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Subject 515-16-6 HOUSEHOLD GOODS CARRIERS

Rule 515-16-6-.01 Scope

This Chapter applies to household goods carriers operating in intrastate commerce.

Rule 515-16-6-.02 Definitions

As used in this sub-Chapter, the term Advertisement means any communication to the public, in written or printed form, in connection with an offer or sale of any intrastate transportation service, including accessorial services, but shall not be construed to include listing of a carrier's name, address and telephone number.

Rule 515-16-6-.03 Penalties

(1) The criminal and civil penalties for violation of this Chapter are those set forth in O.C.G.A. §§ 46-2-90 through 46-2-93, 46-7-39, 46-7-90 and 46-7-91, and in Chapters 515-16-3 and 515-16-10 of these Transportation Rules; and such penalties can only be imposed by the Commission after notice and hearing, unless the violator consents in writing to such penalties.
(2) Whenever the Commission, after a hearing conducted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 3 of the Commission Transportation Rules, finds that any person, firm, or corporation is operating as a household goods carrier for hire without a valid certificate issued by the Commission or is holding itself out as such a carrier without such a certificate in violation of paragraph (b) of O.C.G.A. § 46-2-94, the Commission may impose a fine of not more than $5,000.00 for each violation. The Commission may assess the person, firm, or corporation an amount sufficient to cover the reasonable expense of investigation incurred by the Commission. The Commission may also assess interest at the rate specified in O.C.G.A. § 46-2-91 on any fine or assessment imposed, to commence on the day the fine or assessment becomes delinquent. All fines, assessments, and interest collected by the Commission shall be paid into the general fund of the state treasury. Any party aggrieved by a decision of the Commission under this rule may seek judicial review as provided in O.C.G.A. §§ 46-2-91 and 46-2-92.

Rule 515-16-6-.04 Designation of Household Goods Agents

(1) All appointments of an agent by a carrier holding a permanent certificate shall be evidenced by a contract in writing properly executed by all parties thereto. Such contracts shall set forth the duties, obligations, rights, method of compensation, and scope of authority of the parties thereto.
(2) Household goods carriers holding interim certificates may not appoint any agent to operate under their authority.
(3) A standard form contract shall be first submitted to the Commission for approval. If approved, it shall not be necessary to re-submit said standard form of contract except as provided in sub-paragraph (a)(5) of this rule.
(4) The carrier shall notify the Commission in writing at least ten (10) days prior to termination of an agency agreement by filing with the Commission a form entitled "NOTICE OF TERMINATION." Such termination shall become effective on the date provided in the notice unless the Commission notifies the carrier of its disapproval before the effective date.
(5) No carrier shall appoint an agent to represent it if such agent represents another intrastate household goods carrier.
(6) No carrier shall be permitted to appoint an agent for the purpose of transporting household goods in any county or within a twenty (20) mile radius of a city, town or municipality in which it already has an established office or warehouse, or agent. A carrier would not be prohibited from itself performing specialized services in a locality where it has an agent. If carrier establishes an office or warehouse in a location where an agency has been established, the agency agreement must be cancelled.
(7) A copy of the agency contract must be maintained in each vehicle operated by agent under lease to the carrier and a copy of the contract is to be maintained on file both in the carrier's and agent's offices.
(8) Any vehicle operated under authority of the carrier shall be so identified with the carrier's name and other information as required by the Commission. The carrier shall purchase a vehicle registration in the carrier's name for each vehicle leased to the carrier.
(9) It shall be the responsibility of the carrier to supervise and train all of its agents and the agents' employees in relation to all of the applicable motor carrier safety and hazardous material rules and regulations as may be required. The carrier shall be responsible to see all the applicable rules and regulations are complied with.
(10) Nothing shall restrict the right of a carrier to appoint agents for booking of household goods only where the hauling of such goods is performed by the carrier or its legally established hauling agents.
(11) Unless otherwise exempted by law, carrier will be responsible to the public for any action of its agents, whether known or unknown, which results in loss or damage to the customers goods, or where overcharge is made.

Rule 515-16-6-.05 Advertising

(1) Every motor common carrier engaged in the transportation of household goods in intrastate transportation between points in the State of Georgia, including any such carrier providing any accessorial service incidental to or part of such intrastate transportation, shall include, and shall require each of its agents to include, in every advertisement as defined in Transportation Rule 515-16-6-.05, the name of the motor carrier under whose operating authority the advertised service will originate and the certificate number assigned to such operating authority by the Commission. The name and certificate number must be the same as designated on the certificate issued by the Commission.
(2) Any person, firm, or corporation who knowingly and willfully issues, publishes, or affixes or causes or permits the issuance, publishing, or affixing of any oral or written advertisement, broadcast, or other holding out to the public, or any portion thereof, that the person, firm, or corporation is in operation as a household goods carrier for hire without having a valid certificate issued by the Commission is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any fine or assessment imposed by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of these Transportation Rules shall not bar criminal prosecution pursuant to the provisions O.C.G.A. §§ 46-2-91, 46-2-92, and 46-7-91.
(3) Any motor common carrier conducting household goods operations between points in Georgia must disclose in any advertisement for its services (whether on the Internet, in a Yellow Pages advertisement, any other print or broadcast advertisement, a brochure, or a flyer or handout) the exact physical location in Georgia of such advertising carrier's physical office, warehouse, terminals and truck parking lot and the number of the certificate issued by the Commission under which such carrier is legally authorized to conduct the household goods operations advertised. A post office box or commercial mail pickup station does not qualify as a physical address.

