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VOLUME 46, ISSUE 13
ISSUE DATE: JULY 7, 2014
RULE PROPOSALS

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR
PUBLIC MOVERS AND WAREHOUSEMEN


Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:44D-4.1 and 4.2 and 13:44D Appendix

Moving Contract: Non-Binding Estimate; Moving Contract: Binding Estimate
 
Authorized By: Steve C. Lee, Acting Director, Division of Consumer Affairs.
 
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:14D-6.
 
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
 
Proposal Number: PRN 2014-113.
 
Submit written comments by September 5, 2014, to:
 
   Steve C. Lee, Acting Director
   Division of Consumer Affairs
   PO Box 45027
   Newark, New Jersey 07101
   Or electronically at: www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/proposal/comment/.
 
The agency proposal follows:
 
Summary

On November 16, 2009, at 41 N.J.R. 4183(a), the Division of Consumer Affairs (Division) proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:44D that would require licensed public movers charging for a move by the weight of a consumer's goods to weigh the consumer's goods at a scale certified by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures. The New Jersey Warehousemen and Movers Association (Association) commented on the proposed amendments. The Association supported the amendments, but contended that certified scales are not always available to licensed public movers. The Association requested that the Division allow licensed public movers to estimate the weight of a consumer's goods based upon cubic footage in instances when the licensed public mover documented that a certified scale was not available. The Division accepted the Association's contention that certified scales are not always available. Given this, and the fact that verifying documentation that certified scales were unavailable would be problematic, the Division chose not to adopt the proposed amendments. The rules continued to allow licensed public movers to estimate the weight of a consumer's goods.

The Association now advises that certified scales are readily available and that the Division should require licensed public movers who charge for a move based on weight to weigh the consumer's goods on certified scales. The Association no longer believes it necessary to provide any exemptions that would permit licensed public movers to estimate the weight of a consumer's goods.

The Director of the Division (Director) proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44D-4.2 to set forth standards for licensed public movers who charge fees based on the weight of a consumer's goods in a bill of lading for a move for which a non-binding estimate was issued. Licensed public movers who charge based on weight in a bill of lading will be required to weigh their truck before and after loading a consumer's shipment at a scale certified by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures. Weight tickets showing the before and after weights of the truck must be provided to consumers upon completion of the move. A consumer has the right to observe a loaded truck being weighed. If a consumer's shipment is less than 1,000 pounds, a licensed public mover is permitted to weigh the shipment by using a portable scale that is certified by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures. The Director is not proposing to prohibit licensed public movers from estimating weights for either a binding or non-binding estimate, as it would be impractical to weigh a consumer's goods for an estimate.

The Director also proposes to amend the chapter Appendix, which sets forth requirements for the brochure that licensed public movers provide to consumers, to remove reference to estimating the weight of a consumer's shipment based on cubic footage. The Director proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44D-4.1 to allow licensed public movers to use brochures that complied with the previous requirements of the chapter Appendix for one year from the effective date of these amendments. This will allow licensed public movers to "use up" their existing brochures and save them the cost of reprinting their brochures before their existing stock has been issued.

The Director has determined that the comment period for this notice of proposal will be 60 days; therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.
 
Social Impact

The proposed amendments would benefit consumers and licensed public movers in that they will have documented proof of the weight of a shipment upon which moving fees in a bill of lading have been based.
 
[page=1547] Economic Impact

The proposed amendments would impose costs on licensed public movers in that they would have to pay a fee to obtain a weight ticket from a State-certified scale before and after loading consumers' goods onto their trucks. There would also be a cost for gas and wear and tear on the truck in going to the State-certified scale. These costs could be passed along to consumers in the form of higher fees for moving. But the Division believes that movers do not have to charge by weight and that most do not. A mover who would find it difficult to get to a scale would not offer a weight-based move. Licensed public movers would incur the cost of changing the brochures they provide to consumers in order to conform to the proposed changes in the chapter Appendix. This cost is mitigated by provisions in the proposed amendments that would allow licensed public movers to continue to use old brochures up to one year from the effective date of the amendments.
 
Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because there are no Federal laws or standards applicable to the proposed amendments.
 
Jobs Impact

The Director does not believe that the proposed amendments will result in an increase or decrease of jobs in this State.
 
Agriculture Industry Impact

The Director does not believe that the proposed amendments will have any impact on the agriculture industry of this State.
 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Since public movers are individually licensed, under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., they may be considered "small businesses" for the purposes of the Act.

The costs imposed by the proposed amendments are the same for all licensed public movers as set forth in the Economic Impact above. The Director does not believe that licensed public movers will need to employ any professional services to comply with the requirements of the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments impose no recordkeeping or reporting requirements, but impose compliance requirements as detailed in the Summary above.

The proposed amendments protect consumers who obtain moving services charged by the weight of their shipments. As such, no differing compliance requirements are imposed upon any licensed public movers based upon their size.
 
