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Rights And Responsibilities

Moving Long Distatnce Rights And Responsibilities

General Requirements


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations protect consumers of interstate moves and define the rights and responsibilities of consumers (shippers) and household goods carriers (movers) . The household goods carrier gave you this booklet to provide information about your rights and responsibilities as an individual shipper of household goods . Your primary responsibilities are to ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of the moving contract (bill of lading), and know what to do in case problems arise . The primary responsibility for protecting your move lies with you in selecting a reputable household goods mover or household goods broker, and making sure you understand the terms and conditions of your contract and the remedies that are available to you in case problems arise .




Regulations and Interstate Transportation


FMCSA’s regulations apply to motor carriers that engage in the interstate transportation of household goods and brokers that arrange for such transportation . These regulations require your mover to perform certain services and provide you with specific documents . The regulations only apply t o your mover when the mover transports your household goods by motor vehicle in interstate or foreign commerce – that is when you move from one State to another or internationally . The regulations do not apply when your move takes place within a commercial zone (defined at the end of this booklet) or between two points in the same State




Legitimate Movers and Brokers


Legitimate movers and brokers are registered with FMCSA to engage in interstate operations involving the interstate transportation of household goods . A legitimate mover explains whether they are a broker or a mover . A household goods broker arranges for the transportation of your shipment but does not provide line-haul transportation . A household goods mover actually transports your shipment . Household goods brokers or movers must provide you with basic information before you move . You should expect to receive the following information: A written estimate The “Ready to Move” Brochure (or a web link, if you prefer) Information about the mover’s arbitration program Written notice about access to the mover’s tariff The process for handling claims This booklet, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” (or a web link, if you prefer) You should avoid brokers and movers that are not registered with FMCSA, refuse to perform a physical survey of your household goods, and require cash only transactions . You can determine if your broker or mover is registered with FMCSA




Customer’s Responsibilities


As a customer, you have responsibilities both to your mover and yourself .They include: •Reading all moving documents issued by the mover or broker . •Being available at the time of pickup and delivery of your shipment . If you are not available you should appoint a representative to act on your behalf . •Promptly notifying your mover if something has changed regarding your shipment (i.e.move dates, additional items) . •Making payment in the amount required and in the form agreed to with the mover . •Promptly filing claims for loss, damage or delays with your mover, if necessary




Estimates


The two most important things to understand for your interstate move are: the types of estimates offered and the mover’s liability in the event of loss or damage . As y ou read further, you will discover that movers offer different types of estimates – binding and non-binding . The type of estimate you select determines how the charges for your shipment will be calculated . The estimate provided by your mover will notify you of the two liability coverage options: Option 1 - Full (Replacement) Value Protection and Option 2 - Waiver of Full (Replacement) Value Protection (60 cents per pound) . The mover’s liability is discussed in detail in the next section . FMCSA requires your mover to provide written estimates on every shipment transported for you . Your mover’s verbal quote of charges is not an official estimate since it is not in writing . Your mover must provide you with a written estimate of all charges including transportation, accessorial and advanced charges (defined at the end of this booklet) . This written estimate must be dated and signed by you and the mover . The estimate provided to you by your mover will include a statement notifying you of two options of liability coverage for your shipment: Full (Replacement) Value Protection and Waiver of Full (Replacement) Value Protection, Released Value of 60 cents per pound per article . If you are moving from a location within a 50 mile radius of your mover’s (or its agent’s or broker’s) place of business, the estimate must be based on a physical survey of your household goods, unless you waive this requirement in writing before your shipment is loaded . Please be aware that a household goods broker may only provide an estimate on a mover’s behalf if it has a written agreement with the mover and uses the mover’s published tariff . You and your mover may agree to change an estimate of charges based on changed circumstances, but only before your shipment is loaded . Your mover may not change an estimate after loading the shipment There is more information about changes to estimates in the following sections . Never sign a blank or incomplete estimate. Movers may not require you to sign blank or incomplete estimates . Uns crupulous movers could use the blank or incomplete estimate to change the terms of your move, including the cost, without your knowledge or consent .




