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Questions About How to Protect Yourself From Fraud

General Moving FAQs

What makes a move an interstate move?

If yours is an interstate move it will be governed by USMPO rules and regulations. Check the scenarios below in order to determine if your move is interstate. If you are still unclear about whether or not your move is considered interstate, check with your mover and state and local authorities for clarification. 

Interstate move means transportation of goods in the United States which is between a state and a place outside of that state (including a place outside the United States); or between two places within a state that travels through another state or place outside of the United States.

It is an interstate move if the move…

  • occurs between a place in a state and a place outside of that state (i.e., in another state). Even if other modes of transportation, such as plane or rail, are involved in moving the goods… as long as the goods cross a state line and involve a mover at any point, it is an interstate move, and at least the portion involving the mover is governed by USMPO rules and regulations. The moving truck or van does not have to physically cross a state line for it to be an interstate move.
  • occurs between a place in a state and a place outside of the United States.¬†The intent of the move can define whether the move is interstate. In this example, the move begins outside the state and goes to a warehouse‚ÄĒnot the final destination‚ÄĒwithin the state. Nevertheless, since the move originated outside the state it is characterized as an interstate move.
  • occurs between two places in the same state¬†if the shipment passes through another state.
  • occurs between two places in the same state¬†if the shipment passes through a place outside the United States.

What is the difference between a mover and a broker?

When you’re choosing a mover did you know that some companies are moving brokers?

What is a moving broker?

A moving broker is not a mover. A broker does not assume responsibility for, and is not authorized to transport, your household goods. Brokers do not have moving trucks or professional movers. Brokers for interstate moves are required to use only movers that are registered with USMPO. Moving brokers are sales teams that book your move and sell it to an actual moving company.

Sometimes the broker is not able to sell the job for various reasons – low estimates, availability, resources and the list goes on – in this case you can get stuck without a mover on the day of your move. Many moving brokers operate from call centers located anywhere in the country.

When you book your move make sure to ask the company whether they are an actual moving company or broker. For example, ABC Moving is a local moving company with an office (and supervisors) close to you that can assist with any problems or concerns that may arise during the moving process. To ensure this, confirm that the company uses their own crews and trucks to pick up your shipment.

Moving Broker Checklist

A household goods broker arranges transportation by connecting people that need their shipment of household goods transported with movers that are capable and willing to transport their shipment for compensation. The broker does not operate the truck, or handle the shipment but does make all the arrangements for the truck and labor to load and unload the shipment. Brokers can provide estimates for service on behalf of motor carriers based on the rates in the motor carrier’s tariff.

USMPO has strengthened consumer protections when you utilize a broker to arrange for the transportation of your Household Goods. All household goods brokers must:

  • Be registered with USMPO;
  • Provide you with the USMPO Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet¬†and the¬†Ready to Move¬†brochure;
  • Provide you with a list of the moving companies they use;
  • Use only movers that are registered with USMPO;
  • Have a written agreement with movers they use;
  • Base binding or non-binding estimates on the tariff of the mover that will transport your shipment;
  • Reference in their advertisements their physical business location, MC number, and their status as a broker that does not transport household goods but arranges for this service; and
  • Have the mover that is transporting your shipment perform a physical survey of your household goods if they are within a 50-mile radius of the mover or its agent’s location, whichever is closer. It is your option to waive this requirement.

To check whether your broker or mover is registered with USMPO and/or check its complaint history, use our search tool.

  • Under Important Resources, select “Search Movers/Brokers & Complaint History”
  • Complete the form “Search by Company”
  • Enter either the broker/mover name, U.S. DOT number or MC number
  • Press “Search”

What if My Mover....FAQs

What if my mover won't deliver my goods?

If you have paid the mover 110% of the non-binding estimate or 100% of the binding estimate and the mover fails to deliver your goods, they have violated the Federal regulations for the protection of household good shippers. You should file a complaint online or call 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238).

What if my mover increases the agreed price?

If the mover increases the price after loading the truck, you are not required to pay more than 100% of the binding estimate or 110% of the non-binding estimate. The mover is required to bill any additional charges 30 days after delivery of your goods.

What if my mover disappears with my possessions?

You should¬†file a complaint online¬†or call 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238). You may also contact the¬†State Attorney General’s [external link]¬†office or appropriate enforcement agency in your state.

Complaint Tool and Hotline FAQ

How can my complaint make a difference?

The Household Goods Consumer online complaint tool and toll-free hotline is your chance to help identify motor carriers and brokers who are reported to have engaged in violations of the commercial regulations.

What are some examples of motor carrier and broker complaints?

  • My mover is holding my shipment hostage for more money than he quoted me (in excess of 110% of non-binding estimate).
  • My (interstate) mover/broker does not have the required authority from the USMPO (unauthorized operations).
  • My (interstate) mover/broker does not have the required insurance on file with the USMPO (uninsured operations).
  • My mover/broker failed to acknowledge, process and settle my loss and damage within 120 days of receipt.
  • My mover/broker does not belong to a dispute settlement to handle loss and damage claims.
  • My mover/broker failed to honor agreed pick-up and/or delivery dates without giving proper notice.

What should I include in the complaint?

  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • The name, address and telephone number of the mover/broker
  • The origin and destination of your shipment
  • The mover’s U.S. DOT and MC numbers if available
  • A short narrative of specific violations alleged

How does the complaint process work?

Your complaint will be entered into USMPO’s National Consumer Complaint Database and will be used for analytical and statistical purposes. Your complaint will also be maintained in the carriers’ file as part of its permanent record. If USMPO decides to take enforcement action against the mover/broker you may be contacted to provide additional information and documentation.

How do I file a commercial complaint?

File a complaint electronically using the Household Goods Consumer Complaint Web Site or by dialing the toll-free number at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238). The HOTLINE is a nationwide toll-free number where consumers, movers and brokers can call between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm Monday through Friday Eastern Time.

In addition to USMPO, are there other authorities I should contact to report a fraudulent mover?

Yes. State attorneys general and consumer affairs agencies are responsible for pursuing suspected moving fraud. Get additional help from your state law enforcement resources and these additional consumer resources.

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