Rule 515-16-6-.06 Bills of Lading and Freight Bills

(1) Unless otherwise provided, all motor carriers of household goods shall issue to shippers a bill of lading in the form prescribed, approved and accepted by the Commission. The uniform bill of lading is to be issued in triplicate, and the carrier's copy of said bill of lading shall be retained for a period of three years.
(2) The name of only one shipper, one consignee and one destination shall be shown on one bill of lading. If there are stop offs in transit for partial loading or unloading, the stop off point(s) must also be listed.
(3) A legible copy of the bill of lading must be carried on board the transport vehicle during the time the shipment is in transit.
(4) A single shipment consists of one lot of household goods received from one shipper, at one point, at one time, or for one consignee at one destination and covered by one bill of lading.
(5) On shipments of household goods transported under weight and distance rates, the bill of lading must show the point of origin and destination of such shipment, mileage, weight, rate and total freight charge. Any charges for storage, accessorial charges, special services (third party services) or packing materials, shall be shown separately on said bill of lading.
(6) On shipments of household goods transported under hourly rates, the bill of lading must show the point of origin and the destination point of such shipment, the start and stop times of the move, the number of men and vans used, total number of hours worked (less lunchtime and breaks), hourly rate and total freight charge. Any accessorial charges, special services (third party services) or packing materials shall be shown separately on said bill of lading.
(7) An addendum to the household goods uniform bill of lading (Shipper Declaration of Value) which has been prescribed by the Commission, must accompany the bill of lading. Said addendum is to be executed by the shipper and carrier representative prior to the move. One copy is to be given to shipper and one copy is to be retained at the office of the carrier for a period of three years.

Rule 515-16-6-.07 Distribution of Public Information Pamphlet to Shippers

All motor carriers of household goods shall issue to shippers a copy of the Commission's public information pamphlet for household goods shippers. The pamphlet shall be issued to each shipper prior to the move and shall be provided free of charge. The pamphlet must be provided to the shippers at the time of the first in person contact, or it must be provided to the shipper by mail, e-mail, or facsimile (time allowing) if the move was arranged and confirmed by mail, e-mail, or telephone and no in person contact has been made prior to the day of the move. When the pamphlet is provided by hand delivery, the delivering carrier personnel shall obtain either (1) a written receipt from the customer for delivery of the pamphlet or (2) if the customer is absent and a copy is left at the address of the customer, then carrier personnel making such delivery shall sign a notation on a copy of the pamphlet noting the date and time of delivery. When the pamphlet is provided electronically (e.g., by e-mail or facsimile), the carrier must seek, print and retain an electronic receipt as part of the move documentation file. When the pamphlet is provided by mail, the carrier must obtain a return receipt for such mailed copy. Contents of the pamphlet shall be prescribed by the Commission, and a current copy of such pamphlet shall be maintained on the Commission's website. A carrier's printing such pamphlet from the Commission's website and providing the same in accordance with this Rule shall be sufficient; and a carrier shall retain a copy of the receipt, notated pamphlet, electronic receipt for e-mail or fax transmissions, return mail receipt or such other proof of carrier delivery and/or customer receipt of such pamphlet in the move file for each customer.

Rule 515-16-6-.08 Waiver Forms Prohibited

No carrier transporting household goods under a certificate subject to the jurisdiction of this Commission shall issue or require a shipper to sign a Waiver of Liability Form. The rights and responsibilities for both a household goods carrier and a shipper are defined in the Commission's Rules, and a shipper's rights cannot be otherwise abridged or modified. No Waiver of Liability or Release of Liability form of any kind may be tendered to a shipper. Use of such forms shall have no effect and any carrier that uses such forms will be subject to a penalty.

Rule 515-16-6-.09 Package Condition and Preparation

Unless otherwise provided, household goods will not be accepted for shipment if:

(a) Articles that are not in such condition, or enclosed in containers of such strength and security, or so prepared for shipment, as to render the transportation thereof by motor vehicle reasonably safe and practicable;
(b) Packages containing fragile articles or articles in glass or earthenware must be marked "GLASS" "FRAGILE-HANDLE WITH CARE," or with similar precautionary marks.
(c) Hazardous materials, when tendered for transportation, must conform to the requirements of law and any applicable regulations of the Georgia Department of Public Safety or they must be refused.

