49 U.S.C. § 14708 - Dispute settlement program for household goods carriers

Cite as49 U.S.C. § 14708

(a) OFFERING SHIPPERS ARBITRATION.-As a condition of registration under section 13902 or 13903, a carrier providing transportation of household goods subject to jurisdiction under subchapter I or III of chapter 135 must agree to offer in accordance with this section to shippers of household goods arbitration as a means of settling disputes between such carriers and shippers of household goods concerning damage or loss to the household goods transported and to determine whether carrier charges, in addition to those collected at delivery, must be paid by shippers for transportation and services related to transportation of household goods.


(1) PREVENTION OF SPECIAL ADVANTAGE.-The arbitration that is offered must be designed to prevent a carrier from having any special advantage in any case in which the claimant resides or does business at a place distant from the carrier's principal or other place of business.

(2) NOTICE OF ARBITRATION PROCEDURE.-The carrier must provide the shipper an adequate notice of the availability of neutral arbitration, including a concise easy-to-read, accurate summary of the arbitration procedure, any applicable costs, and disclosure of the legal effects of election to utilize arbitration. Such notice must be given to persons for whom household goods are to be transported by the carrier before such goods are tendered to the carrier for transportation.

(3) PROVISION OF FORMS.-Upon request of a shipper, the carrier must promptly provide such forms and other information as are necessary for initiating an action to resolve a dispute under arbitration.

(4) INDEPENDENCE OF ARBITRATOR.-Each person authorized to arbitrate or otherwise settle disputes must be independent of the parties to the dispute and must be capable, as determined under such regulations as the Secretary may issue, to resolve such disputes fairly and expeditiously. The carrier must ensure that each person chosen to settle the disputes is authorized and able to obtain from the shipper or carrier any material and relevant information to the extent necessary to carry out a fair and expeditious decisionmaking process.

(5) APPORTIONMENT OF COSTS.-No shipper may be charged more than half of the cost for instituting an arbitration proceeding that is brought under this section. In the decision, the arbitrator may determine which party shall pay the cost or a portion of the cost of the arbitration proceeding, including the cost of instituting the proceeding.

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