Prepared By The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) OCE-100
TARIFF INSPECTION AND INCORPORATION NOTICE
Federal law requires that movers advise shippers that they may
inspect the tariffs that govern your shipment. Carriers' tariffs,
by this reference, are made a part of the contract of carriage
(bill of lading) between you and the carrier and may be inspected
at carrier's facility, or, on request, carrier will furnish a
copy of any tariff provision containing carrier's rates, rules or
charges governing your shipment, the terms of which cannot be
Incorporated tariff provisions include but are not limited to
those: (1.) establishing limitation of carrier's liability, the
principal features of which are described in the valuation
declaration section of the bill of lading; (2.) setting the time
periods for filing claims, the principal features of which are
described in Section 6 of the bill of lading; and, (3.) reserving
the carrier's right to assess additional charges for additional
services performed and, on non-binding estimates, to base charges
upon the exact weight of the goods transported.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations protect
consumers on interstate moves and define the rights and
responsibilities of consumers and household goods carriers
The mover gives you this pamphlet to provide information about
your rights and responsibilities as a shipper of household goods.
You should talk to your mover if you have further questions. The
mover will also furnish you with a pamphlet describing its
procedures for handling your questions and complaints. The
pamphlet will include a number you can call to obtain additional
information about your move.
Although movers are not required to give estimates, most
movers do provide estimates when requested. There are two types
of estimates, binding and non-binding.
BINDING ESTIMATES OF TOTAL COST
The mover may charge you for providing a binding estimate
which must clearly describe the shipment and all services
When you receive a binding estimate, you cannot be required to
pay any more than that amount. However, if you have requested the
mover to provide more services than those included in the
estimate, such as destination charges (i.e., long carry charges,
shuttle charges, extra stair carry charges, or elevator charges)
often not known at origin, the mover may demand full payment for
those added services at time of delivery.
To be effective, a binding estimate must be in writing and a
copy must be made available to you before your move.
If you agree to a binding estimate, you are responsible for
paying the charges due by cash, certified check, traveler's
check, or bank check (one drawn by a bank on itself and signed by
an officer of the bank) at time of delivery unless the mover
agrees before you move to extend credit or to accept payment by
charge card. If you are unable to pay at the time the shipment is
delivered, the mover may place your shipment in storage at your
expense until the charges are paid.
NON-BINDING ESTIMATES OF APPROXIMATE COST
The mover is not permitted to charge for giving a non-binding
A non-binding estimate is not a bid or contract. It is
provided by the mover to give you a general idea of the cost of
the move, but it does not bind the mover to the estimated cost.
Furthermore, it is not a guarantee that the final cost will not
be more than the estimate. The actual cost will be in accordance
with the mover's published tariffs. All movers are legally
obligated to collect no more and no less than the charges shown
in their tariffs regardless of prior rate quotations contained in
non-binding estimates. The charges contained in the tariffs are
essentially the same for the same weight shipment moving the same
distance. If you obtain differing (non-binding) estimates from
different movers, you will be obligated to pay only the amount
specified in the tariff. Therefore, a non-binding estimate may
have no effect on the amount you will have to pay.
Non-binding estimates must be in writing and clearly describe
the shipment and all services provided. Any time a mover provides
such an estimate the amount of the charges estimated must be on
the order for service and bill of lading relating to your
shipment. If you are given a non-binding estimate, do not sign or
accept the order for service or bill of lading unless the amount
estimated is entered on each form when prepared by the mover.
If you are given a non-binding estimate, the mover cannot
require you to pay more than the amount of the original estimate,
plus 10 percent, at time of delivery. You will then have at least
30 days after delivery to pay any remaining charges.
IF YOU REQUEST THE MOVER TO PROVIDE MORE SERVICES THAN
THOSE INCLUDED IN THE ESTIMATE, THE MOVER MAY DEMAND FULL PAYMENT
FOR THOSE ADDED SERVICES AT TIME OF DELIVERY.
