On Tuesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a major enforcement effort to curtain household goods moving scams.
The FMCSA says that “Operation Protect Your Move” will involve the deployment of “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.”
The FMCSA points to consumer complaints about deceptive business practices used by movers that increase costs, cause delays, or result in customers never receiving their items.
As part of the operation, the FMCSA investigators will formally document violations, revoke licenses of licenses of movers and brokers who violate regulations, and refer any criminal conduct detected to the U.S. Department of Justice for further investigation.
Investigators will also look into complaints regarding household goods movers who are not in compliance with federal safety and consumer protection regulations and statutes, the agency said in a news release.
The FMCSA says that this is only the first in a series of planned operations scheduled for the next several months to address household moving scams. The agency will also double the number of investigators assigned to moving complaints and strengthen partnerships with consumer protection and attorney general offices across the country.
“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.”