Ready To Move?
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL INTERSTATE MOVE
This brochure has been developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to assist you in a successful move across state lines. While most household moves go smoothly, FMCSA is concerned about consumers who experience difficulties in resolving disputes with household goods carriers (movers) – or worse, are defrauded by dishonest movers. We want you to be informed and aware of your options when choosing a reputable mover.
FMCSA regulates interstate household goods movers and requires them to register with the agency. These movers must provide each customer with the names of process agents in every state in which they operate, so that legal documents can be served on the mover, if required. For the protection of your household goods, FMCSA also requires registered movers to have proof of cargo insurance.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities Before Selecting a Mover
Before moving your goods, movers are required to give you a pamphlet entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. It provides basic information that will help you understand the documents that the mover will ask you to sign. The pamphlet also explains your rights if your household goods are lost or damaged by the mover. A copy of that pamphlet can be downloaded from FMCSA’s Web site.
Use Only Registered Movers
Make sure the mover you select has been assigned a USDOT number, is licensed by FMCSA to engage in interstate transportation of household goods, and has proper insurance. You can determine if a mover is registered with FMCSA by accessing our licensing and insurance Web site at http://fmcsa-li.volpe.dot.gov, or call FMCSA at (202) 366-9805 for licensing and (202) 385-2423 for insurance. The best way to avoid problems is to be informed and plan ahead. REMEMBER DO NOT SIGN BLANK PAPERWORK OR DOCUMENTS YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND!
Read and Understand All Information Provided by the Mover
The mover should provide you with the following basic documents as part of your move:
The estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover.
Do not accept oral estimates.
Order For Service
The order for service is a list of all the services the carrier will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered.
Bill of Lading
The bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover and a receipt of your belongings. You should be given a completed copy of the bill of lading before your goods are loaded.
The inventory is the receipt showing each item you shipped and its condition. Be sure you receive a written copy of the inventory after your household goods are loaded, and that you agree with its description of your household goods’ condition.
What if There Is a Problem?
Dispute Settlement Program
Before moving your household goods, interstate movers are required to provide you with information regarding their dispute settlement program. Movers must offer a neutral arbitration program as a means of settling disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage of your household goods.
Loss or Damage of Goods
If your goods are damaged or missing at delivery, request a company claim form from the mover. Complete the claim form to the best of your ability. The mover will tell you where to mail the completed form. You must file a written claim with the mover within 9 months of delivery. Your claim must be in writing but does not have to be submitted on a mover’s claim form. It is suggested that you send the claims information to the mover by certified mail. If you are not satisfied with the settlement offer made by the mover, you have the option of submitting a loss and damage claim with the carrier’s dispute settlement program or of seeking other legal remedies.
Applicable Transportation Charges
The charges that a mover assesses for its services must be contained in a published tariff, which must be made available to you upon request. If you feel that a mover has overcharged you, you can contact the Surface Transportation Board at (866) 254-1792 to obtain assistance.
Filing a Complaint
FMCSA does not have authority to resolve claims against a moving company. However, you can file a complaint against the mover by calling FMCSA’s 24-hour toll-free hotline at (888) 368-7238, or by going to FMCSA’s Web site. Your complaint may trigger a Federal enforcement investigation against the mover.
Before the move
Useful Web Sites & Telephone Numbers
Publication No. FMCSA-ESA-03-005 U.S.
Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration June 2003
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