The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the launch of a new "Consumer Checklist" to assist consumers in choosing a responsible interstate moving company. The free checklist, available on FMCSA's www.ProtectYourMove.gov website, will help consumers protect themselves from fraudulent or dishonest interstate household goods movers.
"Household goods are precious cargo for families across the country, representing so many important memories and milestones," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This new checklist will give consumers the tips they need to protect their move and make good decisions when selecting a moving company."
The checklist offers tips on the important steps consumers should take before hiring a moving company, including researching the interstate moving companies' consumer complaint history as well as the company's on-road safety performance records.
"Price isn't the only factor one should consider when hiring a moving company. After going through the checklist, consumers should feel confident they know how to locate a company that is reliable, safe and responsible," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.
During 2011, FMCSA received 2,851 consumer complaints about household goods movers, up from 2,440 in 2010. Among the most common complaints are shipments being held hostage; loss, damage or delay of shipments; unauthorized movers; and deceptive practices such as overcharges.
Nationwide, the cities where consumers filed the most complaints between October 2010 and September 2011 about interstate shipments that originated there were , in order, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, San Antonio, TX, Philadelphia and Phoenix.
By going to the Protect Your Move website, consumers can use a database to look up a company's complaint history and safety records to compare companies nationally. The website contains resources about consumer rights -- and responsibilities -- for individuals employing an interstate moving company. Additional material includes tips for spotting rogue movers, and information written in plain English outlining all federal regulations and policies that govern interstate moves.
More than 5662 household goods moving companies are registered with FMCSA. While the majority of movers are reputable, consumers need to be aware of how to avoid those who are not.
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.