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BEFORE_REQUESTING2: FMSCA New Tariff Law and Requirements

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Before Requesting Services from Any Mover (Subpart B) -
Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move
Part II of II


Click on the question below to view the answer.

Must my mover have an arbitration program?

Must my mover inform me about my rights and responsibilities under Federal law?

What other information must my mover provide to me?

How must my mover collect charges?

May my mover collect charges upon delivery?

May my mover extend credit to me?

May my mover accept charge or credit cards for my payments?

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Must my mover have an arbitration program? 

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Your mover must have an arbitration program for your use in resolving disputes concerning loss or damage to your household goods and disputes regarding charges that were billed to you in addition to those collected at delivery of your shipment. You have the right not to participate in the arbitration program. You may pursue court action under 49 U.S.C. 14706 to seek judicial remedies directly. Your mover must establish and maintain an arbitration program with the following 11 minimum elements:

  1. 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.

  2. 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 items:

      (a)  A summary of the arbitration procedure.

      (b)  Any applicable costs.

      (c)  A disclosure of the legal effects of electing to use arbitration.

  3. Upon your request, your mover must provide information and forms it considers necessary for initiating an action to resolve a dispute under arbitration.

  4. 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 decisionmaking process.

  5. 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.

  6. Your mover must not require you to agree to use arbitration before a dispute arises.

  7. You and your mover will be bound by arbitration for claims of $10,000 or less if you request arbitration.

  8. You and your mover will be bound by arbitration for claims of more than $10,000 only if you request arbitration and your mover agrees to it.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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? 

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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? 

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At the time your mover provides a written estimate, it must provide you with a copy of the U.S. Department of Transportation publication FMCSA-ESA-03-005 entitled "Ready to Move?" (or its successor publication). Before your mover executes an order for service for a shipment of household goods, your mover must furnish you with the following four documents:

  1. The contents of Appendix A, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move"—this booklet.

  2. A concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your mover's arbitration program.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:
(a)  The main telephone number you may use to communicate with your mover.

(b)  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? 

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Your mover must issue you an honest, truthful freight or expense bill for each shipment transported. Your mover's freight or expense bill must contain the following 17 items:

  1. Name of the consignor.

  2. Name of the consignees.

  3. Date of the shipment.

  4. Origin point.

  5. Destination points.

  6. Number of packages.

  7. Description of the freight.

  8. Weight of the freight (if your shipment is moved under a non-binding estimate)

  9. Exact rate(s) assessed.

  10. 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.

  11. An indication of whether adjustments may apply to the bill.

  12. Total charges due and acceptable methods of payment.

  13. The nature and amount of any special service charges.

  14. The points where special services were rendered.

  15. Route of movement and name of each mover participating in the transportation.

  16. Transfer points where shipments moved.

  17. 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. 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? 

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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. See also May my mover accept charge or credit cards for my payments?

You must be prepared to pay ten percent more than the estimated amount, if your goods are moving under a non-binding estimate. Every collect-on-delivery shipper must have available 110 percent of the estimate at the time of delivery. In addition, your mover may also collect at the time of delivery the cost of any additional services that you requested after the contract with your mover was executed that were not included in the estimate, and the charges for impracticable operations needed to accomplish delivery, as defined by the carrier's tariff. Additional charges collected at the time of delivery for impracticable operations may not exceed 15 percent of all other charges due at delivery. You must pay all remaining charges for impracticable operations within 30 days after you receive the mover's freight bill.


May my mover extend credit to me? 

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Extending credit to you is not the same as accepting your charge or credit card(s) as payment. Your mover may extend credit to you in the amount of the tariff charges. If your mover extends credit to you, your mover becomes like a bank offering you a line of credit, whose size and interest rate are determined by your ability to pay its tariff charges within the credit period. Your mover must ensure you will pay its tariff charges within the credit period. Your mover may relinquish possession of freight before you pay its tariff charges, at its discretion.

The credit period must begin on the day following presentation of your mover's freight bill to you. Under Federal regulation, the standard credit period is 7 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. Your mover must also extend the credit period to a total of 30 calendar days if the freight bill is not paid within the 7-day period. A service charge equal to one percent of the amount of the freight bill, subject to a $20 minimum, will be assessed for this extension and for each additional 30-day period the charges go unpaid.

Your failure to pay within the credit period will require your mover to determine whether you will comply with the Federal household goods transportation credit regulations in good faith in the future before extending credit again.


May my mover accept charge or credit cards for my payments? 

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Your mover may allow you to use a charge or credit card for payment of the freight charges. Your mover may accept charge or credit cards whenever you ship with it under an agreement and tariff requiring payment by cash or cash equivalents. Cash equivalents are a certified check, money order, or cashier's check (a check that a financial institution—bank, credit union, savings and loan—draws upon itself and that is signed by an officer of the financial institution).

If your mover allows you to pay for a freight or expense bill by charge or credit card, your mover deems such a payment to be equivalent to payment by cash, certified check, or cashier's check. It must note in writing on the order for service and the bill of lading whether you may pay for the transportation and related services using a charge or credit card. You should ask your mover at the time the estimate is written whether it will accept charge or credit cards at the time of delivery.

The mover must specify what charge or credit cards it will accept, such as American Express ™, Discover ™, MasterCard ™, or Visa ™. If your mover agrees to accept payment by charge or credit card, you must arrange with your mover for the delivery only at a time when your mover can obtain authorization for your credit card transaction. If you cause a charge or credit card issuer to reverse a transaction, your mover may consider your action tantamount to forcing your mover to provide an involuntary extension of its credit.

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