When you embark on a move, especially an interstate move, you as the client have certain obligations to fulfill. The same goes for your moving company. Knowing your rights and responsibility when you move can help you prepare. It is also a good idea to make sure that your moving company or motor carrier is in compliance with the regulations that govern the industry. When choosing a mover, make sure they are reputable and comply with these four requirements.
First and foremost, every moving company is required to have insurance. This insurance helps them to not only cover their employees while they are on the job, but helps them repay consumers should items be damaged or lost in transit. All reputable and licensed movers should carry this insurance and be able to prove their insurance. While some consumers may choose to waive full valuation coverage of their items for less valuation, it is important to verify that the company you are hiring can in fact cover your belongings. Hopefully you will not need to rely on the moving company’s insurance, but if the carrier does not have it, it is an indication to not utilize that company. Not only could you struggle to get any claims of loss or damage reimbursed, you also are dealing with a company that is not registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Unlicensed and unregistered companies must be avoided at all costs.
Arbitration is another requirement whenever you have an interstate move. Since 1996, moving companies have been obligated to offer neutral binding arbitration as a condition of registering as a moving company. This might not seem like an important consideration, but in the event that you have a dispute with your mover, you will be glad you to have this service available. This route to addressing disputes with your moving company is probably easier, as well as more cost effective than hiring lawyers and dragging things out in court, particularly if it isn’t a large sum in dispute. While you will be required to foot some of the fees, the moving company is responsible for a greater portion of the cost of arbitration.
The third requirement for movers conducting interstate moves is the publication of tariffs. Each moving company is allowed to determine the rates and fees they charge the public. However, each moving company is required to publish these charges and detail the services provided and the prices charged for each service. While it might not seem like much, ensuring that the tariffs for your moving company are readily available will help you hold your moving company accountable for the price they charge you. There are several federal laws that help govern how these tariffs are prepared and published. If you have any questions about certain charges, your moving company must detail to you what the charges are for each service and can refer you to the company’s tariff.
Finally, moving companies that operate as interstate carriers are required to have designated processing agents who receive certain legal paperwork. In order for a moving company to be authorized to conduct interstate moves, the FMCSA requires each carrier to designate a process agent to serve on the carrier’s behalf should legal actions be filed. The agent acts as the go between the legal system and the carrier in each state the carrier operates. These agents are not only important for motor carriers, but will also be helpful for consumers should legal action be filed because of an issue that occurred with their shipment while it was in transit.
Perhaps the most important step in the moving process is choosing the right mover. You do not want to entrust your valuables to unscrupulous movers or carriers that do not follow federal guidelines. Knowing what is expected of you as well as what is expected of your moving company can help you in determining whether a company is up to snuff.