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Moving Terms:
The language of household moving can sometimes be confusing to anyone relocating for the first time.

There are many terms you should familiarize yourself with. Please review the most important household terminology below

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Move In Day

It is necessary for you to be present upon delivery. If you cannot be present, make sure to have a reliable authorized adult to represent you.

It will be of great help to you to have two adults present. One will check off items from the list and another will direct movers to the right rooms in your new home.

Services such as packing, appliance servicing, unpacking, or piano stair carries that you request to be performed (or that are necessary because of landlord requirements or other special circumstances). Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
Charges for services performed by someone other than the mover. A professional, craftsman, or other third party may perform these services at your request. The mover pays for these services and adds the charges to your bill of lading charges.
An affiliated moving company authorized to act on behalf of a larger, national company.
The preparation of major electrical appliances to make them safe for shipment. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
AMSA Certified Movers oblige by the AMSA Code of Ethics and have pledged to conduct their business in the most efficient and professional manner possible.
The receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. It is your responsibility to understand the bill of lading before you sign it. If you do not agree with something on the bill of lading, do not sign it until you are satisfied that it is correct. The bill of lading is an important document. Do not lose or misplace your copy.
A binding estimate is an agreement made in advance with the mover and it guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantities and services shown on the estimate. A non-binding estimate is the carrier’s approximation of the cost based on the estimated weight or volume of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the carrier and the final charges will be based on the actual weight and tariff provisions in effect. (FMSCR sec. 375.401 Subpart D)
An agent or person that accepts the order for the customer’s move and registers it with the van line. A booking agent does not necessarily have to be located at or near the origin or destination. A booking agent does not assume responsibility for the cargo and usually does not take possession of the cargo.
A company that arranges for the truck transportation of cargo belonging to others, utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. A broker does not assume responsibility for the cargo and usually does not take possession of the cargo.
The moving company providing interstate transportation of household goods under whose Department of Transportation registration the shipment is moved.
Payment is required at the time of delivery at the destination residence (or warehouse). For COD shipments, payment is required in cash or by money order or cashier’s check.
A certified moving consultant (CMC) is a salesperson who has been given a certified moving consultant credential. He/she gets the CMC credential by applying with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), after which he/she signs a Code of Ethics and Professional Standards and should be able to pass the certification examination. And upon acquiring the accreditation, he/she is required to pay annual fees and a recertification process to preserve his/her CMC position.
Statement of loss or damage to a household good shipment while in the care, custody or control of the carrier or its affiliated agent.
Any person who is named as the consignor or consignee in a bill of lading contract who is not the owner of the goods being transported but who assumes the responsibility for payment of the transportation and other tariff charges for the account of the beneficial owner of the goods. The beneficial owner of the goods is normally an employee of the consignor and/or consignee.
When articles are packed by the carrier/mover.
The federal agency which, through the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) within the DOT, governs the interstate transportation industry, including movers of household goods.
A general calculation of the transportation charges, as well as costs for additional services requested by the customer. Includes an estimation of the shipment weight.
An agreement with the mover to perform transportation by a set date in exchange for charges based upon a higher minimum weight.
A charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
A trucking company that is paid to transport cargo belonging to others.
The carrier’s tariff provides for a percentage adjustment to the transportation charge (and SIT Pickup and Delivery) to aid in the recovery of the increased cost of fuel. The surcharge, which can change monthly, is based upon the national average cost of diesel as reported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Items included in a shipment valued at more than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram). These items should be disclosed to the mover to ensure that they are protected accordingly.
Any person who is the consignor or consignee of a household goods shipment identified as such in the bill of lading contract. The individual shipper owns the goods being transported and pays the transportation charges.
The transportation of goods within one State that never crosses State lines or includes a segment outside of that same State.
The detailed descriptive list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.
The charges for the vehicle transportation portion of your move. These charges, if separately stated, apply in addition to the Accessorial Service charges.
An added charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover’s vehicle and your residence.
An option. You or your mover may do something, buy it is not a requirement.
A company that provides truck transportation. There are two types of motor carriers: Private and For-Hire Carriers.
A legal obligation. You or your mover must do something.
A document authorizing a mover to transport an individual shipper’s household goods
A document authorizing a mover to transport an individual shipper’s household goods
When articles are packed by the customer for moving.
Higher line haul charges applicable during the summer months.
Separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the Storage-In-Transit (SIT) warehouse and your residence.
A company that provides truck transportation of its own cargo, usually as part of a business that produces, uses, sells and/or buys the cargo being hauled.
This is the most economical protection option available. This no-additional-cost option provides minimal protection. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound ($1.32 cents per kilogram), per article. Loss or damage claims are settled based upon the pound (kilogram) weight of the article multiplied by 60 cents per pound ($1.32 cents per kilogram). For example, if your mover lost or destroyed a 10-pound (4.54-kilogram) stereo component valued at $1,000, your mover would be liable for no more than $6.00. Obviously, you should think carefully before agreeing to such an arrangement. There is no extra charge for this minimal protection, but you must sign a specific statement on the Bill of Lading agreeing to it.
The agent sales representative responsible for providing the customer with an estimate of the cost of his/her move, as well as for answering any and all questions the customer might have with regard to the moving process.
Use of a smaller vehicle to provide service to residences that are not accessible to the mover’s normal line haul equipment (large moving vans).
Temporary warehouse storage of your shipment pending further transportation, for example, if your new home isn’t quite ready to occupy. You must specifically request SIT service, which may not exceed a total of 90 days of storage, and you will be responsible for the added charges for SIT service, as well as the warehouse handling and final delivery charges.
This agency within the Department of Transportation regulates household goods carrier tariffs among other responsibilities. (
An issuance (in whole or in part) containing rates, rules, regulations, classifications or other provisions related to a motor carrier’s transportation services. The Surface Transportation Board requires that a tariff contain three specific items. First, an accurate description of the services the mover offers to the public. Second, the specific applicable rates (or the basis for calculating the specific applicable rates) and service terms for services offered to the public. Third, the mover’s tariff must be arranged in a way that allows you to determine the exact rate(s) and service terms applicable to your shipment.
performed by someone other than the carrier or its agents at your request or required by federal, state or local law (e.g., appliance servicing, crating).
The degree of “worth” of the shipment. The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than is provided for in its base transportation charges. All movers are required to assume liability for the value of goods that they transport. Most movers offer two levels of liability, basic and full value. . “Basic value” is also referred to as “Released value.”
The national moving company through which affiliated agents are granted the necessary authority to transport interstate shipments. The van line handles dispatching, shipment routing and monitoring, paperwork processing, and claims settlement for all interstate shipments handled by its agents.
A charge may be applicable each time SIT service is provided. Charges for these services may be in addition to the Line Haul Charges. This charge compensates the mover for the physical placement and removal of items within the warehouse.
Moving Guide
Moving Checklist
The Move Out Day
The Move In Day
Frequently Asked Questions
Moving Glossary
Rights and Responsibilities
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