The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations protect consumers on interstate moves and define the rights and responsibilities of consumers and household goods carriers. The household goods carrier (mover) gave you this booklet to provide information about your rights and responsibilities as an individual shipper of household goods.
Your primary responsibility is to select a reputable household goods carrier, ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of the contract, and understand and pursue the remedies that are available to you in case problems arise. Talk to your mover if you have further questions. The mover will also furnish you with additional written information describing its procedure for handling your questions and complaints. The additional written information below is categorized into seven different sections. Feel free to click on any of the titles below to learn more about our moving guidelines.What Are the Most important Points I Should Remember?
- Movers must give written estimates.
- Movers may give binding estimates.
- Non-binding estimates are not always accurate; actual charges may exceed the estimate.
- If your mover provides you (or someone representing you) with any partially complete document for your signature, you should verify the document is as complete as possible before signing it. Make sure the document contains all relevant shipping information, except the actual shipment weight and any other information necessary to determine the final charges for all services performed.
- You may request from your mover the availability of guaranteed pickup and delivery dates.
- Be sure you understand the mover’s responsibility for loss or damage, and request an explanation of the difference between valuation and actual insurance.
- You have the right to be present each time your shipment is weighed.
- You may request a re-weigh of your shipment.
- If you agree to move under a non-binding estimate, you should confirm with your mover—in writing—the method of payment at delivery as cash, certified check, cashier’s check, money order, or credit card.
- Movers must offer a dispute settlement program as an alternative means of settling loss or damage claims. ASK YOUR MOVER FOR DETAILS.
- You should ask the person you speak to whether he or she works for the actual mover or a household goods broker must not represent itself as a mover. A household goods broker does not own trucks of its own. The broker is required to find an authorized mover to provide the transportation.You should know that a household goods broker generally has no authority to provide you an estimate on behalf of a specific mover. If a household goods broker provides you an estimate, it may not be binding on the actual mover and you may have to pay the actual charges the mover incurs. A household goods broker is not responsible for loss or damage.
- You may request complaint information about movers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under the Freedom of Information Act. You may be assessed a fee to obtain this information. See 49 CFR Part 7 for the schedule of fees.
- You should seek estimates from at least three different movers. You should not disclose any information to the different movers about their competitors, as it may affect the accuracy of their estimates.
If this pamphlet does not answer all of your questions about your move, do not hesitate to ask your mover’s representative who handled the arrangements for your move, the driver who transports your shipment, or the mover’s main office for additional information.
The primary responsibility for your protection lies with you in selecting a reputable household goods carrier, ensuring you understand the terms and conditions of your contract with your mover, and understanding and pursuing the remedies that are available to you in case problems arise.
Who must follow the regulations?
The regulations inform motor carriers engaged in the interstate transportation of household goods (movers) what standards they must follow when offering services to you. You, an individual shipper, are not directly subject to the regulations. However, your mover may be required by the regulations to force you to pay on time. The regulations only apply to your mover when the mover transports your household goods by motor vehicle in interstate commerce – that is, when you are moving from one State to another.
The regulations do not apply when your interstate move takes place within a single commercial zone. A commercial zone is roughly equivalent to the local metropolitan area of a city or town. For example, a move between Brooklyn, NY, and Hackensack, NJ, would be considered to be within the New York City commercial zone and would not be subject to these regulations. Commercial zones are defined in 49 CFR part 372.
What definitions are used?
Accessorial (Additional) Services
These are services such as packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, or piano stair carries that you request to be performed (or that are necessary because of landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
These are charges for services performed by someone other than the mover. A professional, craftsman, or other third party may perform these services at your request. The mover pays for these services and adds the charges to your bill of lading charges.
This is any communication to the public in connection with an offer or sale of any interstate household goods transportation service. This will include written or electronic database listings of your mover’s name, address, and telephone number in an on-line database. This excludes listings of your mover’s name, address, and telephone number in a telephone directory or similar publication. However, Yellow Pages advertising is included within the definition.
A local moving company authorized to act on behalf of a larger, national company.
Appliance Service by Third Party
The preparation of major electrical appliances to – The preparation of major electrical appliances to make them safe for shipment. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
Bill of Lading
The receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation.
The mover transporting your household goods.
Cash on Delivery (COD)
This means payment is required at the time of delivery at the destination residence (or warehouse).
Any scale designed for weighing motor vehicles, including trailers or semitrailers not attached to a tractor, and certified by an authorized scale inspection and licensing authority. A certified scale may also be a platform or warehouse type scale that is properly inspected and certified.
This is an agreement made in advance with your mover. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on the estimate.
This is what your mover believes the cost will be, based upon the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the mover. The final charges will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect.
This is an agreement with the mover to perform transportation by a set date in exchange for charges based upon a higher minimum weight.
A charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
Guaranteed Pick-up and Delivery Service
An additional level of service featuring guaranteed dates of service. Your mover will provide reimbursement to you for delays. This premium service is often subject to minimum weight requirements.
These are items included in a shipment valued at more than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram).
As used in connection with transportation, this means the personal effects or property used, or to be used, in a dwelling, when part of the equipment or supplies of the dwelling. Transportation of the household goods must be arranged and paid for by you or by another individual on your behalf. This may include items moving from a factory or store when you purchase them to use in your dwelling.
You must request that these items be transported, and you (or another individual on your behalf) must pay the transportation charges to the mover.
The detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.
Line Haul Charges
The charges for the vehicle transportation portion of your move. These charges, if separately stated, apply in addition to the accessorial service charges.
A charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover’s – A charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover’s vehicle and your residence. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges. MAY – An option. You or your mover may do something, but it is not a requirement. – An option. You or your mover may do something, but it is not a requirement.
A motor carrier engaged in the transportation of household goods and its household goods agents. MUST – A legal obligation. You or your mover must do something.