SPACE RESERVATIONS, EXPEDITED SERVICE, EXCLUSIVE USE OF A
VEHICLE AND GUARANTEED PICKUP AND DELIVERY
It is customary for movers to offer price and service options.
The total cost of your move may be increased if you want
additional or special services. Before you agree to have your
shipment moved under a bill of lading providing special service,
you should have a clear understanding with the mover what the
additional cost will be. You should always consider that you may
find other movers who can provide the service you require without
requiring that you pay the additional charges.
One service option is a SPACE RESERVATION. If you agree
to have your shipment transported under a space reservation
agreement, you are required to pay for a minimum number of cubic
feet of space in the moving van regardless of how much space in
the van is actually occupied by your shipment.
A second service option is EXPEDITED SERVICE to aid
shippers who must have their shipments transported on or between
specific dates which the mover could not ordinarily agree to do
in its normal operations.
Another customary service option is EXCLUSIVE USE OF A
VEHICLE. If for any reason you desire or require that your
shipment be moved by itself on the mover's truck or trailer, most
movers will provide such service.
Still another service option is GUARANTEED SERVICE ON OR
BETWEEN AGREED DATES. You enter into an agreement with the
mover that provides for your shipment to be picked up,
transported to destination and delivered on specific guaranteed
dates. If the mover fails to provide the service as agreed, you
are entitled to be compensated at a predetermined amount or a
daily rate (per diem) regardless of the expense you actually
might have incurred as a result of the mover's failure to
Before requesting or agreeing to any of these price and
service options, be sure to ask the mover's representatives about
the final costs you will be required to pay.
TRANSPORT OF SHIPMENTS ON TWO OR MORE VEHICLES
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 may occur if the mover has underestimated the cubic
feet of space required for your shipment, with the consequence
that it will not all fit on the first truck. The remainder or
"leave behind" will be picked up by a second truck at a
later time and may arrive at the destination at a later time than
the first truck. When this occurs, your transportation charges
will be determined as if the entire shipment moved on one truck.
If it is important for you to avoid the inconvenience of a
"leave behind," be sure that your estimate includes an
accurate calculation of the cubic feet required for your
shipment. Ask your estimator to use a "Table of
Measurements" form in making this calculation. Consider
asking for a binding estimate, which is more likely to be
conservative with regard to cubic feet than non-binding
estimates. If the mover offers the service, consider making a
space reservation for the necessary amount of space plus some
margin of error. In any case, it is prudent to
"prioritize" your goods in advance of the move so that
the more essential items will be loaded on the first truck if
some are left behind.
ORDER FOR SERVICE
Moving companies are required to prepare an order for service
on every shipment transported for an individual shipper. You are
entitled to a copy of the order for service when it is prepared.
The order for service is not a contract. Should your move be
canceled or delayed or if you decide not to use the mover, you
should promptly cancel the order.
Should there be any change in the dates on which you and the
mover agreed that your shipment will be picked up and delivered,
or any change in the non-binding estimate, the mover may prepare
a written change to the order for service. The written change
should be attached to the order for service. You and the mover
must sign the order for service.
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 the 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 loading your furniture.
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 have requested, and you must pay the charges for the service.
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
At the time the mover's driver loads your shipment, he or she,
although not required to do so, usually inventories your shipment
listing any damage or unusual wear. The purpose is to make a
record of the condition of each item. If the driver does not make
an inventory, you should make one yourself.
After completing the inventory, the driver will usually sign
each page and ask you to sign each page. It is important before
signing that you make sure that the inventory lists every item in
your shipment and that the 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.
The driver 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 goods.
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 driver and request that a record of the damage
be made on the driver's copy of the inventory.
After the complete shipment is unloaded, the driver will
request that you sign the driver'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. When
you sign the inventory, you are giving the driver a receipt for
SHIPMENTS SUBJECT TO MINIMUM WEIGHT OR VOLUME CHARGES
Movers usually have a minimum weight or volume charge for
transporting a shipment. Usually the minimum is the charge for
transporting a shipment of at least 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms).
