FMCSA fines NY household goods carrier $302,000

| 1/17/2003

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has assessed a civil penalty of $302,000 against a Brooklyn, NY, for-hire motor carrier that primarily hauls household goods from New York.

The investigation was conducted because of consumer complaints received by FMCSA. The agency's New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC, offices were involved in the investigation.

USA Van Lines Inc. was served with a “notice of claim” letter for violations of the regulations. FMCSA uses these claim letters to initiate enforcement action for federal rule violations. The carrier has operated in the past under previous names such as Piazza Van Lines, American Transfer and Storage and The Nice Movers.

USA Van was cited for multiple violations, including failing to publish rates; failing to participate in an arbitration program; failing to provide the required consumer information; and failing to relinquish possession of household goods shipments based on non-binding estimates after payment of 110 percent of the original estimate.

The company was also cited for failing to prepare an order for service or a bill of lading in the prescribed form and manner. Additional citations included using or publishing false, misleading or deceptive advertising; and operating a charge card plan without a tariff provision.

The motor carrier can contest the alleged violations and the amount of the penalties in an agency proceeding.