Order for Service
The document authorizing the mover to transport your household goods.
Order (bill of lading) Number
The number used to identify and track your shipment.
Peak Season Rates
Higher line haul charges applicable during the summer months.
Pick-up and Delivery Charges
Separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the storage-in-transit warehouse and your residence.
The performance of transportation on the dates, or during the period of time, agreed upon by you and your mover and shown on the Order for Service/Bill of Lading. For example, if your mover deliberately withholds any shipment from delivery after you offer to pay the binding estimate or 110 percent of a non-binding estimate, your mover has not transported the goods with reasonable dispatch.
The term ‘reasonable dispatch’ excludes transportation provided under your mover’s tariff provisions requiring guaranteed service dates. Your mover will have the defense of force majeure, i.e., that the contract cannot be performed owing to causes that are outside the control of the parties and that could not be avoided by exercise of due care.
A recommendation. We recommend you or your mover do something, but it is not a requirement.
The use of a smaller vehicle to provide service to residences not accessible to the mover’s normal line haul vehicles.
Storage in Transit (SIT)
The temporary warehouse storage of your shipment pending further transportation, with or without notification to you. If you (or someone representing you) cannot accept delivery on the agreed-upon date or within the agreed-upon time period (for example, because your home is not quite ready to occupy), your mover may place your shipment into SIT without notifying you.
In those circumstances, you will be responsible for the added charges for SIT service, as well as the warehouse handling and final delivery charges. However, your mover also may place your shipment into SIT if your mover was able to make delivery before the agreed-upon date (or before the first day of the agreed-upon delivery period), but you did not concur with early delivery. In those circumstances, your mover must notify you immediately of the SIT, and your mover is fully responsible for redelivery charges, handling charges, and storage charges.
Surface Transportation Board
An agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates household goods carrier tariffs, among other responsibilities. The Surface Transportation Board’s address is 1925 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20423-0001 Tele. 202-565-1674.
- First, an accurate description of the services the mover offers to the public.
- Second, the specific applicable rates (or the basis for calculating the specific applicable rates) and service terms for services offered to the public.
- Third, the movers’ tariff must be arranged in a way that allows you to determine the exact rate(s) and service terms applicable to your shipment.
The degree of worth of the shipment. The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than is provided for in its base transportation charges.
A charge may be applicable each time SIT service is provided. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges. This charge compensates the mover for the physical placement and removal of items within the warehouse.
WE, US, and OUR
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
YOU and YOUR
You are an individual shipper of household goods. You are a consignor or consignee of a household goods shipment and your mover identifies you as such in the bill of lading contract. You own the goods being transported and pay the transportation charges to the mover.
Where may other terms used in this pamphlet be defined?
You may find other terms used in this pamphlet defined in 49 U.S.C. 13102. The statute controls the definitions in this pamphlet. If terms are used in this pamphlet and the terms are defined neither here nor in 49 U.S.C. 13102, the terms will have the ordinary practical meaning of such terms.
What is my mover’s normal liability for loss or damage when my mover accepts goods from me?
In general, your mover is legally liable for loss or damage that occurs during performance of any transportation of household goods and of all related services identified on your mover’s lawful bill of lading. Your mover is liable for loss of, or damage to, any household goods to the extent provided in the current Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order. You may obtain a copy of the current Released Rates Order by contacting the Surface Transportation Board at the address provided under the definition of the Surface Transportation Board. The rate may be increased annually by your mover based on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Cost of Living Adjustment.
Your mover may have additional liability if your mover sells liability insurance to you. All moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the goods transported. However, there are different levels of liability, and you should be aware of the amount of protection provided and the charges for each option. Basically, most movers offer two different levels of liability (options 1 and two below) under the terms of their tariffs and the Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Orders. These orders govern the moving industry.
Option 1: Released Value
This is the most economical protection option available. This no-additional-cost option provides minimal protection. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound ($1.32 per kilogram), per article. Loss or damage claims are settled based upon the pound (kilogram) weight of the article multiplied by 60 cents per pound ($1.32 per kilogram).
For example, if your mover lost or destroyed a 10-pound (4.54-kilogram) stereo component valued at $1,000, your mover would be liable for no more than $6.00. Obviously, you should think carefully before agreeing to such an arrangement. There is no extra charge for this minimal protection, but you must sign a specific statement on the bill of lading agreeing to it.
Option 2: Full Value Protection (FVP)
Under this option, the mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods (as long as it doesn’t exceed the total declared value of the shipment). If you elect to purchase full value protection, and your mover loses, damages or destroys your articles, your mover must repair, replace with like items, or settle in cash at the current market replacement value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. The minimum declared value of a shipment under this option is $5,000 or $4.00 times the actual total weight (in pounds) of the shipment, whichever is greater.
For example, the minimum declared value for a 4,000-pound (1,814.4-kilogram) shipment would be $16,000. Your mover may offer you FVP with a $250 or $500 deductible, or with no deductible at all. The amount of the deductible will affect the cost of your FVP coverage The $4.00 per pound minimum valuation rate may be increased annually by your mover based on changes in the household furnishings element of the Consumer Price index established by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unless you specifically agree to other arrangements, the mover must assume liability for the entire shipment based upon this option.
The approximate cost for FVP is $8.50 for each $1,000 of declared value; however, it may vary by mover. In the example above, the valuation charge for a shipment valued at $16,000 would be $136.00. As noted above, this fee may be adjusted annually by your mover based on changes in the household furnishings element of the Consumer Price Index Under both of these liability options, movers are permitted to limit their liability for loss or damage to articles of extraordinary value, unless you specifically list these articles on the shipping documents. An article of extraordinary value is any item whose value exceeds $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram).
