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General Requirements (Subpart A) - Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

The primary responsibility for your protection lies with you in selecting a reputable household goods carrier, ensuring you understand the terms and conditions of your contract with your mover, and understanding and pursuing the remedies that are available to you in case problems arise.

Click on the question below to view the answer.

Who must follow the regulations?

What definitions are used in this booklet?

Where may other terms used in this booklet be defined?


Who must follow the regulations?

The regulations inform motor carriers engaged in the interstate transportation of household goods (movers) what standards they must follow when offering services to you. You, an individual shipper, are not directly subject to the regulations. However, your mover may be required by the regulations to force you to pay on time. The regulations only apply to your mover when the mover transports your household goods by motor vehicle in interstate commerce - that is, when you are moving from one State to another. The regulations do not apply when your interstate move takes place within a single commercial zone. A commercial zone is roughly equivalent to the local metropolitan area of a city or town. For example, a move between Brooklyn, New York, and Hackensack, New Jersey, would be considered to be within the New York City commercial zoneand would not be subject to these regulations. Commercial zones are defined in 49 CFR Part 372.


What definitions are used in this booklet?

Accessorial (Additional) Services - These are services such as packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, or piano stair carries that you request to be performed (or that are necessary because of landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.

Advanced Charges - These are charges for services performed by someone other than the mover. A professional, craftsman, or other third party may perform these services at your request. The mover pays for these services and adds the charges to your bill of lading charges.

Advertisement - This is any communication to the public in connection with an offer or sale of any interstate household goods transportation service. This will include written or electronic database listings of your mover's name, address, and telephone number in an on-line database. This excludes listings of your mover's name, address, and telephone number in a telephone directory or similar publication. However, the Yellow Pages advertising is included within the definition.

Agent - A local moving company authorized to act on behalf of a larger, national company.

Appliance Service by Third Party - The preparation of major electrical appliances to make them safe for shipment. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.

Bill of Lading - The receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation.

Carrier - The mover transporting your household goods.

Cash on Delivery (COD) - This means payment is required at the time of delivery at the destination residence (or warehouse).

Certified Scale - Any scale designed for weighing motor vehicles, including trailers or semitrailers not attached to a tractor, and certified by an authorized scale inspection and licensing authority. A certified scale may also be a platform or warehouse type scale that is properly inspected and certified.

Estimate, Binding - This is a written agreement made in advance with your mover. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on the estimate.

Estimate, Non-Binding - This is what your mover believes the cost will be, based upon the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the mover. The final charges will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect.

Expedited Service - This is an agreement with the mover to perform transportation by a set date in exchange for charges based upon a higher minimum weight.

Flight Charge - A charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.

Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service - An additional level of service featuring guaranteed dates of service. Your mover will provide reimbursement to you for delays. This premium service is often subject to minimum weight requirements.

High-Value Article - These are items included in a shipment valued at more than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram).

Household Goods, as used in connection with transportation, means the personal effects or property used, or to be used, in a dwelling, when part of the equipment or supplies of the dwelling. Transporting of household goods must be arranged for and paid by you or another individual on your behalf. This may include items moving from a factory or store when you purchase them to use in your dwelling. You must request that these items be transported, and you (or another individual on your behalf) must pay the transportation charges to the mover.

Household Goods Motor Carrier means a motor carrier that, in the ordinary course of its business of providing transportation of household goods, offers some or all of the following additional services: (1) Binding and non-binding estimates, (2) Inventory, (3) Protective packing and unpacking of individual items at personal residences, and (4) Loading and unloading at personal residences. The term does not include a motor carrier when the motor carrier provides transportation of household goods in containers or trailers that are entirely loaded and unloaded by an individual (other than an employee or agent of the motor carrier).

Individual Shipper - Any person who:

  1. is the shipper, consignor, or consignee of a household goods shipment;

  2. is identified as the shipper, consignor, or consignee on the face of the bill of lading;

  3. owns the goods being transported; and

  4. pays his or her own tariff transportation charges.

