The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently performed a nine-city compliance sweep for household goods moving companies, resulting in fines of $25,000 each for three such movers.
Thirty-seven FMCSA staffers and state investigators conducted compliance reviews of 67 moving companies as part of the agency’s year-round “Household Goods Strike Force” initiative. The initiative is designed to protect the public from fraudulent moving companies.
The investigation targeted high risk moving companies in Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona, New Orleans, Louisiana, Miami and Atlanta.
“We are committed to protecting the public from unscrupulous movers that attempt to operate unsafely,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, according to a news release. “We want these carriers to know that there are serious legal and financial consequences for evading federal regulations.”
The compliance reviews looked for regulatory violations such as “failing to relinquish possession of a household goods shipment (hostage load), collecting fees more than the original binding estimate, and failing to provide consumers with an arbitration process,” FMCSA said in the news release.
“FMCSA is committed to raising the bar for safety and closing cases on rogue household goods movers,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said. “We will do this by keeping the focus on safety and on improving service to the American public one safe and successful move at a time.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to publish a final rule titled “Consumer Complaint Information” by early 2012. The rulemaking would require each household goods motor carrier to submit a quarterly report with specific identified information for complaints it receives from shippers and consumers.
The requirement for a quarterly report was mandated by the 2005 Household Goods Mover Oversight Enforcement and Reform Act, approved as part of SAFETEA-LU.
In March, FMCSA announced that only household goods carriers and household goods freight forwarders need to have evidence of cargo insurance on file with FMCSA.
Consumers may report problems with moving companies by calling FMCSA’s complaint hotline at 888-368-7238, or by visiting http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov. More information is available at www.protectyourmove.gov/.