Ask your mover for a complete explanation of this limitation before your move. It is your responsibility to study this provision carefully and make the necessary declaration. These optional levels of liability are not insurance agreements governed by State insurance laws, but instead are authorized under Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to these options, some movers may also offer to sell, or procure for you, separate liability insurance from a third-party insurance company when you release your shipment for transportation at the minimum released value of 60 cents per pound ($1.32 per kilogram) per article (option 1). This is not valuation coverage governed by Federal law, but optional insurance regulated under State law.
If you purchase this separate coverage and your mover is responsible for loss or damage, the mover is liable only for an amount not exceeding 60 cents per pound ($1.32 per kilogram) per article, and the balance of the loss is recoverable from the insurance company up to the amount of insurance purchased. The mover’s representative can advise you of the availability of such liability insurance, and the cost. If you purchase liability insurance from or through your mover, the mover is required to issue a policy or other written record of the purchase and to provide you with a copy of the policy or other document at the time of purchase. If the mover fails to comply with this requirement, the mover becomes fully liable for any claim for loss or damage attributed to its negligence.
What actions by me limit or reduce my mover’s normal liability?
- You include perishable, dangerous, or hazardous materials in your household goods without your mover’s knowledge.
- You choose liability option I but ship household goods valued at more than 60 cents per pound ($1.32 per kilogram) per article.
- You fail to notify your mover in writing of articles valued at more than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram). (If you do notify your mover, you will be entitled to full recovery up to the declared value of the article or articles, not to exceed the declared value of the entire shipment.)
What are dangerous or hazardous materials that may limit or reduce my mover’s normal liability?
Federal law forbids you to ship hazardous materials in your household goods boxes or luggage without informing your mover. A violation can result in five years’ imprisonment and penalties of $250,000 or more (49 U.S.C. 5124). You could also lose or damage your household goods by fire, explosion, or contamination. If you offer hazardous materials to your mover, you are considered a hazardous materials shipper and must comply with the hazardous materials requirements in 49 CFR parts 171, 172, and 173, including but not limited to package labeling and marking, shipping papers, and emergency response information.
Your mover must comply with 49 CFR parts 171, 172, 173, and 177 as a hazardous materials carrier. Hazardous materials include explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives, and radioactive materials.
Examples: Nail polish remover, paints, paint thinners, lighter fluid, gasoline, fireworks, oxygen bottles, propane cylinders, automotive repair and maintenance chemicals, and radio-pharmaceuticals. There are special exceptions for small quantities (up to 70 ounces total) of medicinal and toilet articles carried in your household goods and certain smoking materials carried on your person. For further information, contact your mover.
May my mover have agents?
Yes, your mover may have agents. If your mover has agents, your mover must have written agreements with its prime agents. Your mover and its retained prime agent must sign their agreements. Copies of your mover’s prime agent agreements must be in your mover’s files for a period of at least 24 months following the date of termination of each agreement.
What items must be in my mover’s advertisements?
- Name or trade name of the mover under whose USDOT number the advertised service originates.
- USDOT number, assigned by FMCSA, authorizing your mover to operate. Your mover must display the information as: USDOT Number (assigned number).
You should compare the name or trade name of the mover and its USDOT number to the name and USDOT number on the sides of the truck(s) that arrive at your residence. The names and numbers should be identical. If the names and numbers are not identical, you should ask your mover immediately why they are not.
You should not allow the mover to load your household goods on its truck(s) until you obtain a satisfactory response from the mover’s local agent. The discrepancies may warn of problems you will have later in your business dealings with this mover.
How must my mover handle complaints and inquiries?
All movers are expected to respond promptly to complaints or inquiries from you, the customer. Should you have a complaint or question about your move, you should first attempt to obtain a satisfactory response from the mover’s local agent, the sales representative who handled the arrangements for your move, or the driver assigned to your shipment.
If for any reason you are unable to obtain a satisfactory response from one of these persons, you should then contact the mover’s principal office. When you make such a call, be sure to have available your copies of all documents relating to your move. Particularly important is the number assigned to your shipment by your mover.
Interstate movers are also required to offer neutral arbitration as a means of resolving consumer loss or damage disputes involving loss of or damage to household goods. Your mover is required to provide you with information regarding its arbitration program.
You have the right to pursue court action under 49 U.S.C. 14706 to seek judicial redress directly rather than participate in your mover’s arbitration program. All interstate moving companies are required to maintain a complaint and inquiry procedure to assist their customers.
- A communications system allowing you to communicate with your mover’s principal place of business by telephone
- A telephone number
- A clear and concise statement about who must pay for complaint and inquiry telephone calls
- A written or electronic record system for recording all inquiries and complaints received from you by any means of communication. Your mover must give you a clear and concise written description of its procedure. You may want to be certain that the system is in place.
Do I have the right to inspect my mover’s tariffs (schedules of charges) applicable to my move?
Federal law requires your mover to advise you of your right to inspect your mover’s tariffs (its schedules of rates or charges) governing your shipment. Movers’ tariffs are made a part of the contract of carriage (bill of lading) between you and the mover. You may inspect the tariff at the mover’s facility, or, upon request, the mover will furnish you a free copy of any tariff provision containing the mover’s rates, rules, or charges governing your shipment.
Tariffs may include provisions limiting the mover’s liability. This would generally be described in a section on declaring value on the bill of lading. A second tariff provision may set the periods for filing claims. This would generally be described in Section 6 on the reverse side of a bill of lading. A third tariff provision may reserve your mover’s right to assess additional charges for additional services performed.
For non-binding estimates, another tariff provision may base charges upon the exact weight of the goods transported. Your movers’ tariff may contain other provisions that apply to your move. Ask your mover what they might be, and request a copy.
Must my mover have an arbitration program?
- The arbitration program offered to you must prevent your mover from having any special advantage because you live or work in a place distant from the mover’s principal or other place of business.
