uShip.com is internet based company offering a forum for transportation service providers (TSP) and shipper matching. It functions similar to a reverse auction in that shippers may list a shipment needing transported for Transportation Service Providers to offer service and bid. The shipper can select TSPs from the offers received for their shipment. The transportation service provider is charged a fee for each booking of a shipment when the shipper accepts their bid and offer.
uShip's User Agreement clearly states that Transportation Service Providers must be legal and licensed to perform the service. It further states a disclaimer that uShip is a neutral venue and is not responsible for information provided by the TSP. It is the responsibility of the shipper to verify the information and credentials provided by the TSP offering service to the shipper.
In a recent shipment listing, I followed uShip's guidance and recommendations uShip provided to verify the TSP's credentials and to ascertain that each TSP was a legal motor carrier as required by the US DOT's FMCSA regulations and federal statutes. One particular TSP responded submitting a US DOT and Motor Carrier Authority (MC#) number as requested. (This authority was required to legally transport my shipment across state lines) Upon verification of the numbers in the FMCSA database, it revealed that the motor carrier authority presented by a TSP company listed on uShip as Boat Hauling inc., was assigned to a different company name. The FMCSA database provides address, phone numbers and other contact information for each legally registered motor carrier. Using the information obtained from the FMCSA database, I contacted the real owner of the motor carrier authority numbers that had been presented by the uShip listed company, Boat Haulers inc. The legal owner of the motor carrier authority was Apache Transport LLC. The owner of this company denied any affiliation with a company DBA Boat Hauling inc. and further stated that company was not authorized to use the motor carrier authority.
The motor carrier authority Boat Hauling inc. represented to be their own was obviously being illegally used and without the knowledge and consent of the true legal owner of that authority.
The legal motor carrier (Apache Transport LLC) contacted uShip and informed uShip of the illegal activity. (email documentation) He additionally requested uShip provide the identity and contact information of Boat Hauling inc so he could pursue legal action to stop further illegal use of his motor carrier authority and report the crime to the appropriate government authorities. (email documentation) uShip declined to provide the requested information stating uShip would only divulge that information to police or other government authorities. That is in accordance with uShip's policy. However, when presented evidence of a crime, would not the ethical action be to report it to the appropriate authorities and cooperate with the victims of the crime? I can find no indication uShip made a report to authorities or offered any cooperation to the legal motor carrier whose authority had been illegally and falsely presented.
At this point, uShip was, or should have been fully aware one of their TSP members had presented another motor carrier's authority and represented them as their own and subsequently falsely claimed to be an affiliate company. Despite that knowledge, uShip has to date, failed to take corrective action to remove Boat Hauling inc from their list of active TSP members available to provide transportation services. Further, they apparently continue to present obstacles to the legal motor carrier's investigation by not providing the information requested.
In a subsequent posting in the uShip forum titled Community, Trust & Safety, I posted the full details of the activity including the actual response from Boat Hauling inc where that company had submitted another legal motor carrier's authority falsely representing them as their own. Rather than take appropriate action, uShip deleted the post effectively hiding the facts from other uShip users.
The fact that uShip does not verify a TSP's credentials allows illegal transporters to participate without concern that uShip will disclose their illegal transporting and illegal use of other legal carrier's authority. This has made uShip a haven where illegal transporters have access to thousands of shipments.
I would suggest that any ethical company would immediately investigate the facts, which in this case are indisputable, and cooperate to assist in prosecution of the offender. However, rather than provide information to the legal motor carrier company, or even prohibit the company Boat Hauler inc from further participation, uShip deleted forum posts and effectively hid the facts.
You be the judge...
Is uShip hiding the identity of illegal transporters?
Is uShip obstructing justice?
Is uShip completely void of ethics?