Product Code: 25
- A tariff is a legal document that must be published by carrier
- 49 CFR § 1312.2 Requirement to Publish and file a Tariff
- Tariff specifies the exact prices, services, rules, regulation
- Published Tariff gives other provisions of the services offered
- STB regulations require tariffs to be clear and easy to follow
Published Tariffs & Contracts for Moving
Welcome to your number one source for general published tariff information. January 1, 2008 was an important date for interstate carriers. That’s when the Surface Transportation Board put a new policy in place. The policy stated that carriers have to take part in collective rate-marking. Collective rate-marking is the same concept as collective tariff-making. This means that carriers do not have immunity. Instead, they now risk anti-trust prosecution. So, when can prosecution take place? It happens when carriers operate collectively with separate carriers using copied tariffs. Avoiding anti-trust prosecution is important. Otherwise, carriers will not have good standing with the Department of Justice. This is why all carriers should use custom published tariff services. Having published tariffs will help prevent legal problems from occurring.
Carriers are not the only entity who benefit using published tariffs. The tariffs also provide consumers with advantages. That’s because there are options for charges related to line-haul services. In fact, there are tons of volume-based measurement options for published tariffs. Here are the four most common tariff charges. 1. Weight. 2. Cubic feet. 3. Cubic meters. 4. Charges by the hour. These options get called "the menu of differing accessorial services." Each service should get marked at a competitive rate. Why? So consumers have an incentive to book moves with a carrier company. Custom published tariffs will give customers plenty of high-quality options.
What Is a Published Tariff?
Published tariffs are legal documents. All interstate motor carriers have to publish the documents. So, why should they publish them? Here’s the main reason. Published tariffs convey provisions of the services provided by carriers. For example, your customers can learn the following information through published tariffs. 1. Your moving company’s exact prices. 2. The government regulations that your company adheres to. 3. The rules that your company follows. 4. The services that your company provides. 5. The specific classifications within the published tariff. 6. The moving and transportation policies of your company. 7. All other provisions of services that your company provides. Keep in mind that carriers are bound by terms within each published tariff. A carrier has to provide the specific prices/services that each tariff lists.
How Can Carriers Use Published Tariffs?
The use of published tariffs help ensure that carriers stick to their exact rates. This means that each customer will get charged in a fair and ethical manner. Carriers should keep the following notion in mind. They cannot offer customers services that aren’t listed in their published tariffs. Plus, carriers can't charge consumers less/more than a published tariff rate states. Each service charge must match what the tariff’s rate is. Here is an example. Say a tariff price is $0.50 per pound for a 1,900 lb. cross-country move. This means the carrier has to charge $0.50 no matter what happens. That carrier cannot charge a penny more or a penny less. This concept refers to 49 USC section 13702(a)(2).
How Should Carriers Create Published Tariffs?
Carriers have options when it comes to making published tariffs. Here are the three most common actions that carriers can take. 1. They can compose their own tariffs. 2. They can subscribe to generic services for published tariffs. 3. Law-minded professionals can write individual-published tariffs on behalf of their clients. In fact, our organization takes care of #2 and #3 for many carriers across the United States.
All published tariffs must adhere to relevant federal regulations. That’s why it’s often best for a third-party to publish tariffs on behalf of clients. A third-party makes sure that carriers remain in great standing with the government. Professionals also ensure prices/services match the actions that take place during moves. Remember- if something is not listed in the tariff, then it shouldn’t happen. It’s as simple as that.
Be Cautious When Providing Published Tariffs
The key is to exercise a great deal of caution when it comes to making generic published tariffs. Otherwise, motor carriers risk making very expensive mistakes. Here is an example. Say there’s a carrier using a tariff that is generic. And that tariff confirms that there are line haul charges. The line haul charges get based on how much the property weighs. But then the carrier chooses to charge based on cubic feet. This is against the law. In fact, it’s a huge mistake that is both a criminal and civil violation. Here’s another example. Say that a carrier has a different generic published tariff. And the tariff doesn't feature provisions about long-carry, stairs, storage, or anything else. What result does this have? It means that the carrier cannot charge the consumer for the services.
The Discount Policy of Published Tariffs
Some carriers make a crucial mistake when it comes to published tariffs. They assume that the prices of tariffs can get discounted. This cannot ever happen. No tariff prices and rates cannot get discounted. This applies to both individual and random discounts. Keep in mind that this concept refers to accessorial/line haul services.
Once again, carriers have to charge what each published tariff states. Final prices and rates must conform to what’s written on each specific tariff. This notion applies toward more than discounts. It also applies to returning part of rates for consumers. Keep in mind that carriers can make changes/amendments to tariff prices and rates. But every change must receive proper documentation. This is the only form of legal published tariff discount that can take place. Third-party services can help carriers make the right record-keeping decisions. Doing so will ensure that the law gets followed, according to 49 USC section 13702(a)(2).
The Importance of Replacing Current Published Tariffs
Many carriers get confused about replacing their current tariffs. They want to have the ability to use brand-new published tariffs. Well, here is some good news. The concept of replacing published tariffs with updated ones is not illegal. Motor carriers can replace their generic tariffs at any time. This is another reason why publishing custom tariffs is so important. It positions companies to have the freedom to change a lot of service information. This leads to adjusting prices and rates. So, what is the end result of making these legal adjustments? Better customer service for all clients and consumers.
Published Tariff Violations
There are strict penalties when it comes to published tariff violations. The penalties are civil, criminal, or oftentimes—both. It depends on the specific tariff infractions that take place. There are two common situations that lead to the violation of tariff provisions. 1. The carrier undercharges a customer. 2. The carrier overcharges a customer. Penalties for either one are both criminal and civil. Say that a carrier under/overcharges a customer based on the tariff rate. That carrier could face a civil penalty worth up to $100,000 for each separate infraction. Plus, the carrier could also face a separate financial fine. The basis of criminal charges is also important. The carrier owner/associates could face two years in prison for every infraction. This is according to 49 USC section 14903(b).
Are Carriers Responsible for Agent-Caused Published Tariff Provision Violations?
Yes, carriers are responsible when agents make published tariff mistakes. This also applies to subcontractors. Carriers are often punished with criminal and civil penalties for agent-caused mistakes. Here is an example. Say a subcontractor gets hired by a carrier to do a pickup. And that subcontractor charges a different price than what’s written on the carrier’s tariff. What does this mean? The motor carrier has violated civil and criminals laws and regulations. Thus, the carrier gets held responsible for the subcontractor’s (or agent’s) mistake. This is according to 49 USC section 14903(c).
Contact Us Today for Help With Published Tariffs
Do you have any questions about published tariffs? If so, give our organization a call or email right now. Our team can help you understand the law and all federal rules/regulations. The mission of our company is to ensure that carriers provide high-quality tariffs. Plus, we will even build published tariffs on your behalf. And we will do so faster than our competitors. We look forward to providing tariff publishing services for you and your employees.
This is excellent and very helpful.
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This is excellent and very helpful.