Three household goods moving companies are facing civil penalty fines of $25,000 each as a result of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforcement sweep which took place in nine major U.S. cities from March 14-18, 2011. The companies are Guardian Moving & Storage of Los Angeles, California; Lightning Van Lines, Inc. of San Leandro, California; and Viking Moving and Storage, Inc. of Oakland, California.
The sweep, in which 37 FMCSA and state investigators conducted compliance reviews of 67 moving companies, was part of the agency's year-round Household Goods Strike Force initiative designed to protect the public from fraudulent moving companies. The sweep targeted high-risk moving companies in Los Angeles and San Jose, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia.
"We are committed to protecting the public from unscrupulous movers that attempt to operate unsafely," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We want these carriers to know that there are serious legal and financial consequences for evading federal regulations."
The comprehensive compliance reviews conducted by federal and state investigators looked for regulatory violations such as failing to relinquish possession of a household goods shipment (hostage load), collecting fees more than the original binding estimate and failing to provide consumers with an arbitration process.
"FMCSA is committed to raising the bar for safety and closing cases on rogue household goods movers," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "We will do this by keeping the focus on safety and on improving service to the American public, one safe and successful move at a time."
Consumers can report problems with moving companies by calling FMCSA's nationwide complaint hotline at 1-888-368-7238 (1-888 DOT-SAFT) or by visiting http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.
FMCSA also encourages consumers planning a move to visit FMCSA's web site, www.protectyourmove.gov, which provides information on the public's rights and responsibilities on how to plan a successful move and allows consumers to search movers' complaint history.