If your shipment appears to weigh less than the mover's
minimum weight, the mover is required to advise you on the order
for service of the minimum cost before agreeing to transport the
shipment. Should the mover fail to advise you of the minimum
charges and your shipment is less than the minimum weight, the
final charges must be based on the actual weight instead of the
DETERMINING THE WEIGHT OF YOUR SHIPMENT
If charges are to be based upon the weight of the shipment,
the mover is required to weigh the shipment. Unless your shipment
weighs less than 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms) and can be weighed
on a warehouse platform scale, the mover is required to determine
the weight of your shipment by one of the following processes.
ORIGIN WEIGHING - If your shipment is weighed in the
city or area from which you are moving, the driver is required to
weigh the truck on which the shipment is to be transported 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 one or more other shipments. This will not
affect the weight of your shipment. The truck should also contain
the pads, dollies, hand-trucks, ramps, and other equipment
normally used in the transportation of household goods shipments.
After loading, the truck will be weighed again to obtain the
loaded weight, called the gross weight. The net weight of
your shipment is then obtained by subtracting the tare weight
from the gross weight.
DESTINATION WEIGHING - The mover is also permitted to
determine the weight of your shipment at the destination at the
time of unloading. The fact that a shipment is weighed at the
destination instead of at the origin will not affect the accuracy
of the weight of your shipment. THE MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE
IS THAT THE MOVER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO 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 to which you are moving, the
driver will weigh the truck, with your shipment loaded on it, to
obtain 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
from the gross weight.
Each time a weighing is performed the driver is required to
obtain a weight ticket showing the date and place of weighing and
the weight obtained. The ticket must also have your name and
shipment number entered on it, along with the identification
(I.D.) numbers of the truck. The ticket must be signed by the
person who performed the weighing. If both the empty (tare) and
loaded (gross) weighings are performed on the same scale, the
record of both weighings may be entered on one weight ticket.
At the time the mover gives you the freight bill to collect
the charges, a copy of every weight ticket relating to your
shipment must accompany your copy of the freight bill.
You have the right to observe every weighing. The mover is
required to inform you of the specific location of each scale
that will be used and to allow you a reasonable opportunity to be
present. If you desire to observe either or both of the
weighings, you should tell the mover at the time the order for
service is prepared or, in any event, before the date of your
move. This will enable the mover to contact you before the
weighing to advise you of the location of the scale.
REWEIGHING OF SHIPMENTS
If your shipment is weighed at origin and you agree with the
mover that you will pay the charges at time of delivery, the
mover is required to give you written notice of the weight and
charges on your shipment before commencing to unload at your
destination residence. If you believe that the weight is not
accurate, you have the right to request that the shipment be
reweighed before unloading.
The mover is not permitted to charge for the reweighing. If
the weight of your shipment at the time of the reweigh is
different from the weight determined at origin, the mover must
recompute the charges based on the reweigh weight.
Before requesting a reweigh, you may find it to your advantage
to estimate the weight of your shipment using the following
- Count the number of items in your shipment. Usually there
will be either 30 or 40 items listed 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 that item in the count of the
- 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 that a reweigh
will prove beneficial to you and 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 (20 kilograms) or more.
PICKING UP AND DELIVERING SHIPMENTS ON THE AGREED DATES
You and your mover must reach agreement as to when your
shipment is to be picked up and delivered. 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 the mover's
responsibility to tell you if the service can be provided on or
between those dates or, if not, on what other dates the service
can be provided.
In the process of reaching an agreement with a mover, it may
be necessary for you 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 of time you and the mover agree on
should be definite.
Once an agreement is reached, the mover is required to enter
those dates on the order for service and the bill of lading.