- Before your household goods are tendered for transport, your mover must provide notice to you of the availability of neutral arbitration, including the following three things:
- A summary of the arbitration procedure.
- Any applicable costs.
- A disclosure of the legal effects of electing to use arbitration.
- Upon your request, your mover must provide information and forms it considers necessary for initiating an action to resolve a dispute under arbitration.
- Each person authorized to arbitrate must be independent of the parties to the dispute and capable of resolving such disputes fairly and expeditiously. Your mover must ensure the arbitrator is authorized and able to obtain from you or your mover any material or relevant information to carry out a fair and expeditious decision-making process.
- You must not be required to pay more than one-half of the arbitration’s cost. The arbitrator may determine the percentage of payment of the costs for each party in the arbitration decision, but must not make you pay more than half.
- Your mover must not require you to agree to use arbitration before a dispute arises.
- You will be bound by arbitration for claims of $5,000 or less if you request arbitration.
- You will be bound by arbitration for claims of more than $5,000 only if you request arbitration and your mover agrees to it.
- If you and your mover both agree, the arbitrator may provide for an oral presentation of a dispute by a party or representative of a party.
- The arbitrator must render a decision within 60 days of receipt of written notification of the dispute, and a decision by an arbitrator may include any remedies appropriate under the circumstances.
- The 60-day period may be extended for a reasonable period if you fail, or your mover fails, to provide information in a timely manner. Your mover must produce and distribute a concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of its arbitration program.
Must my mover inform me about my rights and responsibilities under Federal law?
Yes, your mover must inform you about your rights and responsibilities under Federal law. Your mover must produce and distribute this document. It should be in the general order and contain the text of appendix A to 49 CFR Part 375.
What other information must my mover provide me?
- The contents of appendix A, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” pamphlet.
- A concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your mover’s arbitration program.
- A notice of availability of the applicable sections of your mover’s tariff for the estimate of charges, including an explanation that you may examine the tariff sections or have copies sent to you upon request.
- A concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your mover’s customer complaint and inquiry handling procedures. Included in this summary must be the following two items:
- The main telephone number you may use to communicate with your mover.
- A clear and concise statement concerning who must pay for telephone calls.
- Your mover may, at its discretion, provide additional information to you.
How must my mover collect charges?
Your mover must issue you an honest, truthful freight or expense bill for each shipment transported.
- Name of the consignor
- Name of the consignees
- Date of the shipment
- Origin point
- Destination points
- Number of packages
- Description of the freight
- Weight of the freight (if applicable to the rating of the freight)
- The volume of the freight (if applicable to the rating of the freight)
- The measurement of the freight (if applicable to the rating of the freight)
- Exact rate(s) assessed
- Disclosure of the actual rates, charges, and allowances for the transportation service, when your mover electronically presents or transmits freight or expense bills to you. These rates must be in accordance with the mover’s applicable tariff.
- An indication of whether adjustments may apply to the bill
- Total charges due and acceptable methods of payment
- The nature and amount of any special service charges
- The points where special services were rendered
- Route of movement and name of each mover participating in the transportation
- Transfer points where shipments moved
- Address where you must pay or address of bill issuer’s principal place of business.
Your mover must present its freight or expense bill to you within 15 days of the date of delivery of a shipment at its destination. The computation of time excludes Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. (Bills for additional services, requested or found necessary after the shipment is in transit, will be presented 30 days after delivery.)
If your mover lacks sufficient information to compute its charges, your mover must present its freight bill for payment within 15 days of the date when sufficient information does become available.
May my mover collect charges upon delivery?
Yes. Your mover must specify the form of payment acceptable at delivery when the mover prepares an estimate and order for service. The mover and its agents must honor the form of payment at delivery, except when you mutually agree to a change in writing. The mover must also specify the same form of payment when it prepares your bill of lading, unless you agree to a change.
May my mover accept charge or credit cards for my payments?
You must be prepared to pay 10 percent more than the estimated amount, if your goods are moving under a non-binding estimate. Every collect-on-delivery shipper estimate. Your mover may not collect more than 110 percent of the amount of this estimate at destination.
Your mover may believe additional services are necessary to property service your shipment after your household goods are in transit. Your mover must inform you what the additional services are before performing them.
Your mover must allow you at least one hour to determine whether you want the additional services performed. Such additional services include carrying your furniture up additional stairs or using an elevator. If these services do not appear on your mover’s estimate, your mover must deliver your shipment and bill you later for the additional services.
If you agree to pay for the additional services, your mover must execute a written attachment to be made an integral part of the bill of lading and have you sign the written attachment. This may be done through fax transmissions. You will be billed for the additional services after 30 days from delivery.
If you add additional services after your household goods are in transit, you will be billed for the additional services. To receive delivery, however, you are required to pay no more than 110 percent of the non-binding estimate. Thirty days after delivery, your mover must bill you for any remaining balance. For example, if your non-binding estimate shows total charges at delivery should be $1,000 but your actual charges at destination are $1,500, your mover must deliver the shipment upon payment of $1,100.
The mover must bill you for the remaining $400 after 30 days from delivery. If your mover furnishes a non-binding estimate, your mover must enter the estimated charges upon the order for service and upon the bill of lading. Your mover must retain a record of all estimates of charges for each move performed for at least one year from the date your mover made the estimate.
What payment arrangements must my mover have in place to secure delivery of my household goods shipment?
If your total bill is 110 percent or less of the non-binding estimate, the mover can require payment in full upon delivery. If the bill exceeds 110 percent of the non-binding estimate, your mover must relinquish possession of the shipment at the time of delivery upon payment of 110 percent of the estimated amount.
Your mover should have specified its acceptable form of payment on the estimate, order for service and bill of lading. Your mover’s failure to relinquish possession of a shipment after you offer to pay 110 percent of the estimated charges constitutes its failure to transport the shipment with “reasonable dispatch’ and subjects your mover to your cargo delay claims under 49 CFR Part 370.
