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Rule and Consumer Protection Guide

The Interim Final Rule

[View the PowerPoint Version]

Transportation of Household Goods; Consumer Protections RIN 2126-AA32

May 5, 2004


Slide 2 of 20

The interim final rule:

  • Amends (49 CFR Part 375) regulations governing the interstate transportation of household goods.

It impacts:

  • Approximately 4,000 active household goods carriers.
  • Approximately 600,000 moves each year.
    • Represents 40 percent of the moving industry’s business.
    • The other 60 percent are self-haul, intrastate, corporate, and government moves that either have not been regulated (self-haul and intrastate) by the Federal government or were de-regulated in 1995 (corporate and government).

Industry Compliance and Enforcement Date: May 5, 2004


Slide 3 of 20

Why an Interim Final Rule?

  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) wanted to have an opportunity to review the information collection requirements.
  • OMB completed its review and approved the information collection requirements on June 19, 2003.


Slide 4 of 20

Background:

1940-1995

The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) administered household goods regulations.

1996

Congress terminated the ICC and transferred the household goods program to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

1998

FHWA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requesting comments on its proposal to update the household goods regulations.

1999

Congress authorized FMCSA to regulate household goods carriers engaged in interstate operations in the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.


Slide 5 of 20

The interim final rule:

  • Establishes parameters of fair dealing for movers.
  • Specifies how interstate household goods carriers (movers) must assist their individual customers who ship household goods.
  • Provides a reasonable level of protection to consumers of household goods moves.
  • Seeks to equip consumers with information adequate to make informed decisions about moving their household goods.
  • Extends many regulations to household goods brokers.


Slide 6 of 20

The interim final rule:

  • Updates the regulations to make them easier to understand.
    • Question and answer format


Slide 7 of 20

This interim final rule:

  • Ensures consumers are aware of the mover's liability for loss or damaged goods
  • Specifies what must be in agreements with agents
  • Specifies what must be in advertisements
  • Specifies what must be in complaint and inquiry systems.
  • Requires a mandatory dispute settlement program for loss and damage claims


Slide 8 of 20

This interim final rule also requires specific procedures in the:

  • Transportation of Shipments
    • Reasonable Dispatch
  • Delivery of Shipments
  • Collection of Charges

Slide 9 of 20

This interim final rule requires:

  • Consumers are furnished a copy of "Your Rights and Responsibilities when You Move" when estimates are provided
  • Written estimates
  • The following documents must be provided to consumers in writing before loading
    • Order-of-Service
    • Inventory
    • Bill-of-Lading
  • Weighing of non-binding shipment
    • If the charges are based on weight


Slide 10 of 20

"Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" pamphlet:

  • Provides basic information to help the consumer understand the documents the mover will ask consumers to sign.
  • Explains the consumers rights if their household goods are lost or damaged by the mover.
  • Is available on the FMCSA Protect Your Move Web site.


Slide 11 of 20

Includes the following topics:

  • What is included in the Pamphlet
  • General Requirements
  • Before Requesting Services from any Mover
  • Service Options Provided
  • Estimating Charges


Slide 12 of 20

Includes the following topics - continued:

  • Pickup of My Shipment of Household Goods
  • Transportation of My Shipment
  • Delivery of My Shipment
  • Collection of Charges
  • Resolving Disputes with My Mover


Slide 13 of 20

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

Important Points

  • Movers must give written estimates.
  • Movers may give binding estimates.
  • Non-binding estimates are not always accurate; actual charges may exceed the estimate.
  • You should not sign blank or incomplete documents or allow anyone representing you to do so.


Slide 14 of 20

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

Important Points

  • You may request a guaranteed pick up and delivery date.
  • Be sure you understand the mover's responsibility for loss or damage.
  • Request an explanation of the difference between valuation and actual insurance.


Slide 15 of 20

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

Important Points

  • You have the right to be present each time your shipment is weighed.
  • You may request a reweigh of your shipment.
  • If you agree to move under a non-binding estimate, you should confirm with your mover—in writing—the method of payment at delivery as cash, certified check, cashier's check, money order, or credit card.


Slide 16 of 20

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

Important Points

  • Movers must offer a dispute settlement program as an alternative means of settling loss or damage claims. ASK YOUR MOVER FOR DETAILS.
  • You should ask the person you speak to whether he/she works for the actual mover or a household goods broker.
    • A household goods broker only arranges for the transportation.
    • A household goods broker must not represent itself as a mover.
    • You should know a household goods broker generally has no authority to provide you an estimate on behalf of a specific mover.


Slide 17 of 20

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

Important Points

  • You may request complaint information about movers from FMCSA.
  • You should seek estimates from at least three different movers.
  • You should not disclose any information to the different movers about their competitors, as it may affect the accuracy of their estimates.


Slide 18 of 20

Enforcement

  • FMCSA has the authority to enforce this regulation.
  • Penalties will be assessed as provided by 49 U.S.C. Chapter 149, Civil and Criminal Penalties.


Slide 19 of 20

  • To address industry concerns, FMCSA will implement an enforcement policy to reflect the following:
    • No enforcement of HHG shipments contracted before May 5, 2004.
    • All shipments contracted for on or after May 5 will be subject to he new requirements
    • Enforcement of regulatory provisions requiring changes to forms (e.g. bills of lading) will begin on July 1, 2004.
    • Distribution of the revised Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move pamphlet must take place beginning on May 5, 2004.

Slide 20 of 20

Consumer Assistance

  • A complaint can be filed against the mover by:
    • Calling FMCSA's consumer complaint hotline (1-888-368-7238) between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday, or
    • Accessing the FMCSA's Web site at http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov
  • The complaint may trigger a Federal enforcement investigation against the mover.
  • FMCSA does not have authority to resolve loss and damage claims against a moving company.
    • Appropriate settlement remedies, include:
      • Use of mover's dispute settlement program
      • Litigating in the appropriate civil court


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