Once your goods are loaded, the mover is contractually bound
to provide the service described in the bill of lading. The only
defense for not providing the service on the dates called for is
the "defense of force majeure." This is a legal term
which means that if circumstances which could not have been
foreseen and which are beyond the control of the mover prevent
the performance of the service as agreed to in the bill of
lading, the mover is not responsible for damages resulting from
If, after an order for service is prepared, the mover is
unable to make pickup or delivery on the agreed dates, the mover
is required to notify you by telephone, telegram or in person.
The mover must at that time tell you when your shipment can be
picked up or delivered. If for any reason you are unable or
unwilling to accept pickup or delivery on the dates named by the
mover, you should attempt to reach agreement on an alternate
The establishment of a delayed pickup or delivery date does
not relieve the mover from liability for damages resulting from
the failure to provide service as agreed. However, when you are
notified of alternate delivery dates it is your responsibility to
be available to accept delivery on the dates specified. If you
are not available and willing to accept delivery, the 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 the mover to
change the delivery date, most movers will agree to do so
providing your request will not result in unreasonable delay to
their equipment or interfere with another customer's move.
However, the mover is not required to consent to amended delivery
dates and 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 the mover fails to pick up and deliver your shipment on the
dates 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 the mover. This is what is called an inconvenience
or delay claim. Should a mover refuse to honor such a claim and
you continue to believe that you are entitled to be paid damages,
you may sue the mover. The FHWA has no authority to order the
mover to pay such claims.
While it is hoped that your shipment will not be delayed, you
should consider this possibility and find out before you agree
for a mover to transport your shipment what payment you can
expect if the service is delayed through the fault of the mover.
NOTIFICATION OF CHARGES
You must advise the mover at the time you make the
arrangements for the move if you wish to be notified of the
weight and charges. You are required to give the mover a
telephone number or address at which the notification will be
The mover must notify you of the charges at least one 24-hour
weekday prior to the delivery, unless the shipment is to be
delivered the day after pickup. The 24-hour requirement does not
apply when you obtain an estimate of the costs prior to the move
or when the shipment is to be weighed at the destination.
RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY OF THE SHIPMENT
At the time of delivery, the mover expects you to sign a
receipt for your shipment. This is usually accomplished by having
you sign each page of the mover's copy of the inventory.
Movers are prohibited from having you sign a receipt which
relieves the mover from all liability for loss or damage to the
shipment. Do not sign any receipt which does not provide that you
are signing for your shipment in apparent good condition except
as noted on the shipping documents.
THE MOVER'S LIABILITY FOR LOSS AND DAMAGE
All moving companies are required to assume liability for the
value of the goods which they transport. However, there are
different levels of liability, and consumers should be aware of
the amount of protection provided and the charges for each
Basically, most movers offer four different levels of
liability under the terms of their tariffs and pursuant to the
Surface Transportation Board's Released Rates Orders which 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 on the pound weight of the article multiplied
by 60 cents (or the kilogram weight multiplied by $1.32). For
example, if a 10-pound (4.54 kilogram) stereo component, valued
at $1,000 were lost or destroyed, the mover would be liable for
no more than $6.00. Obviously, the shipper 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: DECLARED VALUE
Under this option, the valuation of your shipment is based on
the total weight of the shipment times $1.25 per pound ($2.75 per
kilogram). For example, a 4,000-pound shipment (1814.4 kilogram)
would have a maximum liability value of $5,000.00. Any loss or
damage claim under this option is settled based on the
depreciated value of the lost or damaged item(s) up to the
maximum liability value based on the weight of the entire
shipment. Under this option, if you shipped a 10-pound (4.54
kilogram) stereo component that originally cost $1,000, the mover
would be liable for up to $1,000, based on the depreciated value
of the item.
Unless you specifically agree to other arrangements, the mover
is required to assume liability for the entire shipment based on
this option. Also, the mover is entitled to charge you $7.00 for
each $1,000 (or fraction thereof) of liability assumed for
shipments transported under this option. In the example above,
the valuation charge for a shipment valued at $5,000 would be
$35.00. Under this option, your shipment is protected based on
its depreciated value, and the mover is entitled to charge you a
fee for this extra protection.