Your mover must bill for the payment of the balance of any remaining charges after 30 days from delivery.
Must my mover write up an order for service?
We require your mover to prepare an order for service on every shipment transported for you. You are entitled to a copy of the order for service when your mover prepares it. The order for service is not a contract. Should you cancel or delay your move or if you decide not to use the mover, you should promptly cancel the order. If you or your mover change any agreed-upon dates for pickup or delivery of your shipment, or agree to any change in the non-binding estimate, your mover may prepare a written change to the order for service. The written grange must be attached to the order for service.
- Your mover’s name and address and the USDOT number assigned to your mover.
- Your name, address and, if available, telephone number(s).
- The name, address, and telephone number of the delivering mover’s office or agent at or nearest to the destination of your shipment.
- A telephone number where you may contact your mover or its designated agent.
- One of the following three dates and times:
- The agreed-lepton pickup date and agreed delivery date of your move.
- The agreed-upon period(s) of the entire move.
- If your mover is transporting the shipment on a guaranteed service basis, the guaranteed does or periods of time for pickup, transportation, and delivery. Your mover must enter any penalty or per diem requirements upon the agreement under this item.
- The names and addresses of any other motor carriers, when known, that will participate in interline transportation of the shipment.
- The form of payment your mover will honor at delivery. The payment information must be the same as was entered on the estimate.
- The terms and conditions for payment of the total charges, including notice of any minimum charges.
- The maximum amount your mover will demand at the time of delivery to obtain possession of the shipment when transported on a collect-on-delivery basis.
- If not provided in the big of lading, the Surface Transportation Board’s required released rates valuation statement, and the charges, if any, for optional valuation coverage. The STB’s required released rates may be increased annually by your mover based on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Cost of Living Adjustment.
- A complete description of any special or accessorial services ordered and minimum weight or volume charges applicable to the shipment.
- Any identification or registration number your mover assigns to the shipment.
- For non-binding estimated charges, your mover’s reasonably accurate estimate of the amount of the charges, the method of payment of total charges, and the maximum amount (110 percent of the non-binding estimate) your mover will demand at the time of delivery for you to obtain possession of the shipment.
- For binding estimated charges, the amount of charges your mover will demand based upon the binding estimate and the terms of payment under the estimate.
- An Indication of whether you request notification of the charges before delivery. You must provide your mover with the telephone number(s) or address(es) where your mover will transmit such communications. You and your mover must sign the order for service.
Your mover must provide a dated copy of the order for service to you at the time your mover signs the order. Your mover must provide you the Opportunity to rescind the order for service without any penalty for a three-day period after you sign the order for service, if you scheduled the shipment to be loaded more than three days after you sign the order. Your mover should provide you with documents that are as complete as possible, and with all charges clearly identified.
However, as a practical matter, your mover usually cannot give you a complete big of lading before transporting your goods. This is both because the shipment cannot be weighed until it is in transit and because other charges for service, such as unpacking, storage in transit, and various destination charges, cannot be determined until the shipment reaches its destination. Therefore, your mover can require you to sign a partially complete bill of lading if it contains all relevant information except the actual shipment weight and any other information necessary to determine the final charges for all services provided. Signing the bill of lading allows you to choose the valuation onion, request special services, and/or acknowledge the terms and conditions of released valuation. Your mover also may provide you, strictly for informational purposes, with blank or incomplete documents pertaining to the move. Before loading your shipment, and upon mutual agreement of both you and your mover, your mover may amend an order for service.
Your mover must retain records of an order for service if transported for at least one year from the date your mover wrote the order.
Your mover must inform you, before or at the time of loading, if the mover reasonably expects a special o accessorial service is necessary to transport a shipment safely.
Your mover must refuse to accept the shipment when your mover reasonably expects a special or accessorial service is necessary to transport a shipment safely, but you refuse to purchase the special or accessorial service.
Your mover must make a written note if you refuse any special or accessorial services that your mover reasonably expects to be necessary.
Must my mover write up an inventory of the shipment?
Yes. Your mover must prepare an inventory of your shipment before or at the time of loading. If your mover’s driver fails to prepare an inventory, you should write a detailed inventory of your shipment listing any damage or unusual wear to any items. The purpose is to make a record of the existence and condition of each item. After completing the inventory, you should sign each page and ask the mover’s driver to sign each page. Before you sign it, it is important you snake sure that the inventory lists every item in the shipment and that the entries regarding the condition of each item are correct
You have the right to note any disagreement. If an item is missing or damaged when your mover delivers the shipment, your subsequent ability to dispute the items lost or damaged may depend upon your notations. You should retain a copy of the inventory. Your mover may keep the original if the driver prepared it. If your mover’s driver completed an inventory, the mover must attach the complete inventory to the bill of lading as an integral part of the bill of lading.
Must my mover write up a bill of lading?
The bill of lading is the contract between you and the mover. The mover is required by law to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment it transports. The information on a bill of lading is required to be the same information shown on the order for service. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy of the bill of lading before or at the time of loading your furniture and other household goods.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO READ THE BILL OF LADING BEFORE YOU ACCEPT IT. It is your responsibility to understand the bill of lading before you sign it. If you do not agree with something on the bill of lading, do not sign it until you are satisfied it is correct. The bill of lading requires the mover to provide the service you have requested. You must pay the charges set forth in the bill of lading.
- Your mover’s name and address, or the name and address of the motor carrier issuing the bill of lading.
- The names and addresses of any other motor carriers, when known, who will participate in the transportation of the shipment.
- The name, address, and telephone number of the office of the motor carrier you must contact in relation to the transportation of the shipment. The form of payment your mover will honor at delivery. The payment information must be the same that was entered on the estimate and order for service.
- When your mover transports your shipment under a collect-on-delivery basis, your name, address, and telephone number where the mover will notify you about the charges.