Impracticable Operations generally refer to services required when operating conditions make it physically impossible for the carrier to perform pickup or delivery with its normally assigned road-haul equipment; requires the use of smaller equipment and/or additional labor to complete pickup or delivery of a shipment. A mover may require payment of additional charges for impracticable operations, even if you do not request these services. The specific services considered to be impracticable operations by your mover are defined in your mover's tariff.

Inventory - The detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.

Line-Haul Charges - The charges for the vehicle transportation portion of your move. These charges, if separately stated, apply in addition to the accessorial service charges.

Long Carry - A charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover's vehicle and your residence. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.

May - An option. You or your mover may do something, but it is not a requirement.

Mover - A motor carrier engaged in the transportation of household goods and its household goods agents.

Must - A legal obligation. You or your mover must do something.

Order for Service - The document authorizing the mover to transport your household goods.

Order (Bill of Lading) Number - The number used to identify and track your shipment.

Peak Season Rates - Higher line-haul charges applicable during the summer months.

Pickup and Delivery Charges - Separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the storage-in-transit warehouse and your residence.

Reasonable Dispatch - The performance of transportation on the dates, or during the period of time, agreed upon by you and your mover and shown on the Order for Service/Bill of Lading. For example, if your mover deliberately withholds any shipment from delivery after you offer to pay the binding estimate, or 110 percent of a non-binding estimate, plus any charges for additional services you requested, or permissible charges for impracticable operations that were not included in the estimate, your mover has not transported the goods with reasonable dispatch. The term ''reasonable dispatch'' excludes transportation provided under your mover's tariff provisions requiring guaranteed service dates. Your mover will have the defense of force majeure, i.e. , the contract cannot be performed owing to causes that are outside the control of the parties and that could not be avoided by exercise of due care.

Should - A recommendation. We recommend you or your mover do something, but it is not a requirement.

Shuttle Service - The use of a smaller vehicle to provide service to residences not accessible to the mover's normal line-haul vehicles.

Storage-In-Transit (SIT) - The temporary warehouse storage of your shipment, pending further transportation, with or without notification to you. If you (or someone representing you) cannot accept delivery on the agreed-upon date or within the agreed upon time period (for example, because your home is not quite ready to occupy), your mover may place your shipment into SIT without notifying you. In those circumstances, you will be responsible for the added charges for SIT service, as well as the warehouse handling and final delivery charges. However, your mover also may place your shipment into SIT if your mover was able to make delivery before the agreed-upon date (or before the first day of the agreed-upon delivery period), but you did not concur with early delivery. In those circumstances, your mover must notify you immediately of the SIT, and your mover is fully responsible for redelivery charges, handling charges, and storage charges.

Surface Transportation Board - An agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates household goods carrier tariffs, among other responsibilities. The Surface Transportation Board's address is 1925 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20423-0001, Telephone 202-565-1674.

Tariff - An issuance (in whole or in part) containing rates, rules, regulations, classifications, or other provisions. The Surface Transportation Board requires that a tariff contain three specific items. First, an accurate description of the services the mover offers to the public. Second, the specific applicable rates (or the basis for calculating the specific applicable rates) and service terms for services offered to the public. Third, the mover's tariff must be arranged in a way that allows you to determine the exact rate(s) and service terms applicable to your shipment.

Valuation - The degree of worth of the shipment. The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than is provided for in its base transportation charges.

Warehouse Handling - A charge may be applicable each time SIT service is provided. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges. This charge compensates the mover for the physical placement and removal of items within the warehouse.

We, Us, and Our - The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

You and Your - You are an individual shipper of household goods. You are a consignor or consignee of a household goods shipment and your mover identifies you as such in the bill of lading contract. You own the goods being transported and pay the transportation charges to the mover.


Where may other terms used in this booklet be defined?

You may find other terms used in this booklet defined in 49 U.S.C. 13102. The statute controls the definitions in this booklet. If terms are used in this booklet and the terms are defined neither here nor in 49 U.S.C. 13102, the terms will have the ordinary practical meaning of such terms.


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