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Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move in Texas
An official Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) form intended to assist consumers with household goods
Texas Department of Transportation – Motor Carrier Division
125 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701-2483
1-800-299-1700 (Selection option 3 from the automated menu)
A mover who transports a shipment of household goods strictly within Texas is required to register with TxDOT and follow consumer protection guidelines. However, the prices charged by movers, including valuation fees and insurance premiums, are not set by TxDOT.
BEFORE YOUR MOVE
Choosing your Mover
You will have many choices of household goods movers. Since the prices and services offered vary from mover to mover you may want to shop around before hiring a mover. Additionally, you may wish to call TxDOT to verify whether your mover is properly registered. TxDOT can also give information about the mover’s complaint history and annual report. You may also want to contact other sources such as the Better Business Bureau for information.
Proposal for Moving Services
Prior to loading, your mover must provide a written proposal. The proposal must provide the maximum amount you will be required to pay at the delivery. The proposal must be one of two types: binding or not-to-exceed. A binding proposal states the exact price of the move. A not-to-exceed proposal states the maximum price of the move, but allows the mover to charge less than the maximum. Informing your mover of all items to be moved and services you expect the mover to provide will assist the mover in making the proposal. If possible, you should find out exactly what services you will need the mover to perform at your destination. Services at the destination may include “stair carries,” “long carries,” and “elevator” use. Due to the additional labor required to provide these services, additional fees may be charged by your mover. Informing the mover before the move of all items to be moved and services to be provided will help avoid misunderstandings and help prevent the need to amend the proposal.
Pickup and Delivery Dates
In scheduling your move, consider the dates and times for pickup and delivery. Advise your mover of any deadlines that you might have with regard to pickup and delivery. To ensure that there is no confusion, note these deadlines either on your written proposal or moving services contract. If you are not available at the agreed times, the pickup and delivery may be delayed, and you may be charged additional fees.
Your mover may offer to prepare a descriptive inventory of the shipment. The inventory will list your goods and no condition. The mover may charge a fee for this service only if you agree to the preparation of the inventory. The mover will ask you to sign the inventory after loading and possibly after unloading. As with any shipping document, you should review if for accuracy when your shipment is picked up and delivered. Important: Since inventories are often used during the claim process inspect your shipment carefully. Make sure all boxes and items are accounted for at delivery. if there is obvious loss or damage, note this on the inventory at delivery.
Moving Services Contract
Your mover will prepare a moving services contract. The moving services contract may be in the form of a bill of lading work ticket, or other receipt. This contract lists important information about your move, including your name, the movers name, and the mover’s limitation of liability for loss or damage to your goods. The agreements on your written proposal provided by your mover become part of your contract. Be sure all agreements between you and your mover, including services to be provided at the designation, are written on the moving services contract. Do not rely on any verbal agreements make sure all documents offered by the mover for your signature are filled out as much as possible before you sign. READ THE DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOU SIGN.
Your mover has a basic liability of 60¢ per pound per article. This means if your 50 pound television is damaged, your mover is liable for a maximum of only $30. Although your mover cannot reduce his liability below 60¢ per pound per article, he may agree in writing to assume a higher level of liability. Your shipment will be valued at 60¢ per pound per article unless you and your mover agree to a higher level of liability on your moving services contract. Your mover may assess additional fees (sometimes referred to as a valuation fee) for assuming the higher level of liability. Noting a higher level of mover liability<< >> (valuation) is not the same as purchasing transit insurance.
You may wish to purchase transit insurance to cover loss or damage to your goods. Your mover may offer to sell you this type of policy or it may be purchased directly from an insurance company. Transit insurance is not regulated by TxDOT or the Texas Department of Insurance, so be sure to read the transit insurance policy and understand the coverage and any deductible. Your mover is required to provide you with a copy of the policy or other appropriate evidence of insurance purchased through them.
Payment of Charges
You should be prepared to pay the maximum amount of money shown on the written proposal provided by your mover. The proposal must explain when you will be required to pay your mover and what forms of payment are accepted. Such a personal checks or credit cards. Remember that the last amended contract or written proposal lists the total price that you may be required to pay at delivery.
AFTER YOUR MOVE
If you have a dispute about the charges or loss/damage to your goods, you should first file a written claim with your mover include in your claim the specific amount of money or other solution you are seeking. List enough information for the mover to investigate your claim. Provide your mover with any shipping documents and other information requested. You must ensure that your mover or his agent receives your claim within 90 days of delivery of the shipment. If your mover does not receive the claim on time, your claim could be denied. If your claim involves damaged goods, you should preserve the containers and any damaged goods so your mover may inspect them.
Mover’s Response to a Claim
Your mover must contact you within 20 days (excluding Sundays and holidays) of receipt of your written claim. Your mover has a right to inspect containers or damaged goods within 30 days of receiving your claim. Your mover must pay or deny your claim, or make a film settlement offer, within 90 days of receiving your claim. If you are not satisfied with your settlement, you can contact TxDOT for mediation or you may pursue the claim in a court of law. Some movers may have mediation or binding arbitration programs. Before using a program of this type, be sure to determine if it restricts your right to pursue your dispute with TxDOT or through legal action.
Mediation by TxDOT
If you wish to file for mediation through TxDOT, you must submit your request within 30 days after any portion of your claim is denied. Additionally, if your mover has not paid or denied your claim or made a film settlement offer with 90 days of receiving your claim, you have 30 days to request mediation through TxDOT. The mediation will be held by telephone conferences, by written submissions, or in person at TxDOT facilities in Austin, Texas. The cost of the mediator is paid by TxDOT. If you and the mover agree to a solution to your claim during mediation, your dispute may be resolved. If you and your mover do not reach an agreement through mediation, you may purchase your claim through a court of law.
You may contact TxDOT at any time for information on household goods moves within Texas. Claims are filed with your mover, and TxDOT does not settle claims. However, TxDOT can advise you on the claims handling process and does coordinate the mediation of disputes. If you have questions about moving within Texas or wish to make a complaint about a mover, you may contact TxDOT at 1-800-299-1700 (Select Option 3) or through our website at www.dot.state.tx.us.
Movers who transport shipments across state lines follow U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines. You may contact the U.S. Department of Transportation at Licensing & Insurance Division (HIA-30), Office of Motor Carrier Information on Analysis, or by telephone at (202)358-7027
Moving Services Contract
Section 1 of Contract Terms and Conditions
A. The household goods carrier or party in possession of any of the property herein described shall be liable at common law for any loss thereof or damage thereto, except as herein after provided.
B. No household goods carrier or party in possession of all or any of the property herein described shall be liable for any loss thereof or damage thereto or delay caused by an act of God, the public enemy, the authority of law, or an act or default of the shipper or owner. The household good carriers liability shall be that of warehouseman only, for loss, damage, or delay caused by fire occurring after the expiration of the free time (if any) allowed by tariffs lawfully on file after notice of the arrival of the property at destination has been duly sent or given, and after placement of the property for delivery at destination, or tender of delivery of the property to the party entitled to receive it, has been made. Except in case of negligence of the household goods carrier or party in possession (and the burden to prove freedom from such negligence shall be on the household goods carrier or party in possession), household goods carrier or party in possession shall not be liable for loss, damage, or delay occurring while the property is stopped and held in transit upon the request of the shipper, owner, or party entitled to make such request, or resulting from a defect or vice in the property, or from riots or strikes Except in the case of household goods carriers negligence, no household goods carrier, or party in possession of all or any of the property herein described, shall be liable for delay caused by highway obstruction, faulty or impassable highway, or lack of capacity of any highway, bridge, or ferry, and the burden to prove freedom from such negligence shall be on the household goods carrier or party in possession.
C. In case of quarantine the property may be discharged at the risk and expense of the owner into quarantine depot or elsewhere, as required by quarantine regulations or authorities, or for the household goods carriers dispatch at the nearest available point in the household goods carriers responsibility shall cease when property is so discharged, or property may be returned by the household goods carrier at the owners expense to the shipping point, earning freight both ways. Quarantine expenses of whatever nature or kind upon or in respect to property shall be borne by owner of the property of or the household goods carrier may file a lien. The household goods carrier shall not be liable for loss or damage occasioned by fumigation or disinfection or other acts required or done by quarantine regulations of authorities even through the same may have been done by the household goods carrier officers, local agents, or employees, not for detention, loss, or damage of any kind occasioned by the quarantine or its enforcement. A household goods carrier shall not be liable, except in the case of negligence, for any mistake or inaccuracy in any information furnished by the household goods carrier, its local agents, or officers, as to quarantine laws or regulations. The shipper shall hold the household goods carrier harmless from any expense it may incur, or damages it may be required to pay, by reason of the introduction of the property covered by this contract into any place against the quarantine laws or regulations in effect at such place.
Section 2 of contract terms and conditions
A. A household goods carrier is not bound to transport property by any particular scheduled vehicle or in time for any particular market other than with reasonable dispatch. A household goods carrier shall have the right, in case of physical necessity, to forward the property by any household carrier or route between the point of shipment and the point of destination. In all cases not prohibited by law, where a lower value than actual value has been represented in writing by the shipper or has been agreed upon in writing as the released value of the property as determined by the classification or tariffs upon which the rate is based, such lower value plus freight charges, if paid, shall be the maximum amount recovered, whether or not such loss or damage occurs from negligence.
B. As a condition precedent to recovery, a claim must be filed in writing with the receiving or delivering household goods carrier, or the household goods carrier issuing the bill of lading or receipt, or the household goods carrier on whose line the loss, damage, injury, or delay occurred, or the household goods carrier in possession of the property when the loss, damage, injury, or delay occurred, within 90 days after delivery of the property or, incase of failure to make delivery, then within 90 days after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed; and suits shall be instituted against any household goods carrier within two years and one day from the day when notice in writing is given by the household goods carrier to the claimant that the household goods carrier has disallowed the claim or any of its part or parts specified in the notice. Where a claim is not filed or a suit is not instituted in accordance with the foregoing provisions, a household goods carrier hereunder shall not be held liable, and the claim will not be paid.
Section 3 of contract terms and conditions.
Except where such service is required as the result of household goods carriers negligence, all property shall be subject to necessary cooperage and baling at the owners cost.
Section 4 of contract terms and conditions.
A. Property not removed by the party entitled to receive it within the free time (it any) allowed by tariff lawfully on file (such free time to be computed as therein provided), after notice of the arrival of the property at destination has been duly sent or given, and after tender of the property for delivery at destination has been made, or property not received, at time tender of delivery of the property to the party entitled to receive it has been made, may be kept in vehicle, warehouse, or place or business of the household goods carrier, subject to tariff charge for storage and to household goods carrier’s responsibility as warehouseman, only, or at the option of the household goods carrier, may be removed to an stored in a public or licensed warehouse at the point of delivery or other available point, or if no such warehouse is available at point of delivery or at other available storage facility, at the cost of the owner and there held without liability on the part of the household goods carrier, and subject to a lien for all freight and other lawful charges, including a reasonable charge for storage. In the event consignee cannot be found at address given for delivery, notice of the placing of such goods in warehouse shall be mailed to the address given for delivery and mailed to any other address given on the bill of lading or receipt for notification, showing the warehouse in which the property has been placed.
B. If nonperishable property which has been transported to destination hereunder is refused by consignee or the party entitled to receive it upon tender of delivery, or said consignee or party entitled to receive it fails to receive or claim it within 15 days after notice or arrival shall have been duly sent or given, the household goods carrier may sell the same at public auction to the highest bidder, at such place as may be designated by the household goods carrier, provided, that the household goods carrier shall have first mailed, sent, or given to the consignor notice that the property has been refused or remains unclaimed, as the case may be, and that it will be subject to sale under the terms of the bill of lading or receipt if disposition be not arranged for, and shall have published notice containing a description of the property, the name of the party to whom consigned, or, if shipped order notify, the name of party to be notified and the time and place of sale, once a week for two successive weeks, in a newspaper of general circulation at the place of sale or nearest place where such newspaper is published. Thirty days must elapse after notice that the property was refused or remains unclaimed was mailed sent or given before notice of sale may be published.
C. If perishable property which has been transported is refused by the consignee or party entitled to receive it, or the consignee or parties entitled to receive it shall fail to receive it promptly, the household goods carrier may, in its discretion, to prevent deterioration or further deteriorations, sell the same to the best advantage at private or public sale: provided, that if time serves for notification to the consignor or owner of the refusal of the property or the failure to receive it and request for disposition of the property, notification shall be given, in such manner as the exercise of due diligence requires before the property is sold.
D. If the procedure provided for in this section is not possible, it is agreed that nothing contained in the section shall be construed to abridge the right of the household goods carrier at its option to sell the property under such circumstances and in such manner as may be authorized by law.
E. The proceeds of the same shall be applied by the household goods carrier to the payment of freight, demurrage, storage, and any other lawful charges and the expense of notice, advertisement, sale, and other necessary expense and of caring for and mainlaining the property, if proper care requires special expense. If there is a balance it shall be paid to the owner of the property.
F. If the household goods carrier is directed by the consignor or its agent to load property from (or render any services at) a place or places at which the consignor or its agent is not present, the property shall be at the risk of the owner before loading.
G. If the household goods carrier is directed by the consignee or its agent to unload or deliver property (or render any services) at the place or places at which the consignee or its agent is not present, the property shall be al the risk of the owner after unloading or delivery.
Section 5 of contract terms and conditions.
A household goods carrier shall not carry or be liable in any way for documents, specie, or for articles of extraordinary value not specifically rated in the published classification or tariffs unless a special agreement to do so and a stipulated value of the articles are endorsed.
Section 6 of contract terms and conditions.
Every party, whether the principal or local agent, shipping explosives or dangerous goods, without previous full written disclosure to the household goods carrier of their nature, shall be liable for any indemnify the household goods carrier against all loss or damage caused by the goods, and the goods may be warehoused at the owners risk and expense or destroyed without compensation.
Section 7 of contract terms and conditions.
A. The owner or consignee shall pay the freight and all other lawful charges accruing on said property; but, except in those instances where it may lawfully be authorized to do so, no household goods carrier shall deliver or relinquish possession at destination of the property covered by this bill of lading or receipt until all rates and charges have been paid. The consignor shall be liable for the freight and all other lawful charges, except that if the consignor stipulates, by signature, in the space provided for that purpose on the face of this bill of lading or receipt that the household goods carrier shall not make delivery without requiring such payment of the charges and the household goods carrier, contrary to such stipulation shall make delivery without requiring such payment, the consignor (except as hereinafter provided) shall not be liable for the charges. Where the household goods carrier has been instructed by the shipper or consignor to deliver the property to a consignee other than the shipper or consignor, the consignee shall not be legally liable for transportation charges in respect of the transportation of the property (beyond those billed against him at the time of delivery for which he is otherwise liable) which may be found to be due after the property has been delivered to him, if the consignee is an agent only and has no beneficial title in said property, and prior to delivery of said property has notified the delivering household goods carrier in writing of the fact of such agency and absence of beneficial title, and in the case of a shipment reconsigned or diverted to a point other than that specified in the original bill of lading or receipt, has also notified the delivering household goods carrier in writing of the name and address of the beneficial owner of said property; and, in such cases the shipper or consignor, or in the case of a shipment so reconsigned or diverted, the beneficial owner shall be liable for such additional charges.
B. If the consignee has given to the household goods carrier erroneous information as to whom the beneficial owner is, such consignee shall be liable for the additional charges. Nothing herein shall limit the right of the household goods carrier to require at time of shipment the payment or guarantee of the charges. If upon inspection it is ascertained that the articles shipped are not those described in this bill of lading or receipt, the freight charges must be paid on the articles actually shipped.
Section 8 of contract terms and conditions.
If this bill of lading or receipt is issued on the order shipper or his agent, in exchange or in substitution for another bill of lading or receipt, the shippers signature to the prior bill of lading or receipt as to the statement of value or otherwise, or election of common law or bill of lading or receipt, in or in connection with such prior bill of lading or receipt, shall be considered a part of this bill of lading or receipt it as fully as if the same were written or made in or in connection with this bill of lading or receipt.
Section 9 of contract terms and conditions.
Any alteration, addition, or erasure in this bill of lading or receipt which shall be made without the special notation herein of the agent of the household goods carrier issuing this bill of lading or receipt, shall be without effect, and this bill of lading or enforceable according to its original tenor.
The provisions of 18.58 adopted to be effective February 22, 1999, 24 TexReg 1216.