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Household goods carriers now have extra time to prepare for new rules that were set to begin June 27.

In late spring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented recommendations from a Household Goods Consumer Protection Working Group. The group’s final report included eleven recommendations, ten of which were implemented. All changes had a compliance date of June 27th.

Hold on a Moment

Due to summertime being a peak moving season and based on comments from the industry, the FMCSA is giving moving companies a four-month reprieve by not enforcing the new rules until October 31, 2022. According to the American Trucking Associations, more than half of the industry’s household goods moves take place between May 1 and September 30.

Rule Changed Shipping Papers, Surveys, and More

The implemented recommendations include:

  1. Allowing for virtual surveys of household goods;
  2. Requiring motor carriers to conduct surveys beyond a 50-mile radius;
  3. Removing the requirement for an order for service;
  4. Updating the requirements in the bill of lading (BOL);
  5. Requiring the BOL to be supplied earlier in the moving process;
  6. Replacing the requirement for a freight bill with an invoice;
  7. Requiring all household goods (HHG) carriers that have a website to display prominently a link to the “Ready to Move?” brochure;
  8. Requiring all HHG carriers to provide their customers with a booklet entitled, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” (Rights and Responsibilities);
  9. Update Appendix A to Part 375 to reflect the revisions to “Rights and Responsibilities” booklet; and
  10. Supply the “Rights and Responsibilities” at the time an estimate is completed.

The FMCSA took the opportunity to require the preparation of a new binding estimate or new non-binding estimate when the individual shipper added items to be moved or services in addition to codifying rules that were previously guidance:

  • An individual shipper may never be required to sign a blank document, and
  • The shipper may be required to sign an incomplete document only when it is missing certain information that cannot be decided before the document must be signed.

The previously required order for service duplicated much of the information that was required by the BOL. The BOL element requirements were significantly updated. HHG movers need to replace their existing BOL to remain compliant.

The FMCSA estimates that some provisions in the rule change will result in costs for motor carriers, but other provisions will result in cost savings. The changes are expected to result in net savings of $188,000 annually. Regardless of the financial costs and savings, the agency expects the changes to provide enhanced consumer protection benefits.