The Arbitration Program ensures that our members comply with the federal requirement that they must have a formal arbitration program available to resolve their customers’ disputes regarding certain types of disputed charges.
While most disputed claims for loss and damage are eligible for consideration under the mandatory arbitration provisions, only certain types of disputed charges are eligible. Disputes regarding charges that your mover collected when your shipment was delivered are not subject to mandatory arbitration. However, disputes regarding additional charges that your mover billed to you after your shipment was delivered are eligible for consideration under the mandatory arbitration provisions.
If you have a dispute with your mover regarding the additional charges that your mover billed to you after your move, you should first file a claim with your mover. Then, if your mover denies your claim or provides a settlement offer (refund) that you are not satisfied with, you may elect to use arbitration to have your claim resolved.
Under the regulations, your mover is authorized to collect the following charges when your shipment is delivered:
- 100% of the binding estimate amount or 110% of the non-binding estimate amount, plus
- Charges applicable for any services (i.e. waiting time, extra pickup or delivery, storage-in-transit) that you requested after the contract was executed that were not included in the estimate, and
- In the event that shuttle service is required, the mover may also collect for the shuttle charges at delivery – provided that the shuttle charges collected at delivery do not exceed fifteen (15%) percent of the total charges due at delivery.
Any remaining charges must be billed to you – it is these additional charges that your mover bills to you (and are not collected at delivery) that are subject to arbitration.
For example, if you received a non-binding estimate from your mover for $7,000, you would be required to pay no more than 110% of this amount (or $7,700) at delivery for the services and quantities listed on your estimate. However, if your shipment weighs more than the estimated amount, your mover will invoice you for the additional amount after your shipment has been delivered. The amount of the additional billing is the amount subject to arbitration.
The National Arbitration Forum administers our arbitration program. FORUM is an independent, non-governmental organization that is not affiliated with AMSA or with any household goods moving company. FORUM maintains a panel of independent and neutral arbitrators that include law professors, attorneys and former state and federal court judges to resolve the disputes. FORUM will charge an administrative fee to arbitrate your case. The administrative fee, which is divided equally between the parties (unless your mover agrees to pay all or a portion of your share of the fee), is paid to FORUM; AMSA does not receive any portion of the administrative fee. The parties to your proceeding will be you and your mover with FORUM acting as the neutral program administrator. Neither AMSA nor any of its employees takes any role in the arbitration proceeding or has any influence in the outcome of the arbitrator's decision. (AMSA serves only as a clearinghouse to make sure that your mover properly addresses your initial request for arbitration as required by the Federal statute.)
The decision of the Arbitrator that you receive from the National Arbitration Forum will be kept confidential. Federal law (Section 14908, Subtitle IV, Title 49 United States Code) specifically prohibits an interstate carrier or its agent from disclosing any information about your shipment without your permission, except in response to legal process issued under authority of a court of the United States or a State or to an officer, employee, or agent of the United States government. Therefore, AMSA respects your right to privacy in such matters and will keep the results of your arbitration case confidential.