Many consumer complaints received by Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs concern moves which cross the Florida state line. Any move to or from Palm Beach County from another state is considered an InTERstate move. Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs has no regulatory authority over interstate moves. Assistance is available through the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for Interstate moving problems/issues.
The following is a summary of a brochure available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The full text can be found on the Internet at:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation is responsible for regulating interstate household goods moving companies. All interstate moving companies are required to be registered with that agency.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities Before Selecting an Interstate Moving Company
Before moving your goods, movers are required to give you a brochure and booklet entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. They provide basic information that will help you understand the documents the mover will ask you to sign. The booklet also explains your rights if your household goods are lost or damaged by the mover. Copies of the brochure and booklet can be downloaded from http://www.protectyourmove.gov, which has additional helpful consumer information.
Use ONLY REGISTERED Interstate Moving Companies
Make sure the interstate mover you select has been assigned a USDOT number and is registered with FMCSA to engage in interstate transportation of household goods and has proper insurance. You can determine if an interstate mover is registered with FMCSA by accessing http://www.protectyourmove.gov, or calling FMCSA at (202) 366-9805 for licensing and (202) 385-2423 for insurance.
Read and understand ALL information provided by the interstate mover.
The interstate moving company should provide you with the following basic documents as part of your move:
The estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover. Do not accept oral estimates.
Order for Service
The order for service is a list of all the services the mover will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered.
Bill of Lading
The bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover and a receipt of your belongings. You should be given a partially completed copy of the bill of lading before the vehicle leaves the residence at origin.
Remember: Do NOT sign blank paper work or documents you do not understand
The inventory is the receipt showing each item you shipped and its condition. Be sure you receive a written copy of the inventory after your household goods are loaded and that you agree with its description of your household goods' condition.
What if There Is a Problem?
Dispute Settlement Program for Interstate Moves
Before moving your household goods, interstate moving companies are required to provide you with information regarding their dispute settlement program. Movers must offer a neutral arbitration program as a means of settling disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage of your household goods.
Loss or Damage of Goods on Interstate Moves
If your goods are damaged or missing at delivery, request a company claim form from the mover. Complete the claim form to the best of your ability. The mover will tell you where to mail the completed form. You must file a written claim with the mover within nine months of delivery. Your claim must be in writing but does not have to be submitted on a mover's claim form. It is suggested that you send the claims information to the mover by certified mail.
If you are not satisfied with the settlement offer made by an interstate mover, you have the option of submitting a loss and damage claim with the carrier's dispute settlement program or to seek other legal remedies.
Applicable Transportation Charges
The charges an interstate moving company assesses for its services must be contained in a published tariff, which must be made available to you upon request. If you feel that a mover has overcharged you, you can contact the Federal Surface Transportation Board at (866) 254-1792 to obtain assistance.
Filing a complaint
FMCSA does not have authority to resolve individual claims against an interstate moving company. However, you can file a complaint against the mover by visiting www.protectyourmove.gov or calling (888) 368-7238 (1-888-DOT-SAFT) Monday - Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST. Your complaint may trigger a Federal enforcement investigation against the mover.
Useful Web Sites and Telephone Numbers for InTERstate moves
The official FMCSA Website:
To obtain a copy of "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" brochure:
To determine if an interstate moving company is registered with FMCSA:
, or call (202) 366-9805
To obtain information about an interstate mover, broker, or freight forwarder's insurance and process agent:
, or call (202) 385-2423
To determine if an interstate carrier has assessed the correct transportation charges:
Call the Surface Transportation Board at (866) 254-1792
To file a complaint against an interstate mover:
, or call FMCSA at (888) 368-7238 (1-888-DOT-SAFT) Monday - Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST
To learn more about interstate movers and transportation from the industry association:
(Private agency - American Moving & Storage Association)