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March 2017 President’s Column

President's Comments
By: Steve Weitekamp

 


As I have frequently shared at CMSA chapter meetings, having attended Association meetings and events for more than 30 years, I still find value in every opportunity to meet. I always leave with a takeaway, be it a guest speaker, an industry insight or a meeting with a colleague. Annually, I have the privilege of joining the CMSA Chair on his or her visits to the 12 chapters. It is a great time to visit member facilities and hear from those that the Association serves. Early this chapter season, we heard from a member who was rightfully displeased with a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) audit and voiced the same concern that the Association regularly shares with regulators: Are you enforcing the rules with the same vigor against illegal operators as you do against those who work every day to be in compliance?

Several years ago, CMSA gave the CPUC the tools needed to answer this question in the affirmative in the Household Goods Carriers Act, though in my opinion their actions are not there yet. We legislatively changed the opening paragraph in the Act to state in no uncertain terms that all the rules and regulations apply to anyone providing or booking moving services: permitted carriers, brokers and illegal operators.

One issue that was a takeaway for me was that some movers had honest confusion about the signature page of the "IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PERSONS MOVING HOUSEHOLD GOODS within California" booklet. The booklet contained a signature of receipt on the back inside cover and at least a few carriers were still requiring sales staff to get signatures on this page and bring it back, which added to a large pile of paper records for the moving process. In a CPUC audit, the carrier had several files where the Agreement for Service was lacking a signature for the booklet, but they had a signed booklet back page. They were upset to be written up for what they believed to be an inaccurate offense. Unfortunately, in this particular case, the first paragraph of the booklet is very clear on this issue:

"The carrier ultimately performing your move must (1) provide this booklet to you at first in-person contact, (2) mail the booklet to you (time allowing) if the move was arranged and confirmed by mail or telephone and no in-person contact is made prior to the day of the move, or (3) obtain your assurance that you received it from some other source. In any case, you must initial a statement, on the Consumer Protections and/or Waivers section of the Agreement for Moving Services (Agreement), indicating you have received the booklet. If your carrier does not ensure you have this booklet, you are eligible for a $100 refund from your carrier."

The result of this discussion was CMSA reviewing the booklet with legal counsel and acquiring CMSA Board approval to request the printer to remove the signature page from the booklet.

To stay informed on other legal regulations, I encourage you to attend the 2017 Convention at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa. Hope to see you in Rancho Mirage. Register today!

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