The USMPO always stands by the FMCSA’s new initiatives, and aligns with their mission to improve CMV safety. While improving the customer service of the HHG transportation industry. USMPO acknowledges the presence of more than 5,000 licensed moving carriers and brokers, posing significant challenges in terms of regulation within this space. The USMPO provides transparent access to tools and resources to help shippers put into practice the initiatives of the FMCSA.
As part of their plan to combat moving scams prior to summer’s peak season,
On April 4th 2023, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration unveiled “Operation Protect Your Move”. FMCSA launched this operation to address an increase in consumer complaints regarding movers. Who hold household goods hostage and charge excessive fees.
As part of this intervention, authorities will deploy a substantial number of investigators and examiners across the US.
The FMCSA will investigate any complaints against moving companies that do not abide by federal laws and regulations. As well as safety and consumer protection standards when transporting household goods.
This initiative targets both brokers and movers who falsely promise they can connect customers. With local movers but in reality take part in fraudulent practices that lead to scams that lead to fraud.
Learn about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by continuing reading.
What is FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration)?
The FMCSA is part of the United States Department of Transportation and exists to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths involving large commercial motor vehicles. Bus companies and other motor passenger carriers on our nation’s roadways.
To meet its mission, FMCSA utilizes the Safety Measurement System (SMS) for evaluating on-road performance. Furthermore, CMV safety standards are set and pertinent data about safety is collected within commercial trucking sectors.
The FMCSA regulates CMV drivers who engage in certain intrastate and interstate commerce activities. Regulations designed to ensure that drivers of buses and trucks possess valid Commercial Driver’s Licenses, that their vehicles meet safety standards, and that they have registered in the Federal Register with USDOT Numbers. FMCSA regulations can be found both in the Federal Register and U.S.CFR. FMCSA promotes safe vehicle operation through the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Compliance Safety Accountability Program (CSA), and state enforcement initiatives.
The FMCSA oversees driver qualifications:
vehicle maintenance standards, and safety regulations for commercial drivers and carriers. They limit both how long drivers may drive without taking a break as well as total hours per day that they may legally operate their trucks legally – an acronym in this industry known as HOS, or hours of service.
To prevent long driving hours that pose high risks, the hours are recorded using an electronic logging system (ELD). The FMCSA stipulates that CMV operators’s must obtain adequate and sufficient insurance for their vehicles.
The Administration is dedicated to improving road and highway safety. Their regulations ensure that drivers, motor carriers and vehicles adhere to all relevant safety standards; additionally they conduct regular safety assessments and ratings of each vehicle on our roads and highways.
The FMCSA works collaboratively with state agencies, police officials and other stakeholders in order to promote safe driving habits through roadside inspections, data collection and eliminating unsafe vehicles nationwide – with an ultimate aim of decreasing deaths from CMV-related collisions. The FMCSA and its partner agencies collaborate to keep our roads safe for all.
Who are FMCSA regulations designed to cover?
The FMCSA regulates interstate moving companies to help protect you from scammers. Before making your final decision, obtain an estimate and check whether the company has registered with FMCSA.
FMCSA regulations encompass interstate and intrastate motor carriers, freight forwarders/brokers, intermodal equipment suppliers, hazardous material shippers and any other entities providing transportation services.
FMCSA regulates both private and for-hire motor carriers as well as cargo van operators within this category, as well as their drivers’ registration, service hours, alcohol/drug testing results, medical certification requirements and employment qualifications.
The FMCSA establishes safety standards and enforces regulations regarding CMVs, providing critical public protection while decreasing the risks of accidents involving large trucks and buses. FMCSA works closely with state governments in order to ensure motor carriers operating in those states adhere to both federal and state regulations. As the operating authority, FMCSA works together with them and ensures compliance.
The FMCSA is committed to improving CMV safety and compliance on America’s highways. Through its enforcement program, they ensure commercial motor carrier operators’s comply with relevant regulations while operating safely and complying with applicable laws.
Drivers’ drug and alcohol tests for controlled substances.
FMCSA regulations mandate that CMV drivers. Who fall under its drug and alcohol testing policies, must undergo drug tests before they are hired.
Random drug tests are conducted during employment. Following an accident, or whenever there is reasonable suspicion that CMV drivers have been using drugs while on duty.
If there is reasonable suspicion that a driver was drinking while on duty or within eight hours after an incident occurred, they must submit to alcohol testing by providing a urine sample for testing.
The FMCSA mandates that CMV drivers submit to at least one testing session annually and at least 50% must take two or more tests during any single year.
Employers must abide by FMCSA regulations by creating and implementing an alcohol and drug testing program that fulfills agency requirements.
FMCSA Regulations Specific to Moving
The FMCSA plans to introduce regulations in June 2022 in order to help consumers avoid common moving mistakes, particularly those related to brokers and non asset-based moving companies that transport household goods between states.
“Ready to Move?” publication has been revised and simplified for your convenience.
Authorities have established increased penalties for untrustworthy brokers and movers, imposing a minimum of roughly 2,000 dollars per civil offense.
Prior to implementing these enhanced consumer protections, there had been no significant rule changes in this area for nearly a decade.
What protections does USMPO and FMCSA provide movers?
