E-Communicator Article


One Year After Passage of AB 2118

Electronic Transmission Protocol
for Moving Documents Established

With the passage of the CMSA-sponsored AB 2118 household goods carrier bill almost one year ago, CMSA has provided the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff with additional tools required in leveling the playing field for licensed movers in California and protecting consumers from being scammed by unlicensed moving companies. While most provisions in the bill have been effective January 1, 2013, a system of electronic transmission of moving documents was to be established by July 1, 2013. Since Governor Brown signed the bill into law, CMSA has been working with CPUC officials in getting the electronic document transmission section of AB 2118 ready for commercial use.


As of August 15, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission had approved Resolution TL-19109, which included the electronic transmission language from AB 2118. Now, California moving companies may add CPUC-approved electronic documents as an option for sending moving documents to consumers.
What does this mean for CMSA members?


CMSA members are able to transmit moving documents to the shipper electronically. To do this, movers must send Item 475 (”Shippers Consent to Use of Electronic Documents and Electronic Signatures”) to the shipper. Once this form has been signed by the shipper and returned to the moving company, movers would then be allowed to electronically send documents to its shippers.


There are a number of ways to follow this requirement. One option would be for moving companies to scan and send the documents to the shippers. The shippers then print the documents, and sign, scan and send the documents back to the companies to process. Another option would be for moving companies to create their own documents through fill-in-the-blank software (for example, DocuSign) for shippers to electronically sign and transmit the signed documents back to the company. If supplier companies begin creating and selling electronic fillable forms, moving companies can buy these e-forms and send them to their clients as well.


All signed electronic documents have the same legal standing and require the same retention requirements as its hard copy counterparts.


How did CMSA get involved with AB 2118?


This journey has been a tough, but worthwhile endeavor for CMSA, to the benefit of its members and potential consumers.


In December 2011, John Skoglund, then-Assemblymember Betsy Butler’s staffer in Sacramento, was first to contact CMSA for an industry outlook on the proposed AB 2118. With what was expected to be a few comments or issues to add to the existing bill, John Skoglund entered into a full-scale industry discussion with CMSA President Steve Weitekamp for almost an hour. Floored by the number of issues that were raised, Skoglund asked Weitekamp to meet Assemblymember Butler in Sacramento to brief her on the current issues of the Public Utilities Code inflexibility and illegal operators.


After accepting the invitation to Sacramento, Weitekamp assembled a CMSA-member group to help represent these concerns to Assemblymember Butler. With Weitekamp, 2012-2013 CMSA Chairman Dennis Doody of Blue Chip Moving & Storage Inc., Chris Higdon of California Moving Systems (who referred Skoglund to CMSA for industry input), CMSA Legislative Advocate Chuck Cole and CMSA Legal Counsel Mark Hegarty traveled to Assemblymember Butler’s office to address licensed moving companies’ concerns with the industry code and items that should be incorporated in the AB 2118 bill.


Weitekamp had to make a few extra trips to Sacramento for the redevelopment of the bill. Some were good meetings and some were difficult meetings. In order to keep the important industry changes in the bill, some of the non-essential parts had to be withdrawn.


After many conference calls, extra work hours and some concessions, AB 2118 passed the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.


AB 2118 Highlights


Below are the main highlights of AB 2118 that will benefit not only CMSA members but all licensed moving companies and consumers for intrastate moves.


Brokers will be required to be permitted and follow all the same rules and regulations as permitted carriers.


Any individuals or companies that are proven to falsify a CPUC permit, CMSA membership or place of business will be a direct Public Utilities Code violation and can be punishable with daily fines up to $2,500.


CPUC must develop a program (which is to send shippers the Item 475 form to fill out and submit to moving companies) to allow carriers to transmit moving documents electronically.


Other areas of the code have been modified to assure that there will be minimum fines for non-permitted carriers and that no scenarios will exist where the fines for the activities of non-permitted carriers would be less than what they would be for legal operators.

For questions about AB 2118 or the procedure to electronically transmit moving documents to consumers, please contact the CMSA office at (562) 865-2900.

September 2013 - CMSA Communicator

California Moving & Storage Association 1998-2013
10900 E. 183rd St., Ste 300, Cerritos, CA 90703-5370
(562) 865-2900 - (800) 672-1415 - (562) 865-2944 Fax