Binding Estimates


A binding estimate guarantees that you cannot be required to pay more than the amount on the estimate . However, if you add additional items to your shipment or request additional services, you and your mover may: agree to abide by the original binding estimate, negotiate a new binding estimate or convert the binding estimate into a non-binding estimate . If the mover does not give you a new binding estimate in writing, or agree in writing to convert the binding estimate to a non-binding estimate before your goods are loaded, the original binding estimate is reaffirmed . Under these circumstances, your mover should not charge or collect more than the amount of the original binding estimate at delivery for the quantities and services included in the estimate . If there are unforeseen circumstances (such as elevators, stairs, or required parking permits) at the destination the mover can bill you for these additional expenses after 30 days from delivery . Charges for services required as a result of impracticable operations (defined at the end of this booklet) are due at delivery, but may not exceed 15 percent of all other charges due at delivery; any remaining charges will be billed to you with payment due in 30 days . If you are unable to pay 100 percent of the charges on a binding estimate, your mover may place your shipment in storage at your expense until the required charges (including the cost of the storage) are paid . Your mover may charge a fee to prepare a binding estimate




Non-Binding Estimates


A non-binding estimate is intended to provide you with an estimate of the cost of your move . A non-binding estimate is not a guarantee of your final costs, but it should be reasonably accurate . The estimate must indicate that your final charges will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the mover’s published tariff . Therefore, the amount of your mover’s non-binding estimate may be different than the amount you ultimately have to pay . A non-binding estimate must be in writing and clearly describe the shipment and all services provided . Under a non-binding estimate, the mover cannot require you to pay more than 110 percent of the original estimate at the time of delivery . This does not excuse you from paying all of the charges due on your shipment . The mover will bill you for any remaining charges after 30 days from delivery Your mover must give you possession of your shipment if you pay 110 percent of a non-binding estimate or 100 percent of a binding estimate, plus 15 percent of the impracticable operations charges (if applicable) . If your mover does not relinquish possession, the mover is holding your shipment hostage in violation of Federal law . .




Your Mover’s Liability and Your Claims


In general, your mover is legally liable for loss or damage that occurs during the transportation of your shipment and all related services identified on the bill of lading . The extent of your mover’s liability is governed by the Surface Transportation Board’s Released Rates Order . You may obtain a copy of the current Released Rates Order by visiting the Surface Transportation Board’s website at: http://www.stb.dot.gov/ Decisions/readingroom.nsf/(search-10.192.5.24-19306)?OpenView&Count=5000 . In addition, your mover may, but is not required to, offer to sell you separate third-party liability insurance . All moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the household goods they transport . However, there are two different levels of liability that apply to interstate moves Full (Replacement) Value Protection and Waiver of Full (Replacement) Value Protection - Released Value . It is important you understand the charges that apply and the amount of protection provided by each level




Full (Replacement)Value Protection


This is the most comprehensive option available to protect your household goods, but it will increase the cost of your move . The initial cost estimate of charges that you receive from your mover must include this level of protection . Your shipment will be transported at this level of liability unless you waive Full Value Protection . Under your mover’s Full Value Protection level of liability, subject to the allowable exceptions in your mover’s tariff, if any article is lost, destroyed or damaged while in your mover’s custody, your mover will, at its option, either 1) repair the article to the extent necessary to restore it to the same condition as when it was received by your mover, or pay you for the cost of such repairs; or 2) replace the article with an article of like, kind and quality, or pay you for the cost of such a replacement . The exact cost for your shipment, including Full Value Protection, may vary by mover and may be further subject to various deductible levels that may reduce your cost . The minimum level for determining the Full Value Protection of your shipment is $6 .00 per pound times the weight of your shipment . Your mover may have a higher minimum value or you may declare a higher value for your shipment (at an additional cost) . The charges that apply for providing Full Value Protection must be shown in your mover’s tariff . Ask your mover for the details under its specific program .Under this option, 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 (for example, jewelry, silverware, china, furs, antiques, oriental rugs and computer software) . Ask your mover for a complete explanation of this limitation before your move . It is your responsibility to study this provision carefully and to make the necessary declaration .




Waiver of Full (Replacement) Value Protection (Released Value of 60 cents per pound per article)


Released Value is minimal protection; however, it is the most economical protection available as there is no charge to you . Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound, per article For example, if a 10 pound stereo component valued at $1,000 were lost or destroyed, the mover would be liable for no more than $6 .00 (10 pounds x $ .60) . Obviously, you should think carefully before agreeing to such an arrangement .