The USMPO provides a plethora of tools and resources to protect, inform, and coordinate shippers. Most notably. The USMPO has publicly released a database of standardized rates in efforts to provide consumers price transparency and assistance in determining. The true cost of the loading, handling, and transportation of your items. Moving rates at the state level rely on labor wages, fuel costs, state taxes, market demand, and tolls specific to the route to determine their formulation and standardization. Although an individual company’s rate can be higher due to their availability and additional services provided. The rate should never be lower than the base rate.
Recent years have seen an unprecedented influx of moving agents, due mainly to the Internet.
Brokers in transportation act as intermediaries between traditional moving companies and their customers. Without employing moving crews or possessing assets such as trucks and warehouses themselves, brokers act as an “middleman”. Broker business models can have many drawbacks, even though they’re not necessarily wrong.
Moving companies and brokers were not always subject to uniform regulations in terms of enforcement; thus they often required deposits exceeding 50% of estimated total move cost before accepting work from moving companies or brokers. Now however, brokers frequently demand deposits exceeding this figure as part of their services.
Most traditional moving companies do not require deposits for services rendered.
Unfortunately, many brokers lack written policies regarding refunds. Cancellations and deposits; or if they do exist they are often hidden away in small print. Deposit mills are moving and brokerage services that engage in fraudulent practices with clients to steal deposits without their knowledge. Often earning significant income through this scam. The best way to protect yourself against this is to use a moving escrow service.
Before June 2022, Orders for Service were necessary when transporting household goods across state lines. But now they’re no longer necessary. Consumer protection regulations no longer apply, however. Instead, the bill of lading should include all information that was previously on an order for services.
Bills of Lading Are King
Carriers (movers and brokers) issue Bills of Lading (BOLs) to shippers (customers). FMCSA regulations now mandate BOLs include all relevant move data excluding that which remains unknown such as shipment weight. To ensure consumers have sufficient time for review and signature, it is necessary to sign and date Bills of Lading three days prior to the scheduled loading day.
Customers could once cancel late with no penalty; now, however, they have three days after signing the bill-of-lading to cancel or “rescind” without incurring fees or deposits as cancellation penalties.
Customers should be informed and aware of their rights as customers.
The USMPO recommends to go beyond knowing your rights, and arming yourself. With the tools and resources offered by a moving assistant. Lets face it, most people who are about to move their whole lives will not spend days looking through federal protocols and legal frameworks governing transportation providers. That’s where the USMPO comes in.
An organization dedicated to protecting shippers and cleaning up the bad actors of the industry.
Carriers and brokers are required to inform customers about Their Rights and Responsibilities when Moving (YR&RTW). Since orders for service no longer apply on interstate moves. Brokers and movers without physical documents available must either link directly to FMCSA’s website, or display an accurate reproduction on their websites. Moving or broker companies must produce signed and dated receipts as proof they’ve met this obligation and be aware of who’s responsible for paying them.
Customers cannot be forced to sign blank forms.
The best way to avoid yourself from being tricked is to use a USMPO certified moving assistant. They are fully in charge of coordinating moves and will be your designated point of contact. In this manner, you can avoid the need to communicate with the truck driver, the loading crew, or any other party with a financial incentive to overcharge you.
Consumers who possess common sense would not willingly sign incomplete documents or blank ones unless compelled to do so by companies. However, FMCSA regulations strictly prohibit companies from coercing customers into signing blank forms. Customers are only allowed to sign incomplete documents when the missing information is indeterminable or unknown.
Included information should include the actual volume and delivery dates for customers who do not yet know when they will take ownership.
Before 2022, moving companies and brokers had to perform physical surveys if their offices were within 50 miles of a customer residence. No longer may customers avail themselves of distance exemption, and must submit to physical or virtual surveys unless they request exemption in writing. Physical surveys include video surveys to enable moving company representatives to see all items belonging to customers. Voice-only surveys cannot count as physical surveys since they require video footage.
What you can do to protect yourself against moving scams
FMCSA regulations for moving companies and brokers aim to protect consumers by providing more precise estimates and more precise information. These regulations should help to reduce moving scams and enhance transparency at moving firms. What we know for sure about unscrupulous brokers and movers is that they always find ways to work around rules.
You can contact the USMPO to access resources to protect yourself from moving fraud. The most notable tool is the “Find your rate tool”. The USMPO has developed a centralized database of standardized rates in efforts to provide consumers price transparency and assistance in determining. The true cost of the loading, handling, and transportation of your items. By knowing your rate, you are armed with information that can protect you from bait and switch sales tactics.
Another way to protect yourself is by using an escrow service. All USMPO certified carriers have agreed with confidence to get paid after their service is completed. Instead of paying large cash payments directly to the company that will also have all your belongings, the USMPO will help you distribute funds based on milestones of completion throughout the move.
Contact the USMPO to work with a relocation assistant and access resources to protect your move today.
The USMPO is an independent trade organization established in response to the FMCSA’s request to enhance CMV safety. I densifying fraudulent moving companies and improving record keeping. Its purpose is to serve, protect, and educate consumers in the moving industry. The USMPO is a sovereign entity, separate from the DOT, FMCSA, and U.S. government.