U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Nov 30, 2022

LIABILITY CONSIDERATIONS

§ 375.201 - What is my normal liability for loss and damage when I accept goods from an individual shipper?

(a) In general, you are legally liable for loss or damage if it happens during performance of any transportation of household goods and all related services identified on your lawful bill of lading.

(b) Full Value Protection Obligation - In general, your liability is for the household goods that are lost, damaged, destroyed, or otherwise not delivered to the final destination in an amount equal to the replacement value of the household goods. The maximum amount is the declared value of the shipment. The declared value is subject to rules issued by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and applicable tariffs.

(c) If the shipper waives, in writing, your liability for the full value of the household goods, then you are liable for loss of, or damage to, any household goods to the extent provided in the STB released rates order. Contact the STB for a current copy of the Released Rates of Motor Carrier Shipments of Household Goods. The rate may be increased annually by the motor carrier based on the U.S. Department of Commerce's Cost of Living Adjustment.

(d) As required by § 375.303(c)(5), you may have additional liability if you sell liability insurance and fail to issue a copy of the insurance policy or other appropriate evidence of insurance.

(e) You must, in a clear and concise manner, disclose to the individual shipper the limits of your liability.

[68 FR 35091, June 11, 2003, as amended at 72 FR 36771, July 5, 2007; 80 FR 59071, Oct. 1, 2015]

§ 375.203 - What actions of an individual shipper may limit or reduce my normal liability?

(a) If an individual shipper includes perishable, dangerous, or hazardous articles in the shipment without your knowledge, you need not assume liability for those articles or for the loss or damage caused by their inclusion in the shipment. If the shipper requests that you accept such articles for transportation, you may elect to limit your liability for any loss or damage by appropriately published tariff provisions.

(b) If an individual shipper agrees to ship household goods released at a value greater than 60 cents per pound ($1.32 per kilogram) per article, your liability for loss and damage may be limited to $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram) per article if the individual shipper fails to notify you in writing of articles valued at more than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram).

(c) If an individual shipper notifies you in writing that an article valued at greater than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram) will be included in the shipment, the shipper will be entitled to full recovery up to the declared value of the article or articles, not to exceed the declared value of the entire shipment.

GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES

§ 375.205 - May I have agents?

(a) You may have agents provided you comply with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. A household goods agent is defined as either one of the following two types of agents:

(1) A prime agent provides a transportation service for you or on your behalf, including the selling of, or arranging for, a transportation service. You permit or require the agent to provide services under the terms of an agreement or arrangement with you. A prime agent does not provide services on an emergency or temporary basis. A prime agent does not include a household goods broker or freight forwarder.

(2) An emergency or temporary agent provides origin or destination services on your behalf, excluding the selling of, or arranging for, a transportation service. You permit or require the agent to provide such services under the terms of an agreement or arrangement with you. The agent performs such services only on an emergency or temporary basis.

(b) If you have agents, you must have written agreements between you and your prime agents. You and your retained prime agent must sign the agreements.

(c) Copies of all your prime agent agreements must be in your files for a period of at least 24 months following the date of termination of each agreement.

§ 375.207 - What items must be in my advertisements?

(a) You and your agents must publish and use only truthful, straightforward, and honest advertisements.

(b) You must include, and you must require each of your agents to include, in all advertisements for all services (including any accessorial services incidental to or part of interstate household goods transportation), the following two elements:

(1) Your name or trade name, as it appears on our document assigning you a U.S. DOT number, or the name or trade name of the motor carrier under whose operating authority the advertised service will originate.

(2) Your U.S. DOT number, assigned by us authorizing you to operate as a for-hire motor carrier transporting household goods.

(c) Your FMCSA-assigned U.S. DOT number must be displayed only in the following form in every advertisement: U.S. DOT No. (assigned number).

§ 375.209 - How must I handle complaints and inquiries?

(a) You must establish and maintain a procedure for responding to complaints and inquiries from your individual shippers.

(b) Your procedure must include all three of the following items:

(1) A communications system allowing individual shippers to communicate with your principal place of business by telephone.

(2) A telephone number.

(3) A system for recording in writing all inquiries and complaints received from an individual shipper by any means of communication.

(c) You must produce a clear and concise written description of your procedure for distribution to individual shippers.

