FAQ: Hiring Interstate Movers

If you are hiring interstate movers, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities. The Census Bureau states that in 2012, roughly 7.1 million households moved to a different state. Moving is an estimated $25 billion annual industry. The best protection against fraud is to stay informed when choosing a moving company.

What is the difference between interstate and intrastate moves?

If the origin and destination is within the same state, it is an intrastate move. All the property has to remain physically in the state of origin at all times to qualify as intrastate. If the property leaves the state of origin, then it is an interstate move.

How are out-of-state moves governed?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, governs all out-of-state moves. The FMSCA establishes safe operating guidelines for commercial vehicles, carriers and drivers. The regulations protect consumers by defining the right and responsibilities of carriers transporting goods.

How can a consumer check if the carrier is authorized to legally operate?

Out of state moving experts are assigned a U.S. DOT number by the FMCSA. The U.S. DOT number is displayed with the trade name. The format must be displayed as: U.S. DOT No. (assigned number). The consumer is advised to validate the number. The trade name and number is required on the sides of all vehicles, so check when the vehicles arrive. Any discrepancies should be a warning to the consumer.

What is the best way to get an estimate?

A company can give the consumer a rate over the phone, but an on-site inspection is needed for an accurate estimate. The consumer is advised to take a sight-unseen estimate as a warning. If the estimate sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Can the company demand a large deposit or cash upfront?

A demand for cash up front or for a large deposit is a red flag. A reputable company will keep a customer’s credit card on file. The credit card is charged once the interstate movers make delivery as promised.

How can you check the history of the company?

First, contact your local BBB, or Better Business Bureau. Then, contact local consumer protection agencies. If there has been a history of complaints, check how they were handled. Moving companies in business for decades may have complaints, but a reputable company quickly addresses the issue.

What is a Bill of Lading?

A Bill of Lading is an itemized bill of receipt for your goods and the agreement for their transport. It also states the consumer gives the company possession of the goods, and the company releases possession upon delivery.

Are there hidden fees?

Interstate movers are required to provide an issuance, or tariff, containing an itemized list of fees, rates and costs. An accurate explanation of each service is necessary for each item. The tariff is presented to the consumer in an easy to understand format. Hidden fees or unexpected charges are illegal.