- For non-guaranteed service, the agreed-upon date or period of time for pickup of the shipment and the agreed-upon date or period of time for the delivery of the shipment.
- The agreed-upon dates or periods for pickup and delivery entered upon the bill of lading must conform to the agreed-upon dates or periods of time for pickup and delivery entered upon the order for service or a proper amendment to the order for service.
- For guaranteed service, the dates for pickup and delivery and any penalty or per diem entitlements due you under the agreement.
- The actual date of pickup.
- The identification number(s) of the vehicle(s) in which your mover loads your shipment.
- The terms and conditions for payment of the total charges including notice of any minimum charges.
- The maximum amount your mover will demand from you at the time of delivery for you to obtain possession of your shipment, when your mover transports under a collect-on-deliver basis.
- If not provided in the order for service, the Surface Transportation Board’s required released rates valuation statement, and the charges, it any, for optional valuation coverage The Board’s required released rates may be increased annually by your mover based on the U S. Department of Commerce’s Cost of Living Adjustment
- Evidence of any insurance coverage sold to or procured for you from an independent insurer, including the amount of the premium for such insurance.
- Each attachment to the bill of lading. Each attachment is an integral part of the bill of lading contract. If not provided to you elsewhere by the mover, the following three items must be added as attachments:
- The binding or non-binding estimate.
- The order for service.
- The inventory.
A copy of the bill of lading must accompany your shipment at all times white in the possession of your mover or its agent(s). When your mover loads the shipment on a vehicle for transportation, the bill of lading must be in the possession of the driver responsible for the shipment. Your mover must retain bills of lading for shipments it transported for at least one year from the date your mover created the bill of lading.
Should I reach an agreement with my mover about pickup and delivery times?
You and your mover should reach an agreement for pickup and delivery times. It is your responsibility to determine on what date, or between what dates, you need to have the shipment picked up and on what date, or between what dates, you require delivery.
It is your mover’s responsibility to tell you if it can provide service on or between those dates, or, if not, on what other dates it can provide the service. In the process of reaching an agreement with your mover, you may find it necessary to alter your moving and travel plans if no mover can provide service on the specific dates you desire.
Do not agree to have your shipment picked up or delivered ‘as soon as possible.’ The dates or periods you and your mover agree upon should be definite. Once an agreement is reached, your mover must enter those dates upon the order for service and the bill of lading. Once your goods are loaded, your mover is contractually bound to provide the service described in the bill of lading.
Your mover’s only defense for not providing the service on the dates called for is the defense of force majeure. This is a legal term. It means that when circumstances change, were not foreseen, and are beyond the control of your mover, preventing your mover from performing the service agreed to in the bill of lading, your mover is not responsible for damages resulting from its nonperformance. This may occur when you do not inform your mover of the exact delivery requirements. For example, because of restrictions trucks must follow at your new location, the mover may not be able to take its truck down the street of your residence and may need to shuttle the shipment in another type of vehicle.
Must my mover determine the weight of my shipment?
Generally, yes. If your mover transports your household goods on a non-binding estimate under the mover’s tariffs based upon weight, your mover must determine the weight of the shipment. If your mover provided a binding estimate and has loaded your shipment without claiming you have added additional items or services, the weight of the shipment will not affect the charges you will pay. If your mover is transporting your shipment based upon the volume of the shipment – that is, a set number of cubic feet (or yards or meters) – the weight of the shipment likewise will not affect the charges you will pay. Your mover must determine the weight of your shipment before requesting you to pay for any charges dependent upon your shipment’s weight. Most movers have a minimum weight or volume charge for transporting a shipment. Generally, the minimum is the charge for transporting a shipment of at least 3.000 pounds (1.362 kilograms). If your shipment appears to weigh Less than the mover’s minimum weight, your mover must advise you on the order for service of the minimum cost before transporting your shipment Should your mover fail to advise you of the minimum charges and your shipment is less than the minimum weight, your mover must base your final charges upon the actual weight, not upon the minimum weight.
How must my mover determine the weight of my shipment?
- Origin Weighing
Your mover may weigh your shipment in the city or area where it loads your shipment. If it elects this option, the driver must weigh the truck before coming to your residence. This is called the TARE WEIGHT. At the time of this first weighing, the truck may already be partially loaded with another shipment(s). This will not affect the weight of your shipment. The truck should also contain the pads, dollies, hand trucks, ramps, other mid equipment normally used in the transportation of household goods shipments.After loading, the driver will weigh the truck again to obtain the Loaded weight, called the GROSS WEIGHT The net weight of your shipment is then obtained by subtracting the tare weight Wore loading from the gross weight GROSS WEIGHT – TARE WEIGHT BEFORE LOADING = NET WEIGHT
- Destination Weighing (Also called ‘back weighing)
The mover is also permitted to determine the weight of your shipment at the destination after it delivers your load. Weighing your shipment at destination instead of at origin will not affect the accuracy of the shipment weight THE MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE IS THAT YOUR MOVER WILL NOT DETERMINE THE EXACT CHARGES ON YOUR SHIPMENT BEFORE IT IS UNLOADED.Destination weighing is done in reverse of origin weighing. After arriving in the city or area where you are moving, the driver will weigh the truck. Your shipment will still be on the truck. Your mover will determine the GROSS WEIGHT before coming to your new residence to unload. After unloading your shipment, the driver will again weigh the truck to obtain the TARE WEIGHT. The net weight of your shipment will then be obtained by subtracting the tare weight after delivery from the gross weight. GROSS WEIGHT – TARE WEIGHT AFTER DELIVERY = NET WEIGHT
At the time of both weighings, your mover’s truck must have installed or loaded all pads, dollies, hand trucks, ramps, and other equipment required in the transportation of your shipment. The driver and other persons must be off the vehicle at the time of both weighings. The fuel tanks on the vehicle must be full at the time of each weighing. In lieu of this requirement, your mover must not add fuel between the two weighings when the tare weighing is the first weighing performed.
