FMCSA issues moving checklist for consumersBy Eric Anders • May 24th, 2012 • Category: *RELOCATION NEWS UPDATES*, Department of Transportation (DOT), FMCSA, Protect Your Move
There is more to consider than just price! Don’t become a victim of moving fraud.
FMCSA Helps Consumers "Protect Your Move" with Moving Company Checklist that offers helpful tips during busiest moving season of the year
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the launch of a new "Consumer Checklist" to assist consumers in choosing a responsible interstate moving company. The free checklist, available on FMCSA's www.ProtectYourMove.gov website, will help consumers protect themselves from fraudulent or dishonest interstate household goods movers.
"Household goods are precious cargo for families across the country, representing so many important memories and milestones," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This new checklist will give consumers the tips they need to protect their move and make good decisions when selecting a moving company."
The checklist offers tips on the important steps consumers should take before hiring a moving company, including researching the interstate moving companies' consumer complaint history as well as the company's on-road safety performance records.
"Price isn't the only factor one should consider when hiring a moving company. After going through the checklist, consumers should feel confident they know how to locate a company that is reliable, safe and responsible," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.
During 2011, FMCSA received 2,851 consumer complaints about household goods movers, up from 2,440 in 2010. Among the most common complaints are shipments being held hostage; loss, damage or delay of shipments; unauthorized movers; and deceptive practices such as overcharges.
Nationwide, the cities where consumers filed the most complaints between October 2010 and September 2011 about interstate shipments that originated there were, in order, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, San Antonio, TX, Philadelphia and Phoenix.
By going to the Protect Your Move website, consumers can use a database to look up a company's complaint history and safety records to compare companies nationally. The website contains resources about consumer rights – and responsibilities – for individuals employing an interstate moving company. Additional material includes tips for spotting rogue movers, and information written in plain English outlining all federal regulations and policies that govern interstate moves.
More than 5662 household goods moving companies are registered with FMCSA. While the majority of movers are reputable, consumers need to be aware of how to avoid those who are not.
Consumers can report unsafe and poor performing moving companies by calling FMCSA's nationwide complaint hotline at 1-888-368-7238 (1-888 DOT-SAFT) or by visiting www.ProtectYourMove.gov.
To make the information even more effective for those just starting the vetting process, it would be helpful to modify the PDF with a link to the Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet.
That way visitors who download and save the Checklist can easily access the consumer protection information later on whatever digital device they use to retrieve the file. Same with a link to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and their national and international office resources
Since movers MUST offer a dispute settlement program as an alternative means of settling loss or damage claims, instruct checklist users to ask for the details on how to use it.
Consumers should also ask each company if they are a household goods carrier, move broker, or freight forwarder, and obtain their FMCSA USDOT, MC#, or FF authorization numbers before they request an estimate. To make consumer vetting even easier, embed the link to the FMCSA's HHG Carrier Search Program at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/hhg/search.asp
Explain that FMCSA's consumer protections regulations DO NOT APPLY to unregulated “moving service” or “moving container” transport providers. Although they're supposed to be licensed by the FMCSA, many 'virtual movers' indexed and advertised on popular reverse auction websites or community bulletin boards don't have the proper operating authority to move household goods and personal effects.
Before the driver starts his inventory, service-conscious consumers should always ask the carrier listed on the Bill of Lading how transit dates are calculated. There is a significant difference between business days and calendar days! Each consumer will have to figure out which is more valuable – their time or their money.
In addition to recommending that consumer adequately insure their belongings, embed a link to the Understanding Valuation and Insurance Options in the Checklist for easy referral.
Related FMCSA Resources:
Consumer Moving Checklist – U.S. Department of Transportation
Protect Yourself – FMCSA Video
Dear FMCSA, Thank You! Best Rgds ~ Consumers Worldwide – RELO Roundtable
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