Third Party Insurance


If you purchase separate third party cargo 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 is liable for any claim for loss or damage attributed to its negligence . Shipments transported under a mover’s bill of lading are subject to arbitration in the event of a dispute over loss or damage claims . However, disputes with third party insurance companies might not be subject to arbitration in the event of disputed loss and damage claims as those companies are not within the jurisdiction of the FMCSA . Third party insurance companies are subject to the regulations of the States in which they are licensed .




Reducing your Mover’s Normal Liability


The following are some actions that may limit or reduce your mover’s liability for loss or damage to your household goods: 1 .Your acts or omissions cause the loss or damage to occur . For example, improper packing of containers you pack yourself do not provide sufficient protection or you include perishable, dangerous, or hazardous materials in your shipment without your mover’s knowledge . Federal law forbids you to ship hazardous materials in your household goods boxes or luggage without informing your mover . 2 .You chose the Waiver of Full Value Protection – Released Value level of liability (60 cents per pound per article) but ship household goods valued at more than 60 cents per pound per article . 3 .You declare a value for your shipment which is less than the actual value of the articles in your shipment . 4 .You fail to notify your mover in writing of articles valued at more than $100 per pound . (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 .




Loss and Damage Claims


Movers customarily take every precaution to make sure that while your shipment is in their possession, no items are lost, damaged or destroyed . However, despite the precautions taken, articles are sometimes lost or destroyed during the move . You have the right to file a claim with your mover to be compensated for loss or damage . You have 9 months from the date of delivery (or in the event of loss for the entire shipment, from the date your shipment should have been delivered) to file your claim . The claim must be submitted in writing to your mover or to your mover’s third party company for claim processing . After you submit your claim, your mover has 30 days to acknowledge receipt of it . The mover then has 120 days to provide you with a disposition . The mover might be entitled to 60-day extensions if the claim cannot be processed or disposed of within 120 days




Delay Claims


Delay claims are processed when you have contracted with your mover for guaranteed service for pickup and delivery . Your mover will outline on the bill of lading any penalty or per diem entitlements when there is a pickup delay and/or delivery delay




Order for Service


Your mover is required by law to prepare an order for service for your shipment . The following 14 elements should be listed on the order for service . 1 .Your mover’s name, address and the USDOT 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 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 the transportation of your shipment 7 .The form of payment your mover will accept at delivery The paymentinformation 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 delivery to release the shipment, when transported on a collect-on-delivery basis 10 .A complete description of any special or accessorial services ordered and minimum weight or volume charges applicable to the shipment . 11 .Any identification or registration number your mover assigns to the shipment . 12 .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 . 13 .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 . 14 .An indication of whether you request notification of the charges before delivery . You must provide your mover with contact information . You are entitled to a copy of the order for service when it is prepared . The order for service is an important part of the contract (bill of lading) between you and the mover . Should you cancel or delay your shipment, or if you decide not to use the mover, you should promptly cancel the order . If you cancel your shipment more than three days after signing the order for service, you mover may charge you a penalty . The order for service provides you with written confirmation of the services you have requested to be performed in conjunction with your shipment . This document lists the agreed dates for the pickup and delivery of your shipment, the amount of liability that you requested, along with any special services that you have ordered and a place and telephone number where the mover can contact you during the move . The order for service also shows the charges that you may be assessed for your move . If you are moving under a non-binding estimate, the order for service will indicate the amount of the estimated non-binding charges, the method of payment for the charges, and additional charges that may occur prior to loading . If you are moving under a binding estimate, the order for service will show the charges that you will be required to pay and the terms of payment . You and your mover must both sign the order for service . If you or your mover changes any agreed upon dates for pickup or delivery of your shipment, or agree to any change in the non-binding estimate, your mover must prepare a written change to the order for service . The written change must be attached to the order for service




