August 2018 President’s Column
By: Steve Weitekamp
July 2018 came and went without any major calamity on the California intrastate regulatory front. After over 90 years of regulation, licensing and enforcement by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Household Movers were transferred to a new agency. As a result of Governor Jerry Brown’s CPUC reorganization plan and Senator Jerry Hill’s SB 19, the entire regulatory program was moved to the Department of Consumer Affairs – Bureau of Electronic & Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings & Thermal Insulation (DCA – BEARHFTI) effective July 1, 2018. At the same time, the code of regulation moved from the Public Utilities Code to the Business and Professions Code. Because of the hard-fought efforts of your Association and our lobbying and legal team, the entire process and its positive outcome appear to be a non-event for the legal move. Knowing what we accomplished makes it (putting it very politely) hard to understand how a legal mover wouldn’t be a member of CMSA. I would tell any non-member, please don’t tell me that you don’t go to meetings or read newsletters, our efforts on just this one issue just saved you thousands of dollars (minimum of $5,000).
In early July, we met with BEARHFTI staff to kick off the program. As expected, they had many questions about our industry and the regulatory system that they had just inherited.
On August 2, the BEARHFTI advisory council met and heard that the plan to change the name of the agency to something that might be easier for consumers to understand was progressing. When we can report the new name, I think movers will appreciate the change. After the meeting, we again met with a motivated BEARHFTI staff in their offices to discuss their first month of administering the program (see enforcement statistics below). CMSA is encouraged to report that the staff seems focused on improving the program to ensure that the moving public and the regulated industry are better served.
As you will see from the statistics that follow, the Bureau has made a dramatic enforcement change from the CPUC and taken action against interstate moves that are held hostage in California (something I will review in greater detail in an upcoming issue).
Home Movers Stats from 7/1 – 7/29: 43 Complaints
- 11 interstate moves (overcharges, unlicensed, etc.)
- 7 hold hostage complaints – (Quest and Unified both have two or more)
- 7 loss or damage to household goods
- 5 miscellaneous (person living in moving van, business identity theft, non-jurisdictional)
- 3 refunds
- 3 complaints re: unlicensed activity
- 3 complaints pending analysis
- 1 overcharge and damage
- 1 restoration
- 1 refusal to file a claim for damages, even though the customer purchased insurance coverage.
CMSA transferred 460 referrals to the bureau for unlicensed activity. These referrals had originally been reported to the PUC. CMSA has reported 5 referrals for unlicensed activity directly to the bureau.