HARRISBURG – If you are planning a move soon, don’t let your goods go crash, boom, bang.
Make sure they are handled with care by choosing a mover licensed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).
The Commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement’s Motor and Enforcement Division is reminding those who are considering a household move to verify the moving company they choose holds a certificate (license) from the PUC.
The Motor Carrier Division regulates household movers that operate within the state. These movers are required to have a Certificate of Public Convenience issued by the PUC and must have the proper insurance on file. As required by law, these movers must also charge rates in accordance with their official tariff on file with the PUC. Before moving day, consumers should obtain a written estimate from the moving company.
PUC certificated household movers are required by regulation to place their certificate number in all forms of advertisements, including Yellow Page ads. If the ad does not contain a PUC number, consumers may be hiring an uncertificated and uninsured carrier. Certificated movers will also have the company name, city, state and PA PUC number displayed on both sides of the vehicle.
The Commission recommends that before hiring a moving company, consumers should:
- Ensure the company is licensed by the PUC. All movers operating within Pennsylvania must display their PUC number in advertisements (such as phone books).
- Ensure you receive an Information for Shippers form prior to signing any agreements. This form provides the following information:
- Mover must provide a written estimate;
- Estimate is based on applicable tariff charges (hourly rate if distance is 40 miles or less) or on a weight and mileage basis (if distance is over 40 miles);
- If the actual bill exceeds the estimate by more than 10 percent you must pay the estimated charges plus 10 percent of the estimate or $25 (whichever is greater). Mover is required to deliver shipment upon payment. You have up to 15 days after delivery to pay the balance;
- Loss or damages automatic protection is insured up to 60 cents per pound per article. (If additional protection is desired, consumer must purchase it through the moving company or private insurer.); and
- Information for consumers to lodge complaints about moving companies; including the PUC 800 complaint number, which is 1-800-692-7380 and PUC website.
The PUC recommends that consumers obtain more than one estimate since tariff charges do vary among companies; and the carrier must complete a detailed inventory listing all items to be moved and their condition, although this requirement may be waived by the consumer if the move is 40 miles or less.
At the conclusion of your move, check delivered items for missing or damaged goods prior to signing the delivery receipt. Note any problems (service or damages) on the delivery sheet and do not sign until all items have been moved. Keep all paperwork given to you by the moving company.
Consumers can now view a complete list of carriers holding PUC operating authority on the Commission website and may also visit the PUC website to submit a moving company complaint electronically. They can also call the Commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement at 717-783-5010 to verify any information on a carrier.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases, audio of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.state.pa.us.