OPTION 3: LUMP SUM VALUE
Under this option, which is similar to Option 2, if the value
of your shipment exceeds $1.25 per pound ($2.75 per kilogram)
times the weight of the shipment, you may obtain additional
liability protection from the mover. You do this by declaring a
specific dollar value for your shipment. The amount you declare
must exceed $1.25 per pound ($2.75 per kilogram) times the weight
of the shipment. The amount of value that you declare is subject
to the same valuation charge ($7.00 per $1,000) as described in
OPTION 2. For example, if you declare that your 4,000-pound
(1814.4 kilogram) shipment is worth $10,000 (instead of the
$5,000 under OPTION 2), the mover will charge you $7.00 for each
$1,000 of declared value, or $70.00, for this increased level of
liability. If you ship articles that are unusually expensive, you
may wish to declare this extra value. You must make this
declaration in writing on the bill of lading.
OPTION 4: FULL VALUE PROTECTION
Many movers offer a fourth level of added-value protection,
often referred to as "full value protection" or
"full replacement value." If you elect to purchase full
value protection, articles that are lost, damaged or destroyed
will be either repaired, replaced with like items, or a cash
settlement will be made for the current market replacement value
regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. Unlike the
other options, depreciation of the lost or damaged item is not a
factor in determining replacement value when the shipment is
moved under full value protection.
The cost for full value protection is approximately $8.50 per
$1,000 of declared value; however, the minimum value declared
must be equal to the weight of the shipment multiplied by $3.50
per pound ($7.70 per kilogram), which is further subject to a
minimum declaration of $21,000.
For example, if your shipment weighs 5,000 pounds (2,268
kilograms), the minimum declared value must be at least $21,000.
The exact cost for full value protection may vary by mover and
may be further subject to various deductible levels of liability
which may reduce your cost. Ask your mover for the details of its
Under these four 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 you move. It
is your responsibility to study this provision carefully and to
make the necessary declaration.
These optional levels of liability are not insurance
agreements which are 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 carriers 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 valuation 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 that is regulated under State law. If you purchase this
separate coverage, in the event of loss or damage which is the
responsibility of the mover, 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
COMPLAINTS AND INQUIRIES ABOUT THE MOVER'S SERVICE
All movers are expected to respond promptly to complaints or
inquiries from their customers. 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 the documents relating to the
move. Particularly important is the number assigned to your
shipment by the mover.
Interstate movers are also required to offer neutral
arbitration as a means of resolving consumer disputes involving
loss or damage on collect on delivery (COD) shipments. Your mover
is required to provide you with information regarding its
All interstate moving companies are required to maintain a
complaint and inquiry procedure to assist their customers. At the
time you make the arrangements for your move, you should ask the
mover's representative for a description of the mover's
procedure, the telephone number to be used to contact the carrier
and whether the mover will pay for such telephone calls.
PAYMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES
At the time for payment of transportation charges, the mover
is required to 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; however, some movers use an entirely separate document for
Except in those instances where a shipment is moving on a
binding estimate, the freight bill must specifically identify
each service performed, the rate per unit for each service, and
the total charges for each service. Do not accept or pay a
freight bill which does not contain this information.
If your shipment was transported on a collect on delivery
(COD) basis, you will be expected to pay the total charges
appearing on the freight bill at the time of delivery unless the
mover provided a non-binding estimate of approximate cost and the
total charges for the services included in the estimate exceed
110 percent of the estimated charges.
It is customary for movers to provide in their tariffs that
freight charges must be paid in cash, by certified check,
traveler's check, or bank check (one drawn by a bank on itself
and signed by an officer of the bank). When this requirement
exists, the mover will not accept personal checks. At the time
you make arrangements for your move, you should ask the mover
about the form of payment that is acceptable.
Some movers permit payment of freight charges by use of a
charge card. However, do not assume that because you have a
nationally recognized charge or credit card that it will be
acceptable for payment. Ask the mover at the time the
arrangements are made.
