February 9, 2001
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), today announced that it has expanded the scope of its 24-hour toll-free driver hotline (1-888-DOT-SAFT) to include consumer household goods complaints.
The hotline, included in the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, was established for commercial drivers to report violations of the federal motor carrier safety regulations.
"We believe this consumer service will provide necessary assistance to the American public in regards to a very personal and vital issue concerning their lives," said Julie Anna Cirillo, acting deputy FMCSA administrator.
The FMCSA will now accept consumer complaints on violations of the commercial regulations previously administered by the Interstate Commerce Commission. The primary focus of the expansion will deal with household goods and hostage load complaints. Consumers will also have the option of downloading the commercial complaint form and submitting the completed form via fax or mail to the FMCSA Office of Consumer Affairs. The commercial complaint form can be found at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/factsfigs/formspubs.htm.
Household goods carriers and brokers who are reported to have engaged in violations of the commercial regulations and have demonstrated a consistent pattern of noncompliance with applicable federal laws will be referred to FMCSA's household goods enforcement team for appropriate action. Additionally, consumers who have suffered loss from fraudulent or irresponsible household goods carriers operating in violation of federal regulations are urged to report the violation via the hotline.
The expanded hotline, which went into effect Jan. 1, will provide a safety net for consumers who have been victimized by carriers who operate in violation of federal law and who are identified as serious violators. The FMCSA assured complainants that their identity would remain confidential.
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