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FAQ - Household Good Moving

What does it mean when a mover says he's regulated by ODOT?

pic of moving vanMoving household goods from point to point within Oregon is a regulated service. When the origin and destination of a move are within Oregon, moving company rates and services are regulated by the Oregon Department of Transportation, Motor Carrier Transportation Division (ODOT/MCTD). Only certain companies have authority from the Oregon Department of Transportation to provide the service to the public at approved rates. This ensures that when someone needs a mover, they can pick from a list of qualified businesses that are insured, operate safe trucks, and charge everyone an approved rate.

For more information, visit the Motor Carrier Transportation Division's Consumer Guide to Moving.

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What's in the General Information guide that movers must provide?

graphic of a house on wheelsWhen the origin and destination of a move are within Oregon, movers must give every customer a General Information for Moving Household Goods in Oregon Bulletin, which provides information about moving services. Once the shipment is tendered and accepted, the mover will have you sign a mandatory receipt to acknowledge that you received the bulletin.

The General Information Bulletin tells consumers about their rights and responsibilities when having household goods moved within Oregon. It includes details about the following topics:
  • Estimates
  • Changes /additional services, Addendum Estimates
  • Estimates for delivery into storage
  • Underestimates
  • Hourly rated local moves
  • Intercity moves rated on weight and mileage
  • Inventory of items moved
  • Packing yourself
  • Three valuation options / insurance
  • Bills of lading
  • Loss and damage claims
  • Moving ready-to-assemble furniture
See Oregon Administrative Rule 740-060-0030 to read the entire General Information for Moving Household Goods in Oregon Bulletin.

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What are some good tips to preparing for a trouble-free move?

graphic of moving boxesHere are several proven good tips to preparing for a trouble-free move:
  • Contact several authorized movers, get to know them, read the bulletin entitled General Information for Moving Household Goods in Oregon, and ask questions about anything you don't understand.
  • Show the mover everything you want moved and get a written estimate of moving costs. Show the same items to each mover who prepares an estimate so you can fairly compare the estimates.
  • Understand the three valuation options available from movers -- (1) Released Value Protection/Almost No Coverage, (2) Depreciated Value Protection, (3) Replacement Cost Protection. Check with your insurance company to see if you're insured under your own existing policy. 
  • Ask about the experience level of crews that would be assigned to your move.
  • Find out whom to call if problems come up during the move.
  • Once you select a mover and have an idea how much it will cost, get ready for moving day. Remember that for hourly-rated moves, time is money. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be for the movers. Bring boxes down from the attic and up from the basement, for example, and clear entry ways so the movers have easy access to all household goods.
  • If you have anything of value that you cannot afford to lose or have damaged, make a plan to move it yourself and put it away in a safe place.

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What are some tips to avoiding trouble during a move?

graphic of moving vanHere are some tips to avoiding trouble during a move:
  • Document anything of concern during the move, whether it relates to loss and damage, transportation charges, or service issues. Make notes to yourself about the problem and what's happening.
  • For an hourly move, keep a sharp eye on time. If the move is going to take longer than expected, don't be afraid to have the mover stop at a certain point (if that's possible) even though it may require you to complete the move yourself. It's usually a good idea to have the mover load the heavy and bulky items first -- things you're unable to handle yourself -- in case you need to stop the mover at some point and move the remaining items yourself.
  • For a city to city move, remember that you're paying tariff rates based on the weight of your household goods and the distance moved, plus accessorial services.
  • For a city to city move, carefully review the inventory to ensure it's accurate. Make a note if you disagree with anything in the inventory.
  • Have someone at the destination site when the mover arrives with your household goods.
  • Take the bill of lading and make note of any loss, damage, or other problems before you sign the delivery receipt.

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How can I avoid problems with loss and damage claims?

graphic of broken dinner plateAs the mover unloads your household goods, check for missing items and damage to items. If an inventory was prepared, it is your responsibility to check the items delivered against the items listed on the inventory. If an item is missing, or new damage is discovered, discuss it with the driver. Make a record of the missing or damaged goods on the driver´s copy and your copy of the bill of lading or inventory.

After the shipment is unloaded, the driver will request that you sign the bill of lading and/or inventory sheets to show that you received the items listed. Do not sign these documents until your notations have been made if any items are missing or damaged. A claim settlement may depend on whether these notations were made by you at the time of delivery. Keep any evidence, such as crushed cartons, until the claim is settled.

Filing a Claim
Should your move result in the loss or damage of your property, you have the right to file a claim with the mover to recover for such loss or damage. Claims must be filed with the moving company in writing within three months from the date of delivery. You should, however, file a claim as soon as possible. Claim forms may be obtained from the mover.

After receipt of your claim, the mover must:
  • Acknowledge receipt of your claim by notifying you in writing within 30 days.
  • Pay, decline, or offer a firm compromise settlement in writing within 120 days of receipt of your claim.
  • Notify you in writing of the reasons for any delay in settling your claim beyond 120 days.
  • Continue to notify you in writing of the reason for the delay each 60 days thereafter until the claim is settled.

ODOT does NOT have authority to settle claims, but does enforce the time limits for responding to claims. The mover must send a copy of any delayed claim letter to ODOT. Contact ODOT if the mover does not adhere to these time limits. The time limit to file suit against the mover is  two years and one day from the date of any claim disallowance received in writing.

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Who can help resolve a problem with an interstate move?

pic of FMCSA Web siteHousehold goods complaints can be reported by calling a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Staff is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern Time.

Visit the National Consumer Complaint Database to file an online Household Goods / Consumer Complaint Form.

The U.S. DOT has also posted a Web site with answers to many questions related to moving from state to state -- Frequently Asked Questions.

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How can I verify the moving van's weight after it's loaded?

graphic of moving vanAsk the mover for a certified weight ticket. This is not something obtained from an Oregon DOT weigh station, although any motor carrier is welcome to use the static scales at a weigh station to check their loaded weight.

Movers need a certified weight ticket obtained from a truck stop or other facility that has certified scales. These certified scale sites will weigh the truck for a nominal fee, such as $5, and provide the certified ticket.

The Motor Carrier Transportation Division maintains a list of Oregon truck stops, many of which should have certified scales.

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Where can I get answers to other questions?

For more information, or to check if a mover is licensed in Oregon, call any of the following ODOT Motor Carrier Transportation Division staff:

In Portland:   Jessica Miller - 971-673-5895  

In Salem:   Kim Cline - 503-378-6736   |   Ken Stewart, 503-378-5985

Also, check a list of authorized movers.

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FAQs -- Other Subjects

graphic of question markThe Motor Carrier Transportation Division has created a number of pages like this with frequently asked questions about other subjects.

FAQ by subject -- a page listing all FAQs

Individual Pages
Farm Trucks
Green Light 
Over-Dimension Trucks 
Taxes and Fees
Trucking Online

Still need an answer to a question?
Complete the Ask ODOT online form or call 1-888-ASK-ODOT (1-888-275-6368).

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