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Broker vs. Mover?

By • Jul 10th, 2012 • Category: Consumer Help, Department of Transportation (DOT), Protect Your Move

Stumbled across this valuable Broker vs. Mover? consumer information by accident while searching the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website trying to help an distraught visitor who feels her family is being ripped off by the move brokerage company they hired online. 

It's buried under the Are you Moving? button in the How to Protect Your Move section at the U.S. Department of Transportation's Protect Your Move web portal.

It's really too bad it's not more easily accessible.  Movers everywhere would be wise to either post the same useful FMCSA information or link to this site.




Broker vs. Mover?

When you're choosing a mover did you know that some companies are moving brokers?

What is a moving broker?

A moving broker is definitely not a mover. Brokers do not have the operational and logistic capabilities moving companies have. They do not have moving trucks, professional movers, proper moving equipment, and in a lot of cases not much moving experience. Moving brokers are sales teams that book your move and sell it to an actual moving company.

Sometimes the broker is not able to sell the job for various reasons – low estimates, availability, resources and the list goes on – in this case you can get stuck without a mover on the day of your move. Many moving brokers operate from call centers located anywhere in the country.

When you book your move make sure to ask the company to conduct the move whether they are an actual moving company or broker. For example, ABC Moving is a local moving company with an office (and supervisors) close to you that can assist with any problems or concerns that may arise during the moving process. To ensure this, confirm that the company uses their own crews and trucks to pick up your shipment.

New Information on Household Goods Brokers

A household goods broker arranges transportation by connecting people that need their shipment of household goods transported with movers that are capable and willing to transport their shipment for compensation. The broker does not operate the truck, or handle the shipment but does make all the arrangements for the truck and labor to load and unload the shipment. Brokers can provide estimates for service on behalf of motor carriers based on the rates in the motor carrier's tariff.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strengthened consumer protections when you utilize a broker to arrange for the transportation of your Household Goods. All household goods brokers must:

  1. Be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA);
  2. Provide you with the FMCSA "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" booklet and the "Ready to Move" brochure;
  3. Provide you with a list of the moving companies they use;
  4. Use only movers that are registered with FMCSA;
  5. Have a written agreement with movers they use;
  6. Base binding or non-binding estimates on the tariff of the mover that will transport your shipment;
  7. Reference in their advertisements their physical business location, MC number, and their status as a broker that does not transport household goods but arranges for this service; and
  8. Have the mover that is transporting your shipment perform a physical survey of your household goods if they are within a 50 mile radius of the mover or its agent's location, whichever is closer. It is your option to waive this requirement.

To check whether your broker or mover is registered with FMCSA and/or check its complaint history, go back to the home page on this website at

SOURCE: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Related Articles:

FMCSA closes loophole; tightens noose on rogue movers – RELO Roundtable

Feds crack down on more rogue movers and brokers – RELO Roundtable

Senate investigates household goods carriers and move brokers – RELO Roundtable


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