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PICKUPSHIPMENT: FMCSA DOT New Tariff Law and Requirements

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Pickup of My Shipment of Household Goods (Subpart E) - Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move
Part I of II


Click on the question below to view the answer.

Must my mover write up an order for service?

Must my mover write up an inventory of the shipment?

Must my mover write up a bill of lading?

Should I reach an agreement with my mover about pickup and delivery times?

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Must my mover write up an order for service?

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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 change must be attached to the order for service.

The order for service must contain the following 15 elements:

  1. Your mover's name and address and the U.S. DOT number assigned to your mover.
  2. Your name, address and, if available, telephone number(s).
  3. The name, address, and telephone number of the delivering mover's office or agent at or nearest to the destination of your shipment.
  4. A telephone number where you may contact your mover or its designated agent.
  5. One of the following three dates and times:
    a. The agreed-upon pickup date and agreed delivery date of your move.

    b. The agreed-upon period(s) of the entire move.

    c. If your mover is transporting the shipment on a guaranteed service basis, the guaranteed dates 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.
  6. The names and addresses of any other motor carriers, when known, that will participate in interline transportation of the shipment.
  7. The form of payment your mover will honor at delivery. The payment information must be the same as was entered on the estimate.
  8. The terms and conditions for payment of the total charges, including notice of any minimum charges.
  9. The maximum amount your mover will demand, based on the mover's estimate, at the time of delivery to obtain possession of the shipment, when transported on a collect-on-delivery basis.
  10. If not provided in the bill of lading, the Surface Transportation Board's required released rates valuation statement, and the charges, if any, for optional valuation coverage. The Surface Transportation 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.
  11. A complete description of any special or accessorial services ordered and minimum weight or volume charges applicable to the shipment.
  12. Any identification or registration number your mover assigns to the shipment.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 bill 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 option, 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 an order for service for a shipment it 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 or 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?

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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 make 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?

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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. The bill of lading is an important document. Do not lose or misplace your copy. Have it available until your shipment is delivered, all charges are paid, and all claims, if any, are settled.

A bill of lading must include the following 14 elements:

  1. Your mover's name and address, or the name and address of the motor carrier issuing the bill of lading.
  2. The names and addresses of any other motor carriers, when known, who will participate in the transportation of the shipment.
  3. The name, address, and telephone number of the office of the motor carrier you must contact in relation to the transportation of the shipment.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. For guaranteed service, the dates for pickup and delivery and any penalty or per diem entitlements due you under the agreement.
  8. The actual date of pickup.
  9. The identification number(s) of the vehicle(s) in which your mover loads your shipment.
  10. The terms and conditions for payment of the total charges including notice of any minimum charges.
  11. The maximum amount your mover will demand from you, based on the mover's estimate, at the time of delivery for you to obtain possession of your shipment, when your mover transports under a collect-on-delivery basis.
  12. If not provided for in the order for service, the Surface Transportation Board's required released rates valuation statement, and the charges, if 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.
  13. Evidence of any insurance coverage sold to or procured for you from an independent insurer, including the amount of the premium for such insurance.
  14. 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:
    a. The binding or non-binding estimate.

    b. The order for service.

    c. The inventory.

A copy of the bill of lading must accompany your shipment at all times while 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?

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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 using another type of vehicle.

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