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Bill Of Lading: The Basics

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Bill Of Lading

As a consumer, you should be aware that your Bill of Lading functions as the actual contract between you and your moving company. Recently, numerous problems have been showing up on Bills of Lading distributed by rogue interstate moving companies. The law requires that movers prepare a Bill of Lading for every shipment, and the driver is required to give you a copy of it before loading your belongings.

  1. The mover's name and address –or- the name and address of the motor carrier issuing the Bill of Lading, -and- the names and addresses of any other motor carriers who will participate in the full or partial transportation of your shipment.
  2. The name and information of the motor carrier who is to be your main point of contact in relation to the transportation of your shipment.
  3. The form of payment the mover will be accepting at delivery (remember, the payment information, like all the other information, should match what was entered on the estimate and Order for Service) and the terms and conditions of that payment, including notice of any minimum charges.
  4. Your name, address, and telephone number the mover should use to notify you about charges if the mover is transporting your shipment on a collect-on-delivery basis.
  5. In addition, when your mover transports on a collect-on-delivery basis, the maximum amount the mover will be allowed to demand from you at the time of delivery in order for you to obtain possession of your shipment.
  6. For guaranteed service, the dates for pickup and delivery, as well as any penalty or per diem entitlements due to you under the agreement.
  7. For non-guaranteed service, the agreed date or period of time for pickup of the shipment and the agreed date or period of time for the delivery of the shipment (remember, all agreed dates or periods entered in the Bill of Lading should match the agreed dates or periods entered in the Order for Service, or in an accepted amendment to the Order for Service).
  8. The actual date of pickup of your shipment.
  9. The identification number(s) of the vehicle(s) in which the mover loads your shipment onto.
  10. The Surface Transportation Board's required released rates valuation statement, and the charges, if any, for optional valuation coverage. Note that the STB's required released rates may be increased annually by the mover based on the Department of Commerce's Cost of Living Adjustment.
  11. Evidence of insurance coverage sold to you or procured for you from an independent insurer, including the premium amount for such insurance.
  12. The following necessary attachments must be connected to the Bill of Lading:
    • - The Binding or Non-binding Estimate.
    • - The Order for Service.

Some important things to note about a Bill of Lading:

  • The Bill of Lading requires the mover to provide the service you have requested.
  • The information on a Bill of Lading is required to be synonymous with the information on the Order for Service.
  • If you do not agree with something on the Bill of Lading, you should not sign it until you are satisfied with its accuracy.
  • You are required to pay the charges detailed in the Bill of Lading.

Make sure that your mover is following the laws and do not sign a Bill of Lading that is incomplete or incorrect.