April 22nd, 2015

Consumer Protection? Probably Not….

Adams Moving And Delivery Service LCCAdam’s Moving and Delivery Service in Shoreline, WA have been fined for violating consumer protection rules following an investigation by compliance staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC).

During the course of the investigation of Adam’s Moving by WUTC compliance staff, 579 violations of Washington Administrative Code regulations were documented as follows:

  • Improperly formatted bills of lading – 389 violations
  • Failing to provide customers with a copy of the Moving Guide – 55 violations
  • Failing to provide customers a cube sheet inventory in conjunction with the estimate – 55 violations
  • Using improperly formatted estimates – 34 violations
  • Failing to provide customers a written estimate – 21 violations
  • Charging unauthorized credit card fees – 14 violations
  • Failing to display correct company information on advertisements – 10 violations
  • Charging incorrect minimum hour charges – 1 violation

Washington Utilities and Transportation CommissionThe investigators report is unequivocal in its conclusions saying that “Adam’s Moving has demonstrated a disregard for commission laws and rules related to household good carriers” and “Staff believes the violations cited in this report caused serious harm to consumers”.

Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission fined Adam’s Moving and Delivery Services $5,700 for violating state consumer protection rules. $2,850 of the penalty was suspended on the condition that Adam’s Moving complies with the commission’s order to not repeat the violations.

Comment.

The fine is a joke as it represents only 0.32% of Adam’s Moving reported operating revenue for 2013 and is equivalent to less than $5.00 per violation. The impact on Adam’s Moving is negligible and indeed the WUTC report admits that in the continuing absence of a comprehensive compliance plan from Adam’s Moving that the same or similar violations will recur. Also the cost of the investigation was certainly many thousands of tax dollars more than was recovered in fines. Does this kind of investigation act as a deterrent? Our view is that it advertises the fact that non-compliance with WUTC regulations can be of little or no consequence to moving companies in WA.

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