The first move, when moving, is to visit www.ProtectYourMove.gov
Research interstate moving companies, obtain consumer protection information, read and file complaints
The US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a newly designed website with resources to help consumers protect themselves from fraudulent or unscrupulous interstate household goods moving companies.
The website -- www.ProtectYourMove.gov -- includes a user-friendly database that allows visitors to look up interstate moving companies by state or by name and to review both the consumer complaint history as well as the company's on-road safety performance records. A new feature of the website allows state consumer protection agencies to easily update state contact information for shippers who have questions about household goods movers.
The www.ProtectYourMove.gov website features a new public service announcement, "Don't Be a Victim," that focuses on ways consumer can prevent moving fraud.
"If you are planning an interstate move, your first stop should be the ProtectYourMove website," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "You can avoid rogue movers by following the important advice provided at www.ProtectYourMove.gov."
"Moving companies that ignore consumers' rights are just as likely to ignore federal safety regulations that protect everyone who shares the roads with them," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "The ProtectYourMove database allows consumers to not only look up a company's complaint history, but also its safety record and how it compares to companies nationally. I strongly urge that safety be a principal factor in deciding who to employ to transport your possessions."
More than 40 million Americans entrust their household goods to moving companies every year. While the majority of movers are reputable, consumers need to be aware of how to avoid those who are not.
The website contains resources covering consumer rights -- and responsibilities -- for individuals employing an interstate moving company. Additional material includes tips for spotting rogue movers, checklists for consumers and information written in plain English outlining all federal regulations and policies that govern interstate moves.
Five facts every consumer should know to avoid being taken advantage of by a rogue mover are:
* Obtain several written estimates following an actual on-site inspection; do not accept an estimate given over the phone or via the Internet;
* Check the www.ProtectYourMove.gov website, or local, state or federal government agencies, to make sure the mover is registered and insured;
* Check the mover's complaint history on www.ProtectYourMove.gov with local consumer advocacy groups and moving industry associations;
* Don't hire a mover based solely on the cheapest price; and
* Make sure the mover gives you a copy of the booklet "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," as required by federal regulations for state-to-state moves.
Consumers can report unsafe and poor performing moving companies by calling FMCSA's nationwide complaint hotline at 1-888-368-7238 (1-888 DOT-SAFT) or by visiting www.ProtectYourMove.gov.