Original article published by FMCSA
Ahead of busy summer season, agency conducts enforcement sweep to stop fraudsters from holding household goods hostage
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the launch of Operation Protect Your Move, a nationwide crackdown on scam movers ahead of the busy summer moving season. Through Operation Protect Your Move, FMCSA is deploying dozens of investigators across the country in an enforcement sweep to address the significant uptick in complaints of movers holding household possessions hostage to extort exorbitant additional charges from consumers. It will also address complaints against moving companies and brokers that are not in compliance with federal safety and consumer protection regulations and statutes while transporting household goods. The Operation covers both movers and the brokers that purport to connect consumers to local movers but instead facilitate fraud by promoting scams.
“Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about being scammed by your moving company, so we’re cracking down on moving companies that hold people’s possessions hostage, and the brokers who facilitate that fraud,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “If you’re planning a move, we encourage you to visit protectyourmove.gov for more information to help protect yourself from moving scammers.”
“FMCSA takes its responsibilities very seriously to help protect consumers when moving their household valuables from one state to another,” says FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “Consumers should feel confident they can trust the company hired to transport their possessions.”
Frequent complaints have been filed with FMCSA alleging companies of using deceptive business practices that are causing consumers to pay higher fees, experience delays in receiving their household goods, or in some cases not receiving their possessions at all. FMCSA is making every effort to protect consumers from these moving scams. The agency will formally document violations and has the authority to review and revoke the licenses of movers and brokers. Cases involving potential criminal misconduct may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further investigation. Additionally, FMCSA will work directly with consumers to guide them through the process and help get their money and goods back.
The Operation is the first of many efforts planned over the next several months to address non-compliant household goods moving companies and brokers. In addition to ramped up investigations, FMCSA is taking several actions to crack down on mover scams, including doubling the number of investigators assigned to moving complaints and enhancing partnerships with consumer protection and attorney general offices across the country.
FMCSA also provides important information on its website at www.ProtectYourMove.gov for consumers planning an interstate move. Consumers can download a moving checklist, view videos on spotting red flags, confirm a mover or broker’s registration with FMCSA, and check the number of complaints against a particular company. Consumers can also file a complaint against a company regulated by FMCSA by visiting the agency’s National Consumer Complaints Database (NCCDB) at https://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.
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