WASHINGTON – July 30, 2012 – Help is on the way for people who think they’ve been scammed by moving companies, thanks to a new law signed by President Obama this month.
Starting in October, the Transportation Department will have more authority to order moving companies that are illegally holding people’s property to return the goods. The department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will also be able to use some of the $10,000-a-day fines to reimburse victims. Beginning in October 2014, new movers will have to pass tests on consumer protection and estimating.
FMCSA received 2,851 complaints about moving companies in 2011, a 17 percent increase over 2010. The agency shut down 75 companies last year.
“It’s concerning to us that rogue companies continue to take advantage of consumers who are not fully informed,” says FMCSA chief Anne Ferro. “Our top priority is making sure consumers are made whole.”
Ferro has just six investigators overseeing 4,400 home moving companies, thousands of complaints and 2 million interstate moves a year.
© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Oliver St. John and Jayne O’Donnell.