(1) Paperwork minimization.— The Secretary may issue regulations, including regulations protecting individual shippers, in order to carry out this part with respect to the transportation of household goods by motor carriers subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135. The regulations and paperwork required of motor carriers providing transportation of household goods shall be minimized to the maximum extent feasible consistent with the protection of individual shippers.
(2) Performance standards.—
(A) In general.— Regulations of the Secretary protecting individual shippers shall include, where appropriate, reasonable performance standards for the transportation of household goods subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135.
(B) Factors to consider.— In establishing performance standards under this paragraph, the Secretary shall take into account at least the following—
(i)the level of performance that can be achieved by a well-managed motor carrier transporting household goods;
(ii)the degree of harm to individual shippers which could result from a violation of the regulation;
(iii)the need to set the level of performance at a level sufficient to deter abuses which result in harm to consumers and violations of regulations;
(iv)service requirements of the carriers;
(v)the cost of compliance in relation to the consumer benefits to be achieved from such compliance; and
(vi)the need to set the level of performance at a level designed to encourage carriers to offer service responsive to shipper needs.
(3) Limitations on statutory construction.— Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the Secretary’s authority to require reports from motor carriers providing transportation of household goods or to require such carriers to provide specified information to consumers concerning their past performance.
(1) Required to be in writing.—
(A) In general.— Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, every motor carrier providing transportation of household goods described in section
13102(10)(A) as a household goods motor carrier and subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 shall conduct a physical survey of the household goods to be transported on behalf of a prospective individual shipper and shall provide the shipper with a written estimate of charges for the transportation and all related services.
(B) Waiver.— A shipper may elect to waive a physical survey under this paragraph by written agreement signed by the shipper before the shipment is loaded. A copy of the waiver agreement must be retained as an addendum to the bill of lading and shall be subject to the same record inspection and preservation requirements of the Secretary as are applicable to bills of lading.
(i) In general.— Notwithstanding a waiver under subparagraph (B), a carrier’s statement of charges for transportation must be submitted to the shipper in writing and must indicate whether it is binding or nonbinding. The written estimate shall be based on a physical survey of the household goods if the household goods are located within a 50-mile radius of the location of the carrier’s household goods agent preparing the estimate.
(ii) Binding.— A binding estimate under this paragraph must indicate that the carrier and shipper are bound by such charges. The carrier may impose a charge for providing a written binding estimate.
(iii) Nonbinding.— A nonbinding estimate under this paragraph must indicate that the actual charges will be based upon the actual weight of the individual shipper’s shipment and the carrier’s lawful tariff charges. The carrier may not impose a charge for providing a nonbinding estimate.
(2) Other information.— At the time that a motor carrier provides the written estimate required by paragraph (1), the motor carrier shall provide the shipper a copy of the Department of Transportation publication FMCSA–ESA–03–005 (or its successor publication) entitled “Ready to Move?”. Before the execution of a contract for service, the motor carrier shall provide the shipper copy of the Department of Transportation publication OCE 100, entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” required by section
375.213 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
(3) Applicability of antitrust laws.— Any charge for an estimate of charges provided by a motor carrier to a shipper for transportation of household goods subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 shall be subject to the antitrust laws, as defined in the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12).
(c) Flexibility in Weighing Shipments.— The Secretary shall issue regulations that provide motor carriers providing transportation of household goods subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135 with the maximum possible flexibility in weighing shipments, consistent with assurance to the shipper of accurate weighing practices. The Secretary shall not prohibit such carriers from backweighing shipments or from basing their charges on the reweigh weights if the shipper observes both the tare and gross weighings (or, prior to such weighings, waives in writing the opportunity to observe such weighings) and such weighings are performed on the same scale.
Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section
11110 of this title prior to the general amendment of this subtitle by Pub. L. 104–88, § 102(a).
2005—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 109–59added pars. (1) and (2), redesignated former par. (2) as (3), and struck out heading and text of former par. (1). Text read as follows: “Every motor carrier providing transportation of household goods subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I of chapter 135, upon request of a prospective shipper, may provide the shipper with an estimate of charges for transportation of household goods and for the proposed services. The Secretary shall not prohibit any such carrier from charging a prospective shipper for providing a written, binding estimate for the transportation and proposed services.”
Study of Enforcement of Consumer Protection Rules in Household Goods Moving Industry
Pub. L. 106–159, title II, § 209(c),Dec. 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 1764, provided that: “The Comptroller General shall conduct a study of the effectiveness of the Department of Transportation’s enforcement of household goods consumer protection rules under title 49, United States Code. The study shall also include a review of other potential methods of enforcing such rules, including allowing States to enforce such rules.”
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