Housing Affordability Impact Analysis

The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on affordable housing in New Jersey and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the proposed amendments would evoke a change in the average costs associated with housing because the proposed amendments concern licensed public movers charging for moving services based upon the weight of a consumer's shipment.
 
Smart Growth Development Impact Analysis

The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on smart growth and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the proposed amendments would evoke a change in housing production in Planning Areas 1 or 2, or within designated centers, under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in New Jersey because the proposed amendments concern licensed public movers charging for moving services based upon the weight of a consumer's shipment.
 
Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):
 
SUBCHAPTER 4.    GENERAL PROVISIONS
 
13:44D-4.1   Forms
 
(a)-(c) (No change.)
 
(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this subchapter, a licensed public mover and/or warehouseman may use [forms] brochures that complied with the requirements of [this] the chapter Appendix prior to [April 2, 2012] (the effective date of these amendments) until [April 2, 2013] (one year from the effective date of these amendments).
 
(e) (No change.)
 
13:44D-4.2   Moving contract: non-binding estimate
 
(a)-(c) (No change.)
 
(d) After a move has been completed, the public mover shall issue a bill of lading to the consumer, entitled "Bill of Lading," which shall contain:
 
1.-7. (No change.)
 
8. If the public mover is charging for the move based on the weight of the consumer's goods:
 
i. (No change.)
 
[ii. If the public mover is estimating the weight of a shipment based upon the cubic footage of a consumers goods, the calculation of the weight based upon cubic footage;]
 
Recodify existing iii.-vii. as ii.-vi. (No change in text.)
 
9.-11. (No change.)
 
(e) (No change.)
 
(f) Except as set forth in (h) below, if a public mover's transportation charges are determined on the basis of the weight of a consumer's shipment, the public mover shall provide the consumer, upon completion of the move, with two weight tickets, one showing the weight of the empty truck (tare weight) and a second showing the weight of the truck after the truck has been loaded with the consumer's goods (gross weight). The weight tickets shall have a seal on them showing that the scale used is certified by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures.
 
(g) If a public mover's transportation charges are determined on the basis of the weight of a consumer's shipment, the consumer shall be permitted to observe the loaded truck being weighed.
 
(h) If a public mover's transportation charges are determined on the basis of the weight of a consumer's shipment and the consumer's shipment (net weight) weighs less than 1,000 pounds, a public mover may use a portable scale that is certified by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures. A public mover who uses a portable scale to weigh a consumer's shipment shall provide the consumer with weight tickets showing the weight of the shipment (net weight).
 
(Agency Note: The text of amended N.J.A.C. 13:44D Appendix follows with additions indicated in italicized boldface thus; and deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):
 
APPENDIX
 
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO CONSUMERS USING PUBLIC MOVERS AND WAREHOUSEMEN
 
. . .
 
ESTIMATES
 
. . .
 
A non-binding estimate is not a contract and will not bind you to using that mover. The costs assigned in a non-binding estimate will not exceed the tariff rates that the mover has filed with the Office of Consumer Protection. Remember that the mover cannot determine exactly what your move will cost until the move is complete (if the charge is based on an hourly rate) or until the shipment is weighed[, or the weight has been estimated by the mover based upon the cubic footage of your goods] (if the charge is based on weight). The estimate may increase, for example, if you decide to move additional items, failed to pack the goods you said you would pack, or if moving your goods into your new home is time-consuming because you failed to tell the mover you were moving to the third floor of a building or that he could not park his truck immediately outside.
 
. . .
 
WEIGHT MOVES
 
If the public mover's transportation charges for a move based on a non-binding estimate are determined on the basis of weight of your shipment and miles traveled, the public mover will [either] weigh your goods to determine their NET WEIGHT [or estimate the weight based upon the cubic footage of your goods]. A mover who provides the NET WEIGHT of your goods will weigh its vehicle prior to the loading of your goods. This weight will be the TARE WEIGHT. After loading your goods, the vehicle will again be weighed and this is the GROSS WEIGHT. The difference between the GROSS WEIGHT and the TARE WEIGHT is the NET WEIGHT. The NET WEIGHT is the weight for [page=1548] which you will pay transportation charges. If your shipment weighs less than 1,000 pounds, the mover may weigh it prior to loading by using a portable scale [or use an estimated weight based on cubic feet]. Some movers may have minimum weight requirements. The weight tickets obtained by the mover must have a seal on them showing that the truck scale used is approved by the NJ Bureau of Weights and Measures. You are permitted to follow the loaded truck to the weigh station to view your weighing.

 

If you wish to submit comments about this rule proposal, please fill out the form below. When you have completed the form, click the "Submit Your Comments" button below.

Last Name :

First Name:

Professional Organization, Association or Affiliation, if any:

E-Mail Address:

PRN 2014-113

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