Rule 515-16-6-.10 Prepayment of Charges

All charges must be prepaid or guaranteed on any shipment which in the judgment of the carrier or its agent would not, at forced sale, be worth the total amount of charges which would be due thereon at destination.

Rule 515-16-6-.11 Freight Charges on Lost or Destroyed Shipments

No motor carrier transporting household goods in intrastate commerce shall collect or require a shipper to pay any published freight charges (including accessorial or terminal services) when a shipment is completely or totally lost or destroyed in transit. A carrier shall collect and the shipper would be required to pay any specific Valuation Charges that may be due. This rule shall not apply to the extent that any such loss or destruction is due to the act or omission of the shipper.

Rule 515-16-6-.12 Estimates on Household Goods Moves

(1) Motor carriers engaged in the transportation of household goods may provide written estimates of the approximate costs which will be assessed for the transportation of such shipments. Estimates shall be reasonably accurate and shall be furnished without charge and in writing to the shipper or other person responsible for payment of the freight charges. All such estimates shall have clearly indicated on the face thereof that the estimate is not binding on the carrier and that the charges shown are the approximate charges which will be assessed for the services identified in the estimate. The estimate must clearly describe the shipment and all services to be provided. At the time of delivery of a collect on delivery shipment, except when such shipment is being delivered to a warehouse for storage at the request of the shipper, on which an estimate of the approximate costs has been furnished by the carrier, the shipper may request delivery of the shipment upon payment, in a form acceptable to the carrier, an amount not exceeding 110% of the estimated charges. The carrier shall, upon request of the shipper, relinquish possession of the shipment upon payment of not more than 110% of the estimated charges and shall defer demand for the payment of the balance of any remaining charges for a period of 30 days following the date of delivery.
(2) This rule shall not apply on shipments being delivered to a warehouse for storage at shipper's request.

Rule 515-16-6-.13 Certified Scales, Weighing Procedures, and Weight Tickets

(1) Carriers transporting household goods shipments shall determine the weight of each shipment transported under the Weight and Distance Section of their tariffs prior to the assessment of any charges depending on the shipment weight. Except as otherwise provided in this item the weight shall be obtained on a certified scale designed for weighing motor vehicles, including trailers or semi-trailers not attached to the tractor, and certified by an authorized scale inspection and licensing authority. A certified scale may also be a platform or warehouse type scale properly inspected and certified.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this rule, the weight of each shipment shall be obtained by determining the difference between the tare weight of the vehicle on which the shipment is to be loaded prior to the loading and the gross weight of this same vehicle after the shipment is loaded; or, the gross weight of the vehicle with the shipment loaded and the tare weight of the same vehicle after the shipment is unloaded.
(3) At the time of both weigh-ins the vehicle shall have installed or loaded all pads, dollies, hand trucks, ramps and other equipment required in the transportation of such shipments. Neither the driver nor any other persons shall be on the vehicle at the time of either weighing.
(4) The fuel tanks on the vehicle shall be full at the time of each weighing or, in the alternative, no fuel may be added between the two weigh-ins when the tare weighing is the first weighing performed.
(5) The trailer of a tractor-trailer vehicle combination may be detached from the tractor and the trailer weighed separately at each weighing provided the length of the scale platform is adequate to accommodate and support the entire trailer at one time.
(6) Shipments weighing 1,000 pounds or less may be weighed on a certified platform or warehouse scale prior to loading for transportation or subsequent to unloading.
(7) The net weight of shipments transported in containers shall be the difference between the tare weight of the container, including all pads, blocking and bracing used or to be used in the transportation of the shipment and the gross weight of the container with the shipments loaded therein.
(8) The shipper or any other person responsible for payment of the freight charges shall have the right to observe all weighing of the shipment. The carrier must advise the shipper or any other person entitled to observe the weighing of the time and specific location where each weighing will be performed and must give that person a reasonable opportunity to be present to observe the weighing. Waiver by a shipper of the right to observe any weighing or reweighing is permitted and does not affect any rights of the shipper under these regulations or otherwise.
(9) The carrier shall obtain a separate weight ticket for each weighing required under this item except when both weighs are performed on the same scale, one weight ticket may be used to record both weighs. Every weight ticket must be signed by the person performing the weighing and must contain the following minimum information:
(a) The complete name and location of the scale,
(b) The date of each weighing,
(c) Identification of the weight entries thereon as being the tare, gross and/or net weight,
(d) The company or carrier identification of the vehicle,
(e) The last name of the shipper as it appears on the bill of lading, and
(f) The carrier's shipment registration or bill of lading number.
(10) The original weight ticket or tickets relating to the determination of the weight of a shipment must be retained by the carrier as part of the file on the shipment. All freight bills presented to collect any shipment charges dependent on the weight transported must be accompanied by true copies of all weight tickets obtained in the determination of the shipment weight.
(11) Reweighing of shipments. Before the actual commencement of the unloading of a shipment weighed at origin and after the shipper is informed of the billing weight and total charges, the shipper may request a reweigh. The charges shall be based on the reweigh weight.