[68 FR 35091, June 11, 2003, as amended at 77 FR 36934, June 20, 2012; 77 FR 59824, Oct. 1, 2012; 83 FR 16224, Apr. 16, 2018]

§ 375.211 - Must I have an arbitration program?

(a) You must have an arbitration program for individual shippers to resolve disputes about property loss and damage and disputes about whether carrier charges in addition to those collected at delivery must be paid. You must establish and maintain an arbitration program with the following 11 minimum elements:

(1) You must design your arbitration program to prevent you from having any special advantage in any case where the claimant resides or does business at a place distant from your principal or other place of business.

(2) Before execution of the bill of lading, you must provide notice to the individual shipper of the availability of neutral arbitration, including all three of the following items:

(i) A summary of the arbitration procedure.

(ii) Any applicable costs.

(iii) A disclosure of the legal effects of election to use arbitration.

(3) Upon the individual shipper's request, you must provide information and forms you consider necessary for initiating an action to resolve a dispute under arbitration.

(4) You must require each person you authorize to arbitrate to be independent of the parties to the dispute and capable of resolving such disputes, and you must ensure the arbitrator is authorized and able to obtain from you or the individual shipper any material or relevant information to carry out a fair and expeditious decisionmaking process.

(5) You must not charge the individual shipper more than one-half of the total cost for instituting the arbitration proceeding against you. In the arbitrator's decision, the arbitrator may determine which party must pay the cost or a portion of the cost of the arbitration proceeding, including the cost of instituting the proceeding.

(6) You must refrain from requiring the individual shipper to agree to use arbitration before a dispute arises.

(7) Arbitration must be binding for claims of $10,000 or less, if the individual shipper requests arbitration.

(8) Arbitration must be binding for claims of more than $10,000, if the individual shipper requests arbitration and the carrier agrees to it.

(9) If all parties agree, the arbitrator may provide for an oral presentation of a dispute by a party or representative of a party.

(10) The arbitrator must render a decision within 60 days of receipt of written notification of the dispute, and a decision by an arbitrator may include any remedies appropriate under the circumstances.

(11) The arbitrator may extend the 60-day period for a reasonable period if you or the individual shipper fail to provide, in a timely manner, any information the arbitrator reasonably requires to resolve the dispute.

(b) You must produce and distribute a concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your arbitration program, including the items in this section.

[68 FR 35091, June 11, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 10575, Mar. 5, 2004; 72 FR 36772, July 5, 2007; 87 FR 24446, Apr. 26, 2022]

§ 375.213 - What information must I provide to a prospective individual shipper?

(a) When you provide the written estimate to a prospective individual shipper, you must also provide the individual shipper with the following documents:

(1) The Department of Transportation (DOT) publication titled “Ready to Move? - Tips for a Successful Interstate Move” (DOT publication FMCSA-ESA-03-005, or its successor publication). You must provide the individual shipper with either a copy or provide a hyperlink on your internet website to the web page on the FMCSA website containing that publication.

(2) The contents of appendix A of this part, titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” (DOT publication FMCSA-ESA-03-006, or its successor publication). You must provide the individual shipper with either a copy or provide a hyperlink on your internet website to the web page on the FMCSA website with the publication “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”

(b) Before you execute a bill of lading for a shipment of household goods, you must furnish to your prospective individual shipper all four of the following documents:

(1) A concise, easy-to-read, accurate estimate of your charges.

(2) A notice of the availability of the applicable sections of your tariff for the estimate of charges, including an explanation that individual shippers may examine these tariff sections or have copies sent to them upon request.

(3) A concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your arbitration program.

(4) A concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your customer complaint and inquiry handling procedures. Included in this description must be both of the following two items:

(i) The main telephone number the individual shipper may use to communicate with you.

(ii) A clear and concise statement concerning who must pay for telephone calls.

(c) To comply with paragraph (b)(1) of this section, you must ensure that the text and general order of the document you produce and distribute to prospective individual shippers are consistent with the text and general order of appendix A to this part. The following three items also apply:

(1) If we, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, choose to modify the text or general order of appendix A, we will provide the public appropriate notice in the Federal Register and an opportunity for comment as required by part 389 of this chapter before making you change anything.

(2) If you publish the document, you may choose the dimensions of the publication as long as the type font size is 10 points or larger and the size of the booklet is at least as large as 36 square inches (232 square centimeters).

