49 CFR 375.401 - Must I estimate charges?
(a) You must conduct a physical survey of the household goods to be transported and provide the prospective individual shipper with a written estimate, based on the physical survey, of the charges for the transportation and all related services. There are two exceptions to the requirement to conduct a physical survey:
(1) If the household goods are located beyond a 50-mile radius of the location of the household goods motor carrier's agent preparing the estimate, the requirement to base the estimate on a physical survey does not apply.
(2) An individual shipper may elect to waive the physical survey. The waiver agreement is subject to the following requirements:
(i) It must be in writing;
(ii) It must be signed by the shipper before the shipment is loaded; and
(iii) The household goods motor carrier must retain a copy of the waiver agreement as an addendum to the bill of lading with the understanding that the waiver agreement will be subject to the same record retention requirements that apply to bills of lading, as provided in § 375.505(d).
(b) Before you execute an order for service for a shipment of household goods for an individual shipper, you must provide a written estimate of the total charges and indicate whether it is a binding or a non-binding estimate, as follows:
(1) A binding estimate is an agreement made in advance with your individual shipper. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on your estimate, which shall be based on the physical survey of the household goods, if required. You may impose a charge for providing a written binding estimate. The binding estimate must indicate that you and the shipper are bound by the charges.
(2) A non-binding estimate is what you believe the total cost will be for the move, based upon both the estimated weight or volume of the shipment and the accessorial services requested and the physical survey of the household goods, if required. A non-binding estimate is not binding on you. You will base the final charges upon the actual weight of the individual shipper's shipment and the tariff provisions in effect. You may not impose a charge for providing a non-binding estimate.
(c) You must specify the form of payment you and your agent will honor at delivery. Payment forms may include, but are not limited to, cash, a certified check, a money order, a cashier s check, a specific charge card such as American Express TM, a specific credit card such as Visa TM, or your credit as allowed by § 375.807.
(d) For non-binding estimates, you must provide your reasonably accurate estimate of the approximate costs the individual shipper should expect to pay for the transportation and services of such shipments. If you provide an inaccurately low estimate, you may be limiting the amount you will collect at the time of delivery as provided in § 375.407.
(e) If you provide a shipper with an estimate based on volume that will later be converted to a weight-based rate, you must provide the shipper an explanation in writing of the formula used to calculate the conversion to weight. You must specify the final charges will be based on actual weight and services subject to the 110 percent rule at delivery.
(f) You must determine charges for any accessorial services such as elevators, long carries, etc., before preparing the order for service and the bill of lading for binding or non-binding estimates. If you fail to ask the shipper about such charges and fail to determine such charges before preparing the order for service and the bill of lading, you must deliver the goods and bill the shipper after 30 days for the additional charges.
(g) You must include as a part of your estimate the liability election notice provided in the Surface Transportation Board's released rates order. Contact the STB for a copy of the Released Rates of Motor Carrier Shipments of Household Goods.
(h) You and the individual shipper must sign the estimate of charges. You must provide a dated copy of the estimate of charges to the individual shipper at the time you sign the estimate.
(i) Before loading a household goods shipment, and upon mutual agreement of both you and the individual shipper, you may amend an estimate of charges. You may not amend the estimate after loading the shipment.