If you do not pay the transportation charges at the time of
delivery the mover has the right under the bill of lading to
refuse to deliver your goods. The mover may place them in storage
at your expense until the charges are paid.
If, before payment of the transportation charges, you discover
an error in the charges, you should attempt to correct the error
with the driver, the mover's local agent, or by contacting the
mover's main office. If an error is discovered after payment, you
should write the mover (the address will be on the freight bill)
explaining the error and request a refund.
Movers customarily check all shipment files and freight bills
after a move has been completed to make sure the charges were
accurate. If an overcharge is found, you will be notified and a
refund made. If an undercharge occurred, you will be billed for
the additional charges due.
PAYMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ON SHIPMENTS
TRANSPORTED ON TWO MORE VEHICLES
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 can require payment for each portion as it is
Movers are also permitted, but not required, to delay the
collection of all the charges until the entire shipment is
delivered. At the time you make the arrangements for your move,
you should ask the mover about its policies in this respect.
PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ON SHIPMENTS LOST OR
DESTROYED IN TRANSIT
Movers customarily make every effort to assure that while your
shipment is in their possession for transportation, no items are
lost, damaged or destroyed. However, despite the precautions
taken, articles are sometimes lost or destroyed during the move.
In addition to any money you may recover from the mover to
compensate for lost or destroyed articles, you are also entitled
to recover the transportation charges represented by the portion
of the shipment lost or destroyed.
On shipments with partial loss or destruction of goods, the
transportation charges must be paid. The mover will then return
proportional freight charges at the time loss and damage claims
are processed. Should your entire shipment be lost or destroyed
while in the mover's possession, the mover cannot require you to
pay any of the charges except the amount you have paid or agreed
to pay for added liability protection. The fact that you do not
pay any transportation charges does not affect any right you may
have to recover reimbursement for the lost or destroyed articles
providing you pay the charges for added liability protection.
FILING OF CLAIMS FOR LOSS AND DAMAGE OR DELAY AND DISPUTE
Should your move result in loss or damage to any of your
property, you have the right to file a claim with the mover to
recover money for such loss or damage.
You have nine months following either the date of delivery, or
the date on which the shipment should have been delivered, to
file a claim. However, you should file a claim as soon as
possible. If you fail to file a claim within 120 days following
delivery and later bring a legal action against the mover to
recover the damages, you may not be able to recover your attorney
fees even though you win the court action.
While the Federal Government maintains regulations governing
the processing of loss and damage claims, it cannot resolve those
claims. If you cannot settle a claim with the mover, you may file
a civil action to recover in court. In this connection, you may
obtain the name and address of the mover's agent for service of
legal process in your State by contacting the FHWA.
In addition, interstate movers are required to participate in
a Dispute Resolution Program which provides that certain types of
unresolved loss or damage claims must be submitted to a neutral
arbitrator for resolution. You may find submitting your claim to
arbitration under such a program to be a less expensive and more
convenient way to seek recovery of your claim. Movers are
required to advise all COD shippers of the existence and details
of the arbitration program before they accept a shipment to be
transported. If the mover does not provide you with information
about a dispute resolution program before you move, ask the mover
for the details of the program.
Should you have any questions about your move which are not
answered in this pamphlet, do not hesitate to ask the 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.
For further advice or assistance, contact the
Federal Highway Administration:
LICENSING & INSURANCE DIVISION (HIA-30)
OFFICE OF MOTOR CARRIER AND HIGHWAY SAFETY INFORMATION ANALYSIS
FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
400 VIRGINIA AVENUE, SW
WASHINGTON, DC 20024
GLOSSARY OF MOVING TERMINOLOGY
ACCESSORIAL (ADDITIONAL) SERVICES - services such as
packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, or piano stair carries
that you request to be performed (or are necessary because of
landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges
for these services are in addition to the transportation charges.
