49 CFR § 375.505 - Must I write up a bill of lading?

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§ 375.505 Must I write up a bill of lading?

(a) Before you receive a shipment of household goods you will transport for an individual shipper, you must prepare and issue a bill of lading. The bill of lading must contain the terms and conditions of the contract.

(b) On a bill of lading, you must include the following 17 items:

(1) Your legal or trade name (i.e., doing business as name) as it is registered with FMCSA, to include your physical address.

(2) The names, telephone numbers, addresses, and U.S. DOT numbers of any motor carriers, when known, who will participate in transportation of the shipment.

(3) The individual shipper's name, address, and, if available, telephone number(s).

(4) The form of payment you and your agents will honor at delivery. The payment information must be the same that was entered on the estimate and bill of lading.

(5) When you transport on a collect-on-delivery basis, the name, address, and if furnished, the telephone number, fax number, or email address of a person to notify about the charges. The notification may be made by any method of communication, including, but not limited to, fax transmission; email; overnight courier; or certified mail, return receipt requested.

(6) For non-guaranteed service, the agreed date or period of time for pickup of the shipment and the agreed date or period of time for the delivery of the shipment.

(7) For guaranteed service, subject to tariff provisions, the dates for pickup and delivery, and any penalty or per diem entitlements due the individual shipper under the agreement.

(8) The actual date of pickup.

(9) The company or carrier identification number of the vehicle(s) upon which you load the individual shipper's shipment.

(10) The terms and conditions for payment of the total charges, including notice of any minimum charges.

(11) The maximum amount you will demand at the time of delivery to obtain possession of the shipment, when you transport under a collect-on-delivery basis.

(12) The valuation statement provided in the Surface Transportation Board's released rates order requires individual shippers either to choose Full Value Protection for your liability or waive the Full Value Protection in favor of the STB's released rates. The released rates may be increased annually by the motor carrier based on the U.S. Department of Commerce's Cost of Living Adjustment. Contact the STB for a copy of the Released Rates of Motor Carrier Shipments of Household Goods. If the individual shipper waives your Full Value Protection in writing on the STB's valuation statement, you must include the charges, if any, for optional valuation coverage (other than Full Value Protection).

(13) Evidence of any insurance coverage sold to or procured for the individual shipper from an independent insurer, including the amount of the premium for such insurance.

(14) A complete description of any special or accessorial services ordered and minimum weight or volume charges applicable to the shipment, subject to the following two conditions:

(i) If you provide service for individual shippers on rates based upon the transportation of a minimum weight or volume, you must indicate on the bill of lading the minimum weight- or volume-based rates, and the minimum charges applicable to the shipment.

(ii) If you do not indicate the minimum rates and charges, your tariff must provide how you will compute the final charges relating to such a shipment based upon the actual weight or volume of the shipment.

(15) Each attachment to the bill of lading. Each attachment is an integral part of the bill of lading contract. If not provided elsewhere to the shipper, the following two items must be added as an attachment to the bill of lading.

(i) The binding or non-binding estimate.

(ii) The inventory.

(16) Any identification or registration number you assign to the shipment.

(17) A statement that the bill of lading incorporates by reference all the services included on the estimate.

(c) A copy of the bill of lading must accompany a shipment at all times while in your (or your agent's) possession. Before the vehicle leaves the residence of origin, the bill of lading must be in the possession of the driver responsible for the shipment.

(d) You must retain a copy of the bill of lading for each move you perform for at least 1 year from the date you created the bill of lading.

(e) You, your agent, or your driver must inform the individual shipper if you reasonably expect a special or accessorial service is necessary to safely transport a shipment. You must refuse to accept the shipment when you reasonably expect a special or accessorial service is necessary to safely transport a shipment and the individual shipper refuses to purchase the special or accessorial service. You must make a written note if the shipper refuses any special or accessorial services that you reasonably expect to be necessary.

(f) You and the individual shipper must sign the bill of lading prior to the shipment being loaded. The bill of lading must be signed at both the origin and the destination. You must provide a dated copy of the bill of lading to the individual shipper at the time you sign the bill of lading.


(1) You may provide the individual shipper with blank or incomplete estimates, bills of lading, or any other blank or incomplete documents pertaining to the move.

(2) You may require the individual shipper to sign an incomplete document prior to the shipment being loaded provided it contains all relevant shipping information except the actual shipment weight and any other information necessary to determine the final charges for all services performed. You may omit only that information that cannot be determined before loading, such as actual shipment weight in the case of shipments moved under non-binding estimates or unforeseen charges incurred in transit.

(3) You may not require an individual shipper to sign a blank document.

(h) The bill of lading must be provided to, signed, and dated by the individual shipper at least 3 days before the shipment is scheduled to be loaded. You must provide the individual shipper the opportunity to rescind the bill of lading without any penalty for a 3-day period after the individual shipper signs the bill of lading. If the individual shipper tenders additional items to be moved or requires additional services on the day of the move, resulting in a new binding estimate under § 375.403(a)(6)(ii) or a new non-binding estimate under § 375.405(b)(7)(ii), the corresponding changes to the bill of lading from the new estimate do not require a new 3-day period as otherwise required in this paragraph (h).

[68 FR 35091, June 11, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 10576, Mar. 5, 2004; 72 FR 36774, July 5, 2007; 77 FR 25373, Apr. 30, 2012; 80 FR 59071, Oct. 1, 2015; 83 FR 16224, Apr. 16, 2018; 87 FR 24447, Apr. 26, 2022; 88 FR 80180, Nov. 17, 2023]