FMCSA fines four HHG motor carriers

| Thursday, October 25, 2001

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has fined four motor carriers hauling primarily household goods from New York, New Jersey, and Illinois for multiple violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.Consumer complaints prompted the investigations, which found companies holding household goods hostage, overcharging, failing to provide required consumer information, paperwork and tariff violations, among other things.

All Points USA Relocation Systems of Brooklyn, NY, was cited for failing to have its tariff (pricing rates) available for public inspection; failing to acknowledge receipt of loss and damage claims within 30 days of receipt; failing to provide the required consumer information, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move;" failing to weigh interstate household good shipments in the required form and manner; and requiring shippers to sign documents releasing the carrier from its liability. The company was fined $14,500.

AAA United States Moving Systems also of Brooklyn, was cited for failure to have a valid tariff, failing to retain copies of non-binding estimates in its files as addendum's to the bill of lading, failing to relinquish possession of shipments upon payment of the original non-binding estimated price plus 10 percent, failing to prepare bills of lading, failing to weigh interstate household goods shipments in the required manner, selling or procuring insurance without a tariff provision, and operating a charge card plan without a tariff provision. The company was fined $24,000.

Gibraltar Van Lines of Montclair, NJ, was cited for failing to charge its applicable tariff rate; failing to process loss and damage claims in the prescribed manner; failing to honor the 110 percent rule, whereby a mover may charge no more than 110 percent of the written estimate; failing to prepare bills of lading in the prescribed manner; failing to obtain weight tickets in the prescribed manner; and selling insurance without a valid tariff reference. The company was fined $5,000.

EZ Movers of Skokie, IL, was cited for failing to have a valid tariff, failing to participate in a dispute settlement program, failing to process loss and damage claims in the prescribed manner, operating a charge card plan without a tariff provision, failing to provide the required consumer information "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," failing to relinquish possession of shipments upon payment of the original non-binding estimated price plus 10 percent, and failing to prepare bills of lading in the prescribed manner. The company was fined $12,500.The motor carriers will have the opportunity to contest the alleged violations and the amount of the penalties in an agency proceeding.Consumers can file household goods or other commercial motor carrier complaints by calling 1-888-368-7238 (DOT-SAFT), or online at www.fmcsa.dot.gov. The form can be mailed or faxed to: FMCSA, 400 Seventh St., SW, MC-PA, Washington, DC 20590. The fax number is (202) 366-7298.

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