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Get to Know the Moving Industry

In today's economy, it's not unusual to be required to pull up stakes and move because a new assignment or a new job.

That's why it's important to be familiar with the professional moving and storage industry and understand your rights and responsibilities when you move.

First, there are important differences between intrastate moves - which take place within the same state - and interstate moves between one state and another because only interstate moves are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (International moves are regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission.)

Local and other intrastate moves come under the jurisdiction of your state government. About 30 states have various degrees of regulation - some more than others - and the rest are unregulated. So, if you have a problem with a local move or intrastate move, you may find yourself on your own in getting the problem resolved.

Local moves are generally based on a per-hour cost for the personnel and the number of vehicles that the mover provides up to a certain distance with longer distances based on your shipment's weight and the mileage it's hauled. Also, the level of liability for loss or damage is generally less than it would be for an interstate move.

When you are looking for a mover, it's important not to believe everything that you read when it comes to advertising. For example, anyone can buy an ad in the Yellow Pages, it doesn't mean they are licensed or insured.

If a mover includes its license (DOT or ICC) number in its ad, check it out first. For interstate movers, you can find out this information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The Internet can be even trickier. Just because a mover or a broker has a professional-looking website, that doesn't mean it is licensed or insured; it only means that they had enough money to pay for the site. If a mover includes its DOT or ICC license number on a website, check it out first with the FMCSA.

Some movers even display the logo of the Better Business Bureau or AMSA even though they are not members of those organizations -- so check first. You can verify AMSA membership by contacting the Better Business Bureau to confirm BBB listings.

Additional practical, objective tips on how to plan your move and how to safely choose a mover are available at the AMSA's consumer advice website.

AMSA represents 3,500 companies that provide household goods moving and storage services throughout the United States and the world.

Source: American Moving and Storage Association

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