(3) If you publish the document, you may choose the color and design of the front and back covers of the publication. The following words must appear prominently on the front cover in 12-point or larger bold or full-faced type: “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. Furnished by Your Mover, as Required by Federal Law.” You may substitute your name or trade name in place of “Your Mover” if you wish (for example, Furnished by XYZ Van Lines, as Required by Federal Law).

(d) Paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this section do not apply to exact copies of appendix A published in the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, or on FMCSA's Web site.

(e) If you have a website, you are required to display prominently either a link to the DOT publication titled “Ready to Move? - Tips for a Successful Interstate Move” (DOT publication FMCSA-ESA-03-005, or its successor publication) on the FMCSA website or a true and accurate copy of that document on your website.

(f) If an individual shipper elects to access the Federal consumer protection information via the hyperlink on the internet as provided in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section:

(1) You must obtain a signed, dated receipt showing the individual shipper has received either or both of the publications that includes verification of the shipper's agreement to access the Federal consumer protection information on the internet.

(2) You must maintain the signed receipt required by paragraph (f)(1) of this section for one year from the date the individual shipper signs the receipt. You are not required to maintain the signed receipt when you do not actually transport household goods or perform related services for the individual shipper who signed the receipt.

[72 FR 36772, July 5, 2007, as amended at 75 FR 72998, Nov. 29, 2010; 77 FR 41704, Nov. 13, 2012; 83 FR 16224, Apr. 16, 2018; 87 FR 24446, Apr. 26, 2022]
COLLECTING TRANSPORTATION CHARGES

§ 375.215 - How must I collect charges?

You must issue an honest, truthful invoice that includes all the information required by subpart A of part 373 of this chapter. All rates and charges for the transportation and related services must be in accordance with your appropriately published tariff provisions in effect, including the method of payment.

[87 FR 24447, Apr. 26, 2022]

§ 375.217 - How must I collect charges upon delivery?

(a) You must specify the form of payment when you prepare the estimate. You and your agents must honor the form of payment at delivery, except when a shipper agrees to a change in writing.

(b) You must specify the same form of payment provided in paragraph (a) of this section when you prepare the bill of lading.

(c) Charge or credit card payments:

(1) If you agree to accept payment by charge or credit card, you must arrange with the individual shipper for the delivery only at a time when you can obtain authorization for the shipper's credit card transaction.

(2) Paragraph (c)(1) of this section does not apply to you when you have equipped your motor vehicle(s) to process card transactions.

(d) You may maintain a tariff setting forth nondiscriminatory rules governing collect-on-delivery service and the collection of collect-on-delivery funds.

(e) If an individual shipper pays you at least 110 percent of the approximate costs of a non-binding estimate on a collect-on-delivery shipment, you must relinquish possession of the shipment at the time of delivery.

[68 FR 35091, June 11, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 10575, Mar. 5, 2004; 87 FR 24447, Apr. 26, 2022]

§ 375.219 - May I extend credit to shippers?

You may extend credit to shippers, but, if you do, it must be in accordance with § 375.807.

§ 375.221 - May I use a charge or credit card plan for payments?

(a) You may provide in your tariff for the acceptance of charge or credit cards for the payment of freight charges. Accepting charge or credit card payments is different than extending credit to shippers in §§ 375.219 and 375.807. Once you provide an estimate you are bound by the provisions in your tariff regarding payment as of the estimate date, until completion of any transaction that results from that estimate, unless otherwise agreed with a shipper under § 375.217(a).

(b) You may accept charge or credit cards whenever shipments are transported under agreements and tariffs requiring payment by cash, certified check, money order, or a cashier's check.

(c) If you allow an individual shipper to pay an invoice by charge or credit card, you are deeming such payment to be the same as payment by cash, certified check, money order, or a cashier's check.

(d) The charge or credit card plans you participate in must be identified in your tariff rules as items permitting the acceptance of the charge or credit cards.

(e) If an individual shipper causes a charge or credit card issuer to reverse a charge transaction, you may consider the individual shipper's action tantamount to forcing you to provide an involuntary extension of your credit. In such instances, the rules in § 375.807 apply.

[68 FR 35091, June 11, 2003, as amended at 87 FR 24447, Apr. 26, 2022]