containers. When she's not creating content that'll revolutionize global container trade, you can find Nina reading a book or mastering her video editing skills.

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