MOVING ARBITRATION PROGRAM VS. SMALL CLAIMS COURT

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Movers Arbitration Program VS Small Claims Court?

  1. What's the Difference?
  2. Can the Arbitrator Change My Valuation Coverage?
  3. What if a Moving Company Doesn't Have Arbitration?
  4. Arbitration is Better for Everyone
  5. ALL Companies Are Required By USDOT Law to Have Arbitration

1. What's the Difference?

Most shippers choose moving arbitration versus small claims court simply because filing paperwork for a court case can be difficult to understand, quite lengthy and expensive. Arbitration is the cheaper and faster alternative to going to small claims court, as an arbitrator is a median that settles disputes outside of the court system. A shipper must first allow the carrier the opportunity to settle their claim using their existing claims procedures, regardless of whether they would like to file for arbitration or for small claims court.

Arbitration for Movers

Once a carrier makes a settlement offer or denies the shipper’s claim, only then does the shipper have the option of filing for arbitration or small claims court. One of the major reasons that the arbitration program requirement became a law was because it helps prevent courtrooms from becoming backlogged with cases that can be settled through arbitration without occupying a courtroom. Furthermore, a judge could deny a court case if the shipper does not follow through with the company’s arbitration option.

2. Can the Arbitrator Change My Valuation Coverage?

One thing to keep in mind is that neither the arbitrator nor a judge can change the valuation coverage option that was selected by the shipper at the pickup location. Meaning that if the shipper elects for the free, sixty cents per pound per article coverage, that is the coverage that must apply to the claim, regardless of the situation. The same can be said for the full value protection and any applicable deductibles.

3. What If A Moving Company doesn't have Arbitration?

If a moving company fails to establish and maintain an active membership with an arbitration program, they may be subject to violations from the Department of Transportation which may also be accompanied by fines that are often times very costly. Moving Authority can help you be compliant with this legal requirement. The Moving Authority Household Goods Arbitration Program is a fair and easy process for carriers and their valued customers. With more than 75 lawyers and ex-judges who hold the legal authority to arbitrate on our panel, you will be compliant with all arbitration requirement regulations.
Moving Arbitration Vs. Small Claims Court

4. Arbitration Is Better for Everyone

There are many factors that come into play when a moving company and a client decide to do business together. Unfortunately, despite everyone’s best efforts to be professional and conduct great business, there are always hiccups along the way. Often times these problems lead to legal issues between the moving company and their clients, and there are many ways to go about handling such problems. The most common question is weighing Moving Arbitration Vs. Small Claims Court.


Moving Arbitration is always the best first step when dealing with a dispute instead of going directly to small claims court. Going to small claims court is a lengthy process that can also cost an arm and a leg for both parties. Court also involves stacks of legal paperwork that can be confusing and if filled out incorrectly it can slow the process down even further. Since the Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken note of how many cases sent to small claims court slow down the court system and how frequently they take place the DOT now requires all moving companies to have a moving arbitration program in place to legally operate their business. Because of this legal requirement if a client or a moving company tries to bypass their arbitration system and go directly to small claims court it may be thrown out by a judge before it is even heard. This is because small claims court should be the last step, only if the problem could really not be resolved by Arbitration. Remember that even though the moving company has purchased arbitration services, this is a neutral third party that is going to take a fair, legal and honest stance based on the facts at hand and helps each party come to an agreement.


It is important to note that neither an arbitrator nor a judge can change the valuation coverage that was previously agreed upon in the shipper/client contract. Going to court and bypassing the Arbitration will have no effect on this as it is legally binding.

5. ALL Companies Are Required By USDOT Law to Have Arbitration

Because all companies are required by law to have a moving arbitration program in place, and have that arbitration certificate displayed in a public place and renewed every year, operating your business without one is risky and could result in your company getting fined or even shut down if a client attempts to take you to court because you don’t have an arbitrator. The same goes for the customer; if you find a company operating without this, steer clear of them because it's most likely that isn’t the only place they have cut corners on in their business.

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Sarah

4 years, 11 months ago

How long do I have to file for arbitration?

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Jennifer

4 years, 11 months ago

If I file for arbitration, is the moving company required to pay me the amount awarded?

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Adam P

4 years, 11 months ago

Jennifer if you go into arbitration and the Arbitrator issues you an amount it is binding and the moving company is required to pay.

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Tammy

4 years, 10 months ago

If I signed a release form for the settlement amount but have not received the payment yet, can I file for arbitration to get the payment?

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Adam P

4 years, 10 months ago

If you have already signed a release form and agreed to a settlement amount, you are not able to file for arbitration. There is no laws that specify the time frame that a carrier must remit payment to you. If you have questions or issues regarding your payment, you should contact the moving company right away and inquire about the status. There may be a plausible explanation as to why you have not received the payment yet.

