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Household Goods Moving

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has a limited role in overseeing the transportation of household goods by motor carriers (moving companies). The STB’s oversight applies only to interstate moves (those crossing state lines), not to intrastate moves (those occurring within a single state). If you have a question about an intrastate move, please contact your state’s Office of Consumer Affairs; Public Utility Commission; Department of Transportation; or Attorney General’s office.  Click here for state law enforcement resources.  

For interstate moves, the STB’s oversight is limited to reviewing household goods carriers’ tariffs (documents that contain a moving company’s rates, charges, and service terms) and developing rules on how a moving company can limit its liability to a customer in the event that it loses or damages the customer’s household possessions during the move.

More information on these subjects, including the assistance that the STB’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs and Compliance (OPAGAC) can provide, is available below:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, has primary authority over interstate movers. The FMCSA oversees the following areas of the moving industry:

  • Licensing moving companies to operate as household goods motor carriers;
  • Safety of motor vehicles, equipment, and drivers;
  • Consumer protection, including a mover’s
    • Preparation and handling of estimates, orders for service, and bills of lading;
    • Weighing of shipments and recordkeeping;
    • Billing, payment, and collection practices; and
    • Compliance with arbitration requirements
  • Receiving complaints filed by customers against moving companies;
  • Investigation of moving companies and enforcement action;
  • “Hostage” situations in which a moving company refuses to deliver a customer’s household possessions.

The STB strongly encourages customers to review the FMCSA’s booklet, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” before choosing a mover. This guide can be found on the FMSCA’s “Protect Your Move” web portal for moving customers: http://www.protectyourmove.gov.  This portal can also be used by customers wishing to file a complaint about a moving company.  

In addition to the STB and FMCSA, there are industry organizations that can assist customers that are having problems with household goods moving companies. Information regarding these organizations can be found at the following: