ICA HHG Rules & Regulations

Here is some more great information about a complex topic from Bob Milsop.

If you read this and feel lost, don’t worry.  In the coming days we will explain a little more in depth exactly what the Interstate Commerce Act, Surface Transportation Board, and Code of Federal Regulations are.

There appears to be considerable confusion about what is, and what is not required by the Interstate Commerce Act (ICA), Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) of motor common carriers of household goods. The following briefly describe a few salient points:

I. Mandatory Valuation Options: STB Decision of 6/13/2007 [Exhibit 1]

As the decision states, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) was required to adopt this ruling following passage – in 2005 – of SAFETEA-LU. Whenever transporting household goods [49 USC 13102(10)] interstate, carriers can only offer customers two (2) choices: (1) full replacement cost up to “ … a pre-declared total value of  the shipment; or (2) 60¢ per pound per article.

NOTE:  The courts apparently will accept a valuation on a per pound basis [$4.00 or higher] provided the b.o.l. documents the weight of the shipment.

Pacific Indemnity Co. v. Pickens Kane, 2009 WL 2905717 [Exhibit 6]

II. Interstate Commerce Act

a. Additional Billing and collecting practices §13710 [Exhibit 2]

As can be seen, §13710(a)(1) requires all motor carriers of property to make available to their customers a copy of their ‛rates and rules’ The only exception being motor carriers involved in noncontiguous domestic trade.

b. Liability under carrier receipts and bills of lading a/k/a the “Carmack Amendment” [Exhibit 3]

Note the wording in 14706(a)(1). Failure to issue a b.o.l. does not affect enforceability of the statute! Also, (1)(c)((B) “If the motor carrier is not required to file its tariffs with the [STB] board, it shall provide … to the shipper, on request of the shipper, a written or electronic copy of the rate, classification, rules … (“Tariff”).”

Many carrier personnel know that motor carriers of property are not required to file tariffs with the STB. However, few appear to know that 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1310 [Exhibit 4] clearly requires HHG carriers to have – pursuant to 49 USC Section 135[10] – [Exhibit 5] written or electronic “tariffs” copies of which must be available to customers and the STB on request!

Filing Claims: §14706(e)(1)

“A carrier may not provide by rules, contract or otherwise , a period of less than 9 months for filing a claim.  This is a minimum – with no maximum! If the carrier’s b.o.l./tariff/contract, et al sets a time period of less than 9 months for reporting a claim it is unenforceable and (in my opinion) the claimant has an unlimited period of time in which to file a claim [Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 370 et. seq].

Instituting Suit

49 USC 14706 (e)(1) 2 years from date of carrier’s [not insurance company’s] written notice of disallowance of any part [including an offer of compromise] of the claim specified in the notice!

Obviously, there is  a whole lot more, but this covers some of the basics

Check back here in the coming days to learn more, or get in touch in the comments or at Wolpert.com.

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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