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Legislators relax entry requirements for household goods movers
moving van in front of house
Oregon legislators have made it easier for a person to become an intrastate household goods mover, relaxing entry requirements in what has historically been the most regulated part of the trucking industry. With passage of House Bill 2817, effective October 1, 2009, an applicant for household goods moving authority will not have to meet a difficult public convenience and necessity test when proposing a new service, an extension of existing service, or a transfer of authority. Instead, new applicants must show they’re fit, willing, and able to perform the service, they’re insured and operating safe vehicles, the service will not damage highways or endanger others, and they’ll charge rates approved by the Oregon DOT.

The partial deregulation directly affects the 84 full-service household goods movers currently holding authority to serve statewide or in specific parts of the state. They will no longer be allowed to protest new applications and require a hearing to determine if there’s a true unmet need for an applicant’s service. This requirement has proven impossible for some applicants in the past. Removing the entry test should lead to more movers and increased competition in certain parts of the state. Check a list of currently authorized household goods movers. 

House Bill 2817 relaxed entry regulation, but added consumer protection-related regulation in that it requires new applicants to submit to a criminal background check. It also requires all intrastate household goods movers to obtain, and keep for at least three years, a criminal background check for each employee whose duties require contact with the public or entry to a public residence or storage facility for the purpose of providing a moving service.

ODOT’s Motor Carrier Transportation Division has established new rules to guide its consideration of whether an applicant is “fit, willing, and able” to be a mover. The rules also guide movers in completing background checks. Read more at the Oregon Household Goods Movers page. 

House Bill 2817 includes a sizable deterrent to illegal movers by increasing the penalty for unauthorized household goods moving from the current $500 to $1,000 per violation. Based on past enforcement activity, this is estimated to result in $30,000 in additional revenue each year for a Consumer Protection Household Goods Moving account that was established in 2003 to fund administration and enforcement of regulations.

Legislators delete regulation of pack and loaders
Along with changes to household goods mover regulation, House Bill 2817 also ended almost seven years of regulation of businesses that pack and load household goods. Pack and loaders provide a specialized labor service for those who want to rent a truck and move themselves, but not do all the packing and heavy lifting. Now Oregon law specifies that pack and loaders are exempt from motor carrier regulations if they don’t provide or operate a vehicle for moving household goods or act as an agent for someone who does provide or operate the vehicle.

About Past Entry Regulation of Household Goods Moving
Household goods moving has historically been a very regulated service at both the state and federal level. Even after federal deregulation in 1995 preempted states from regulating the rates, routes, and service of most of the trucking industry, states were allowed to continue economic regulation (entry and rates) of intrastate movers. This regulation was intended to provide stability for authorized movers and protect consumers who generally have little or no experience using motor carrier service.

Prior to the change in House Bill 2817, existing authorized movers had the right to serve expanding needs. They received notice of all new applications and had the right to file a protest, call for a hearing, and require an applicant to show that its service “is or will be required by the present or future public convenience and necessity.” This consisted of a three-part test to determine (1) whether the proposed service would be responsive to a public need, (2) whether it would serve that need better than the existing carriers, and (3) if affirmative findings are made on the first two factors, whether any diversion of traffic from the protestants would impair the transportation services provided to the public. In deciding cases, a law judge typically considered whether the applicant would provide an improved or different type of service, additional service to remedy a shortage, or competition where little is available. Applicants could help their case if they presented testimony of potential shippers, although that’s impractical to do with household goods because homeowners are usually one-time “shippers” who make short-range moving plans.