Your mover may detach the trailer of a tractor-trailer vehicle combination from the tractor and have the trailer weighed separately at each weighing provided the length of the scale platform is adequate to accommodate and support the entire trams. Your mover may use an alternative method to weigh your shipment if it weighs 3,000 pounds (1,362 kilograms) or less. The only alternative method allowed is weighing the shipment upon a platform or warehouse certified scale before loading your shipment for transportation or after unloading.
Your mover must use the net weight of shipments transported in large containers, such as ocean or railroad containers. Your mover will calculate the difference between the tare weight of the container (including aft pads, blocking aril bracing used in the transportation of your shipment) and the gross weight of the container with your shipment loaded in the container. You have the right, and your mover must inform you of your right, to observe all weighings of your shipment
Your mover must tell you where and when each weighing will occur. Your mover must give you a reasonable opportunity to be present to observe the weighings. You may waive your right to observe any weighing or re-weighing. This does rat affect any of your other rights under Federal law. Your mover may request you waive your right to have a shipment weighed upon a certified scale.
Your mover may want to weigh the shipment upon a trailer’s on-board, noncertified scale. You should demand your right to have a certified scale used. The use of a noncertified scale may cause you to pay a higher final bill for your move, if the noncertified scale does not accurately weigh your shipment.
- The complete name and location of the scale
- The date of each weighing.
- Identification of the weight entries as being the tare, gross, or net weights.
- The company or mover identification of the vehicle
- Your last name as it appears on the Bill of Lading.
- Your mover’s shipment registration or Bill of Lading number.
Your mover must retain the original weight ticket or tickets relating to the determination of the weight of your shipment as part of its file on your shipment. When both weighings are performed on the same scale, one weight ticket may be used to record both weighings. Your mover must present all freight bills with true copies of all weight tickets. If your mover does not present its freight bill with all weight tickets, your mover is in violation of Federal law.
Before the driver actually begins unloading your shipment weighed at origin and after your mover informs you of the billing weight and total charges, you have the right to demand a re-weigh of your shipment. If you believe the weight is not accurate, you have the right to request your mover re-weigh your shipment before unloading. You have the right and your mover must inform you of your right, to observe aft re-weighings of your shipment. Your mover must tell you where and when each re-weighing will occur.
Your mover must give you a reasonable opportunity to be present to observe the re-weighings. You may waive your right to observe any re-weighing; however, you must waive that right in writing. You may send the written waiver via fax or e-mail, as well as by overnight courier or certified mail, return receipt requested. This does not affect any of your other rights under Federal law.
- Count the number of items in your shipment. Usually there will be either 30 or 40 items fisted on each page of the inventory. For example. If there are 30 items per page and your inventory consists of four complete pages and a fifth page with 15 items listed, the total number of items will be 135. If an automobile is listed on the inventory, do not include this item in the count of the total items.
- Subtract the weight of any automobile included in your shipment from the total weight of the shipment. If the automobile was not weighed separately, its weight can be found on its title or license receipt.
- Divide the number of items in your shipment into the weight. If the average weight resulting from this exercise ranges between 35 and 45 pounds (16 and 20 kilograms) per article. It is unlikely a re-weigh will prove beneficial to you. In fact, it could result in your paying higher charges. Experience has shown that the average shipment of household goods will weigh about 40 pounds (18 kilograms) per item. If a shipment contains a large number of heavy items, such as cartons of books, boxes of tools or heavier than average furniture. The average weight per item may be 45 pounds or more (20 kilograms or more).
What must my mover do if I want to know the actual weight or charges for my shipment before delivery?
If you request notification of the actual weight or volume and charges upon your shipment, your mover must comply with your request if it is moving your goods on a collect-on-delivery basis. This requirement is conditioned upon your supplying your mover with an address or telephone number where you will receive the communication.
- Back weigh (when your mover weighs your shipment at its destination).
- Pickup and delivery encompassing two consecutive weekdays, if you agree.
- Maximum payment amounts at time of delivery of 110 percent of the estimated changes, if you agree.
Must my mover transport the shipment in a timely manner?
Yes, your mover must transport your household goods in a timely manner. This is also known as `reasonable dispatch service.* Your mover must provide reasonable dispatch service to you, except for transportation on the basis of guaranteed delivery dates.
When your mover is unable to perform either the pickup or delivery of your shipment on the dates or during the periods of time specified in the order for service, your mover must notify you of the delay, at the mover’s expense. As soon as the delay becomes apparent to your mover, it must give you notification it will be unable to provide the service specified in the terms of the order for service.
Your mover may notify you of the delay in any of the following ways: by telephone; fax transmissions, e-mail; overnight courier- certified mail, return receipt requested; or in person. When your mover notifies you of a delay, it also must advise you of the dates or periods of time it may be able to pick up and/or deliver the shipment.
Your mover must consider your needs in its advisement. Your mover must prepare a written record of the date, time, and manner of its notification. Your mover must prepare a written record of its amended date or period for delivery. Your mover must retain these records as a part of its file on first class mail or in person, if you request a copy of the notice.
Your mover must tender your shipment for delivery on the agreed-upon delivery date or within the period specified on the bill of lading. Upon your request or concurrence, your mover may deliver your shipment on another day. The establishment of a delayed pickup or delivery date does not relieve your mover from liability for damages resulting from your mover’s failure to provide service as agreed. However, when your mover notifies you of alternate delivery dates, it is your responsibility to be available to accept delivery on the dates specified.
