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FMCSA takes action against movers for failing to return goods

FMCSA encourages consumers to file any complaints involving household goods or other commercial motor carriers through FMCSA's nationwide complaint hotline.

The Trucker News Services

12/5/2012

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Wednesday took action against two household movers the agency said had violated rules regarding the return of household goods.

The agency said it initiated a proceeding to suspend the operating authority registration of Peace of Mind Relocation Inc. following an agency Final Order issued Nov. 30 which determined that the mover held hostage household goods of individual shippers in violation of federal statutes and regulations.

The agency also ordered Trusted Moving and Storage d.b.a. Nationwide Top Movers (Trusted Moving and Storage) of Santa Clara, Calif., to return household goods to the original shippers.

The FMCSA's final agency order against Peace of Mind Relocation determined that the mover’s refusal to give up possession of the shippers' household goods constituted a knowing and willful failure to give up possession of the household goods in violation of its estimate and contract after the shippers tendered payment.

The order against Trusted Moving and Storage followed an extensive investigation of the company's operations which discovered that the company was holding hostage household goods of individual shippers and alleges violations of federal household goods motor carrier statutes and regulations. The order is the first time FMCSA has used new enforcement granted to the agency under the federal surface transportation reauthorization program known as MAP-21.

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FMCSA has also initiated a proceeding to suspend Trusted Moving and Storage's authority to operate in interstate commerce as a household goods motor carrier.

FMCSA discovered that the company had in its possession and control household goods from approximately 54 individual shippers, including household goods for which FMCSA alleges Trusted Moving and Storage had knowingly and willfully failed to give up possession in violation of its estimates and contracts after the shipper tendered payment. In addition, FMCSA revoked Trusted Moving and Storage's operating authority registration, effective Nov. 27, for failure to maintain compliance with federal financial responsibility requirements. Trusted Moving and Storage recently terminated many of its employees and has informed FMCSA that it intends to cease operations for financial reasons.

FMCSA is coordinating with local law enforcement and the Santa Clara District Attorney in conducting the investigation and taking the action.

"Consumers should not have to fear the loss of their property at the hands of non-compliant household goods movers," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

"Companies that violate federal regulations and take advantage of consumers will be held accountable and they will face serious legal and financial consequences."

FMCSA encourages consumers to file any complaints involving household goods or other commercial motor carriers through FMCSA's nationwide complaint hotline at (888) 368-7238 and to visit the National Consumer Complaints Database at http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.

"Ensuring that consumers can access safe, reputable household goods movers is a priority," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "We will continue to use every resource at our disposal to protect consumers."

The agency also encourages consumers planning an interstate move to visit the federal government's "Protect Your Move" website at http://www.protectyourmove.gov, which provides information on shippers' rights and responsibilities and information on how to research USDOT registered household goods carriers.

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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