Inventory


Your mover must prepare an inventory of your shipment . This is usually done at the time the mover loads your shipment . The mover is required to list any damage or unusual wear to any items . The purpose is to make a record of the existence and condition of each item before it is moved .After completing the inventory, both you and the mover must sign each page of the inventory . It is important that before signing you make sure the inventory lists every item in your shipment and that entries regarding the condition of each item are correct . You have the right to note any disagreement . When your shipment is delivered, if an item is missing or damaged, your ability to recover from the mover for any loss or damage may depend on the notations made on this form .The mover will give you a copy of each page of the inventory . Attach the complete inventory to your copy of the bill of lading . It is your receipt for the shipment .At the time your shipment is delivered, it is your responsibility to check the items delivered against the items listed on your inventory . If new damage is discovered, make a record of it on the inventory form . Call the damage to the attention of the mover and request that a record of the damage is made on the mover’s copy of the inventory .After the complete shipment is unloaded, the mover will request that you sign the mover’s copy of the inventory to show that you received the items listed . Do not sign until you have assured yourself that it is accurate and that proper notations have been entered regarding any missing or damaged items . Movers are prohibited from having you sign documents that release the mover from all liability for loss or damage to the shipment in exchange for delivery




Bill of Lading


Your mover is required by law to prepare a bill of lading for your shipment . The bill of lading is the contract between you and the mover for the transportation of your shipment . 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 shipment . 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 . IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO READ THE BILL OF LADING BEFORE YOU ACCEPT IT The bill of lading requires the mover to provide the service you requested and requires you to pay the charges for the service. 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 serves to identify the mover and specifies when the transportation is to be performed . Be sure that the portions of the bill of lading that note the dates when pickup and delivery are to be performed are completed and that you agree with the dates . It also specifies the terms and conditions for payment of the total charges and the maximum amount required to be paid at the time of delivery for shipments moving under a binding estimate . In the case of shipments moving under non-binding estimates, the bill of lading will not include a final calculation of charges because that cannot be determined until the shipment is weighed . However, the bill of lading must contain all relevant shipment information – except the shipment weight that will be determined after the shipment has been weighed and any unforeseen charges that occur in transit . The bill of lading must include the following 14 elements . 1 .Your mover’s name and address, or the name and address of the mover issuing the bill of lading . 2 .The names and addresses of any other mover, when known, who will participate in the transportation of your shipment . 3 .The name, address, and telephone number of the office where you can contact the mover for matters relating to the transportation of the shipment . 4 .The form of payment your mover will accept at delivery . The payment information must be the same as 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 must be listed so the mover can notify you about the charges . 6 .For non-guaranteed service, the agreed-upon dates or period of time for pickup and delivery of the shipment . 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 vehicles(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 .Evidence of any insurance coverage sold to or procured for you from an independent insurer, including the amount of the premium for such insurance . 13 .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 an attachment: a .The binding or non-binding estimate b .The order for service c .The inventory 14 .The two options for liability of which you will select either: Option 1) Full (Replacement) Value Protection or Option 2) Waiver of Full (Replacement) Value Protection . The 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, the bill of lading must be in the possession of the driver responsible for the shipment .




Freight Bill


At the time of payment of transportation charges, your mover must give you a freight bill identifying the service provided and the charge for each service . It is customary for most movers to use a copy of the bill of lading as a freight bill . Except in those instances where a shipment is moving on a binding estimate, the freight bill must specifically identify each service performed, the rate or charge per service performed, and the total charges for each service . If this information is not on the freight bill, do not accept or pay the freight bill . Your mover must deliver your shipment upon payment of 100 percent of a binding estimate or 110 percent of a non-binding estimate, plus the full cost of any additional services that you required after the contract was executed and any charges for impracticable operation, not to exceed 15 percent of all other charges due at delivery . If you do not pay the transportation charges due at the time of delivery, your mover has the right, under the bill of lading, to refuse to deliver your shipment . The mover may place your shipment in storage, at your expense, until the charges are paid




Weight Tickets


Your mover must obtain weight tickets if your shipment is moving under a non- binding estimate . Each time your shipment is weighed, a separate weight ticket must be obtained and signed by the weigh master . If both weighings are performed on the same scale, one weight ticket may be used to record both weighings . The weight tickets must be presented with the freight bill . Each weight ticket must contain the following six items: 1 .The complete name and location of the scale . 2 .The date of each weighing . 3 .The identification of the weight entries as being the tare, gross, or net weights . 4 .The company or mover identification of the vehicle . 5 .The last name of the individual shipper as it appears on the bill of lading . 6 .The mover’s shipment registration or bill of lading number . Additional information regarding weighing shipments is located later in this booklet .





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