New Law to Prevent Movers From Holding Goods ‘Hostage’

There is finally a breath of fresh air amongst the moving industry.  For people moving and hold concern of their possessions being held by moving companies has finally been addressed by President Obama.

Beginning in October, the US DOT will have more control of illegal activity that has plagued the industry. Moving companies that are wrongfully holding customers property will now have to return the goods. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be able to hand out fines of up to $10,000 a day. The money can also be used to reimburse victims of fraudulent moves.

The law is designed to prevent moving companies from adding additional fees to the move and then holding items hostage if a customer refuses to pay. Like most customers, they hire a mover based on an estimate provided but are unaware of additional fees not mentioned. There was a 17% increase in complaints from 2011 over 2010 where it involved similar complaints.

FMCSA will be taking it a step further October 2014 by requiring new movers to pass tests regarding consumer protection and estimating.

Chief of FMCSA Anne S. Ferro says:

“It’s concerning to us that rogue companies continue to take advantage of consumers who are not fully informed”

“Our top priority is making sure consumers are made whole.”

With thousands of complaints and over 2 million interstate moves a year, Ferro and the FMCSA can only handle a handful of claims with only six active investigators. The new law will give a helping hand to consumers and the FMCSA.

Tips for hiring licensed movers:

  1. Read moving company reviews.
  2. Get all in-home estimates in writing. Be prepared to communicate the size of move, weight of move, packing, #of floors, and storage.
  3. Check mover’s complaint history with the BBB.
  4. Only use movers who are licensed and registered with the US DOT and FMCSA.
  5. Read the booklet ‘Know Your Rights and Responsibilities Before Selecting a Mover
  6. Avoid paying large deposits.
  7. Get an official receipt from your mover upon delivery with all weights, rates and charges. This is your official receipt.
  1. Review the Protect Your Move website for Federal consumer information & assistance site for interstate moving.


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