ODOT and Washington County Sheriff’s Office warn consumers about illegal household goods movers

ODOT and Washington County Sheriff’s Office warn consumers about illegal household goods movers

May 16, 2013    13-099

For more information:

Dave Thompson, ODOT, 503-860-8021, David.H.Thompson@odot.state.or.us

Sgt. Bob Ray, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, 503-209-5613, Bob_Ray@co.washington.or.us

The Oregon Department of Transportation partnered with Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies today on an undercover enforcement operation focusing on unlicensed and/or uninsured moving operations.

Consumer protection is a key goal of the operation. Illegal household goods movers often advertise on websites or bulletin boards, offering to help people move for a fee. Many consumers don't realize these companies don't have legal operating authority or insurance and, in some cases, safe vehicles and drivers.

In Thursday’s operation, ODOT Motor Carrier staff and law enforcement officers met movers at a decoy house in Beaverton and checked drivers and equipment for possible violations:

  • Was the mover properly certified with the state to offer moving services?
  • Was the mover's vehicle and driver properly registered with the state?
  • Was the vehicle in safe working condition?

Highlighting just how risky using noncertified movers can be:

  • Inspectors found 32 violations and issued 24 citations to the seven moving companies.
  • None of the companies was properly certified with ODOT
  • Two drivers were driving while suspended.
  • Four moving trucks were not registered with U.S. DOT.

Moving is a regulated industry in Oregon. Any company or person offering household goods moving services must be certified by ODOT. Certified movers are trained to follow industry standards for loading, moving and unloading property and are required to charge approved, reasonable rates. They must carry liability and property damage insurance, and their vehicles must meet federal safety standards.

Consumers who hire an unlicensed mover may have little recourse for loss or damage to their property; they may be charged higher than normal fees; and they may be at higher risk for property or identity theft. The best way consumers can protect themselves during the moving process is to hire a certified moving company.

A list of certified companies is available online at http://egov.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/MOVING.shtml.

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