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Did You Know

Question

The trucking industry has made a large historical impact since the early 20th century. It has affected the U.S. both politically as well as economically since the notion has begun. Previous to the invention of automobiles, most freight was moved by train or horse-drawn carriage. Trucks were first exclusively used by the military during World War I.
 
After the war, construction of paved roads increased. As a result, trucking began to achieve significant popularity by the 1930's. Soon after trucking became subject to various government regulation, such as the hours of service. During the later 1950's and 1960's, trucking accelerated due to the construction of the Interstate Highway System. The Interstate Highway System is an extensive network of freeways linking major cities cross country.

Question Beginning the the early 20th century, the 1920's saw several major advancements. There was improvement in rural roads which was significant for the time. The diesel engine, which are 25-40% more efficient than gas engines were also a major breakthrough. We also saw the standardization of truck and trailer sizes along with fifth wheel coupling systems. Additionally power assisted brakes and steering developed. By 1933, all states had some form of varying truck weight regulation.

Question In the United States, shipments larger than about 7,000 kg (15,432 lb) are classified as truckload freight (TL). It is more efficient and affordable for a large shipment to have exclusive use of one larger trailer. This is opposed to having to share space on a smaller Less than Truckload freight carrier.

Question “ The first original song about truck driving appeared in 1939 when Cliff Bruner and His Boys recorded Ted Daffan's "Truck Driver's Blues," a song explicitly marketed to roadside cafe owners who were installing juke boxes in record numbers to serve truckers and other motorists.” - Shane Hamilton

Question Another film released in 1975, White Line Fever, also involved truck drivers. It tells the story of a Vietnam War veteran who returns home to take over his father's trucking business. But, he soon finds that corrupt shippers are trying to force him to carry illegal contraband. While endorsing another negative connotation towards the trucking industry, it does portray truck drivers with a certain wanderlust.

Question The number one hit on the Billboard chart in 1976 was quite controversial for the trucking industry. "Convoy," is a song about a group of reckless truck drivers bent on evading laws such as toll booths and speed traps. The song went on to inspire the film "Convoy", featuring defiant Kris Kristofferson screaming "piss on your law!" After the film's release, thousands of independent truck drivers went on strike. The participated in violent protests during the 1979 energy crisis. However, similar strikes had occurred during the 1973 energy crisis.

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Question A business route (occasionally city route) in the United States and Canada is a short special route connected to a parent numbered highway at its beginning, then routed through the central business district of a nearby city or town, and finally reconnecting with the same parent numbered highway again at its end.

Question The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is an influential association as an advocate for transportation. Setting important standards, they are responsible for publishing specifications, test protocols, and guidelines. All which are used in highway design and construction throughout the United States. Despite its name, the association represents more than solely highways. Alongside highways, they focus on air, rail, water, and public transportation as well.

Question The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency within the United States Department of Transportation. The purpose of the FMCSA is to regulate safety within the trucking and moving industry in the United States. The FMCSA enforces safety precautions that reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Question

Truckload shipping is the movement of large amounts of cargo. In general, they move amounts necessary to fill an entire semi-trailer or inter-modal container. A truckload carrier is a trucking company that generally contracts an entire trailer-load to a single customer. This is quite the opposite of a Less than Truckload (LTL) freight services. Less than Truckload shipping services generally mix freight from several customers in each trailer. An advantage Full Truckload shipping carriers have over Less than Truckload carrier services is that the freight isn't handled during the trip. Yet, in an LTL shipment, goods will generally be transported on several different trailers.

Question The main purpose of the HOS regulation is to prevent accidents due to driver fatigue. To do this, the number of driving hours per day, as well as the number of driving hours per week, have been limited. Another measure to prevent fatigue is to keep drivers on a 21 to 24-hour schedule in order to maintain a natural sleep/wake cycle. Drivers must take a daily minimum period of rest and are allowed longer "weekend" rest periods. This is in hopes to combat cumulative fatigue effects that accrue on a weekly basis.

Question

Although there are exceptions, city routes are interestingly most often found in the Midwestern area of the United States. Though they essentially serve the same purpose as business routes, they are different. They feature "CITY" signs as opposed to "BUSINESS" signs above or below route shields. Many of these city routes are becoming irrelevant for today's transportation. Due to this, they are being eliminated in favor of the business route designation.

Question Released in 1998, the film Black Dog featured Patrick Swayze as a truck driver who made it out of prison. However, his life of crime continued, as he was manipulated into the transportation of illegal guns. Writer Scott Doviak has described the movie as a "high-octane riff on White Line Fever" as well as "a throwback to the trucker movies of the 70s".

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