Consumer Protection:

Federal Actions to Oversee the Household Goods Moving Industry Are Unlikely to Have Immediate Impact

GAO-01-819T: Published: Jul 12, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2001.

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Jayetta Hecker
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Consumer complaints against household good carriers have soared in the last five years, yet the Department of Transportation (DOT) has done little to oversee the industry. Although DOT does not collect nationwide information on consumer complaints against household good movers, it estimates that it receives about 4,000 complaints each year. Consumer protection in the interstate household goods moving industry is a relatively low priority for DOT compared with its primary mission of promoting motor carrier safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has fallen behind in its recent efforts to improve industry oversight and consumer protection. FMCSA has failed to meet the milestones for completing many of its efforts and has extended its deadlines by as much as a year. In addition, DOT has not completed a study on the effectiveness of arbitration as a way to settle household goods disputes, even though the law mandated that the study be completed by 1997. DOT now plans to conduct the study between 2003 and 2005. This testimony summarizes a March report (GAO-01-318).

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