If you are not available and are not willing to accept delivery, your mover has the right to place your shipment in storage at your expense or hold the shipment on its truck and assess additional charges. If after the pickup of your shipment, you request your mover to change the delivery date, most movers will agree to do so provided your request will not result in unreasonable delay to its equipment or interfere with another customer’s move. However, your mover is under no obligation to consent to amended delivery dates.
Your mover has the right to place your shipment in storage at your expense if you are unwilling or unable to accept delivery on the date agreed to in the bill of lading. If your mover fails to pick up and deliver your shipment on the date entered on the bill of lading and you have expenses you otherwise would not have had, you may be able to recover those expenses from your mover. This is what is called an inconvenience or delay claim.
Should your mover refuse to honor such a claim and you continue to believe you are entitled to be paid damages, you may take your mover to court under 49 U.S.G. 14706. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has no authority to order your mover to pay such claims. While we hope your mover delivers your shipment in a timely manner, you should consider the possibility your shipment may be delayed, and find out what payment you can expect if a mover delays service through its own fault, before you agree with the mover to transport your shipment.
What must my mover do if it is able to deliver my shipment more than 24 hours before I am able to accept delivery?
At your mover’s discretion, it may place your shipment in storage. This will be under its own account and at its own expense in a warehouse located in proximity to the destination of your shipment. Your mover may do this if you fail to request or concur with an early delivery date, and your mover is able to deliver your shipment more than 24 hours before your specified date or the first day of your specified period. If your mover exercises this option, your mover must immediately notify you of the name and address of the warehouse where your mover places your shipment.
Your mover must make and keep a record of its notification as a part of its shipment records. Your mover has full responsibility for the shipment under the terms and conditions of the bill of lading. Your mover is responsible for the charges for redelivery, handling, and storage until it makes final delivery. Your mover may limit its responsibility to the agreed-upon delivery date or the first day of the period of delivery as specified in the bill of lading.
What must my mover do for me when I store household goods in transit?
- The date when storage-in-transit will convert to permanent storage.
- The existence of a nine-month period after the date of conversion to permanent storage, during which you may file claims against your mover for loss or damage occurring to your goods while in transit or during the storage-in-transit period.
- Your mover’s liability will end.
- Your property will be subject to the rules, regulations, and charges of the warehouseman.
- The specified period of time when your mover is to hold your goods in storage.
- The maximum period of time provided in its tariff for storage-in-transit.
Your mover must notify you by facsimile transmission; overnight courier; e-mail; or certified mail, return receipt requested. If your mover holds your household goods in storage-in-transit for less than 10 days, your mover must notify you, one day before the storage-in-transit period expires of the same information specified above. Your mover must maintain a record of all notifications to you as part of the records of your shipment. Under the applicable tariff provisions regarding storage-in-transit, your mover’s failure or refusal to notify you will automatically extend your mover’s liability until the end of the day following the date when your mover actually gives you notice.
May my mover ask me to sign a delivery receipt purporting to release it from liability?
At the time of delivery, your mover will expect you to sign a receipt for your shipment. Normally, you will sign each page of your mover’s copy of the inventory. Your mover’s delivery receipt or shipping document must not contain any language purporting to release or discharge it or its agents from liability. Your mover may include a statement about your receipt of your property in apparent good condition, except as noted on the shipping documents.
DO NOT SIGN the delivery receipt if it contains any language purporting to release or discharge your mover or its agents from liability. Strike out such language before signing, or refuse delivery if the driver or mover refuses to provide a proper delivery receipt.
What is the maximum collect-on-delivery amount my mover may demand I pay at the time of delivery?
On a binding estimate, the maximum amount is the exact estimate of the charges. Your mover must specify on the estimate, order for service, and bill of lading the form of payment acceptable to it (for example, a certified check). On a non-binding estimate, the maximum amount is 110 percent of the approximate costs. Your mover must specify on the estimate, order for service, and bill of lading the form of payment acceptable to it (for example, cash).
If my shipment is transported on more than one vehicle, what charges may my mover collect at delivery?
Although all movers try to move each shipment on one truck, it becomes necessary at times to divide a shipment among two or more trucks. This frequently occurs when an automobile is included in the shipment and it is transported on a vehicle specially designed to transport automobiles. When this occurs, your transportation charges are the same as if the entire shipment moved on one truck.
If your shipment is divided for transportation on two or more trucks, the mover may require payment for each portion as it is delivered. Your mover may delay the collection of all the charges until the entire shipment is delivered, at its discretion, not yours. When you order your move, you should ask the mover about its policies in this regard.
It my shipment is partially lost or destroyed, what charges may my mover collect at delivery?
Movers customarily make every effort to avoid losing, damaging, or destroying any of your items while your shipment is in their possession for transportation. However, despite the precautions taken, articles are sometimes lost or destroyed during the move. In addition to any money you may recover from your mover to compensate for lost or destroyed articles, you may also recover the transportation charges represented by the portion of the shipment lost or destroyed. Your mover may only apply this paragraph to the transportation of household goods.
Your mover may disregard this paragraph if loss or destruction was due to an act or omission by you. Your mover must require you to pay any specific valuation charge due. For example, if you pack a hazardous material (i.e., gasoline, aerosol cans, motor oil, etc.) and your shipment is partially lost or destroyed by fire in storage or in the mover’s trailer, your mover may require you to pay for the full cost of transportation.
Your mover may first collect its freight charges for the entire shipment, if your mover chooses. At the time your mover disposes of claims for loss, damage, or injury to the articles in your shipment, it must refund the portion of its freight charges corresponding to the portion of the lost or destroyed shipment (including any charges for accessorial or terminal services). Your mover is forbidden from collecting, or requiring you to pay, any freight charges (including any charges for accessorial or terminal services) when your household goods shipment is totally lost or destroyed in transit, unless the toss or destruction was due to an act or omission by you.
A NOTE from A.M. P.M. Movers: It is important that you understand these moving guidelines for your Tennessee or long-distance move. Contact us for more information.