ADVANCED CHARGES - charges for services not performed
by the mover but instead by a professional, craftsman or other
third party at your request. The charges for these services are
paid for by the mover and added to your bill of lading charges.
AGENT - a local moving company authorized to act on
behalf of a larger, national company.
APPLIANCE SERVICE - preparation of major electrical
appliances to make them safe for shipment.
BILL OF LADING - the receipt for your goods and the
contract for their transportation. 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 that it is correct. The bill of lading is an
important document. Don't lose or misplace your copy.
BINDING/NON-BINDING ESTIMATE - a binding estimate is an
agreement made in advance with the mover that guarantees the
total cost of the move based on the quantities and services shown
on the estimate. A non-binding estimate is the carrier's
approximation of the cost based on the estimated weight of the
shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding
estimate is not binding on the carrier and the final charges will
be based on the actual weight and tariff provisions in effect.
CARRIER - the mover providing transportation of your
C.O.D. - transportation for an individual shipper for
which payment is required at the time of delivery at the
destination residence (or warehouse).
EXPEDITED SERVICE - an agreement with the mover to
perform transportation by a set date in exchange for charges
based on a higher minimum weight.
FLIGHT CHARGE - an extra charge for carrying items up
or down flights of stairs.
GUARANTEED PICKUP AND DELIVERY SERVICE - an additional
level of service whereby dates of service are guaranteed, with
the mover proving reimbursement for delays. This premium service
is often subject to minimum weight requirements.
HIGH VALUE ARTICLE - items included in a shipment that
are valued at more than $100 per pound.
INVENTORY - the detailed descriptive list of your
household goods showing the number and condition of each item.
LINEHAUL CHARGES - charges for the vehicle
transportation portion of your move. These charges apply in
addition to the additional service charges.
LONG CARRY - an added charge for carrying articles
excessive distances between the mover's vehicle and your
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 linehaul charges that are
applicable during the summer months.
PICKUP AND DELIVERY CHARGES - separate transportation
charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the SIT
warehouse and your residence.
SHUTTLE SERVICE - use of a smaller vehicle to provide
service to residences that are not accessible to the mover's
normal, larger linehaul equipment.
STORAGE-IN-TRANSIT (SIT) - temporary warehouse storage
of you shipment pending further transportation, for example, if
your new home isn't quite ready to occupy. You must specifically
request SIT service, which may not exceed a total of 90 days of
storage, and you will be responsible for the added charges for
SIT service, as well as the warehouse handling and final delivery
TARIFF - the mover's required, published price list of
rules, regulations, rates and charges for the performance of
interstate moving services.
VALUATION - the degree of "worth" of the
shipment. The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming
a greater degree of liability than that provided for in the base
WAREHOUSE HANDLING - an additional charge applicable
each time SIT service is provided. This charge compensates the
mover for the physical placement and removal of items within the
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Movers may give binding estimates.
- Non-binding estimates may not be accurate; actual charges
may often exceed the estimate.
- Specify pickup and delivery dates in the order for
- The Bill of Lading is your contract with the
mover... READ IT CAREFULLY... If you have any questions
ask your mover.
- Be sure that you understand the extent of your mover's
liability for loss and damage.
- You have the right to be present each time your shipment
- You may request a reweigh of your shipment.
- If you have moved on a non-binding estimate, you should
have enough cash or a certified check to pay the
estimated cost of your move plus 10 percent more at time
- Unresolved claims for loss or damage may be submitted to
arbitration; ask your mover for details.
Consumer Self-Help Pamphlets - Here are some phamplets to help you with: Transportation of personal automobiles/vehicles in interstate commerce; Obtaining payment from brokers for shipments transported in interstate commerce; Loss and damage claims on shipments transported in interstate commerce; Transportation of household goods in interstate commerce; Hostage load situations on shipments moving in interstate commerce; Leased motor vehicles in interstate commerce; Loading and unloading shipments transported in interstate commerce (lumping); and Rates and charges on shipments moving in interstate commerce.