A recent move by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) is expected to affect relocation company operations and moving services brokers in the country. According to reports, the FMCSA has amended its rules to require brokers who arrange household goods interstate and foreign commerce transport to provide higher levels of consumer protection.
Based on the changes implemented by the agency, moving services brokers will be required to provide their U.S. Department of Transportation numbers in advertisements and web sites. Estimated service fees and brokerage rates should also be included in these information resources. The agency further required brokers to include pamphlets from the FMCSA that contain successful moving tips, consumer responsibilities and rights and the policies of the brokerage firm on refunds, cancellations and deposits.
The amendments, which will take effect on January 28, 2011, also require brokers to increase the trust funds or surety bonds they offer to the minimum required amount of $25,000. These changes are expected to affect all areas of household moving services, including relocation company operations.
Furthermore, new rules also state that surety firms and trust funds should submit BMC-84 and 85 Forms by January 1, 2012 to the FMCSA. The surety bond provision was first established by the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1936 with the specified amount of $5,000. According to agency sources, the changes were made to ensure higher level of consumer protection.
Moreover, the FMCSA is said to have implemented the requirements as part of its efforts to comply with the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. The move is also said to be in response to the rule-making petition filed by the American Moving and Storage Association. In addition, the amendments aim to ensure that shippers who specialize in arranging household goods transportation with the use of broker services will have the necessary information with regards to their responsibilities and rights.
Relocation company operators and moving industry brokers are expected to make adjustments to their operations to comply with the amended rules. The changes are reportedly designed to further improve the condition of foreign and interstate commerce and provide safety and assurance to customers.