Pay Movers A Fuel Surcharge Fee? Get Money Back

If you hired movers and paid a fuel surcharge fee, you could be up for getting some cash back in a recent class action action.

If you hired a mover between 2003 and 2007 and used American Moving & Storage, Atlas Van Lines, Mayflower Transit, United Van Lines or Wheaton Van Lines, you might be eligible.

The suit claims that a consortium of movers agreed to set an artificially high price for fuel surcharges under a tariff called “Tariff 400N.” The defendants have agreed to a $40 million settlement.

To participate, you must submit proof before February 3, 2011. How much each individual class member will get has not yet been determined.

For more info on eligibility and filing a claim, check out the settlement site.

HouseholdGoodsAntitrustSettlement [Official Site via TopClassActions]

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  1. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Ahhh… movers. Is there a more untrustworthy cabal in America? I’m much more comfortable commiserating with drug dealers and used car salesmen.

    • Mighty914 says:

      More untrustworthy?

      It’s tight, but I might go with cable companies.

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        Sounds like we are talking about Mos Eisley. All these a-holes must hang out in the same town:
        “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

    • DWMILLER says:

      You forgot tow truck operators.

    • anarkie says:

      Yes, the government.

    • Shadowfire says:

      Operators of funeral homes.

    • Griking says:

      Well according to posts here arguments can be made for banks, cable companies, phone companies, Best Buy, Gamestop, Gold Exchange companies, Airlines, The Government, laptop manufacturers, Microsoft, Apple, Extended warranty companies, Starbucks, the Police (not the band), collection agencies and the 90 year old receipt checker at Wal-Mart. I’m sure that there’s a ton more that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

    • rpm773 says:

      Yeah, well try to get a drug dealer or used car salesman to carry all your stuff out of your old place, and meet you across the country some 3 weeks later with 80% or so of it.

    • Difdi says:

      Prosecutors, to name one.

  2. nbs2 says:

    While the numbers clearly have to be calculates, the example on the site provides some pretty compelling:

    For example, and only for purposes of illustrating the formula applying to the In re Household Goods Movers Antitrust Litigation settlement, the following is an example of the per shipment distribution calculus: if, after paying all attorneys’ fees, payments to class representatives and the cost of administering the settlement, $22.4 million remains for distribution to a certain category of shipments, and there were 1.4 million eligible shipments in that category, members of the Settlement Class who submitted approved claims for such shipments would received $16.00 per eligible shipment. Likewise, if the figures were 25% of these available funds but the same number of eligible shipments, then there would be $5.6 million for a certain category of shipments, and the payment would be $4.00 per eligible shipment. These figures are offered just to illustrate the formula and not to predict the amount that will actually be paid to either category of shippers. The amount of payment available for each shipment depends on the number of eligible shipments, not the number of approved claims. The fact that some members of the Settlement Class may not submit a claim does not increase or decrease the amount paid to those members of the Settlement Class who do submit a claim.

    With the lawyers requesting 25% off the top, a best case scenario would be $25-30m, depending on the administration costs and whether or not the representatives get the $1000 being asked for. Fortunately, I’m sure that nobody got charged more than $20 as a fuel surcharge.

  3. stebu says:

    I think very few eligible people still have all the information required by the claim form.

    • somedaysomehow says:

      ^ This. I would be eligible… except I saw no reason to save my documents from 2003 any longer than seven years and tossed them in 2010. Grrr.

  4. stevied says:

    Fuel surcharge, if properly done, is a valid fee.

    http://www.dogwoodceramics.com/fuel_surcharge.htm

    But it you read the blog oist is it is clear the fee should be in relation to the fuel costs and mileage not the service fees.

    If I remember correctly, this lawsuit started because the fuel surcharge was being applied to the service fees as well as the mileage.

  5. areaman says:

    Surprised no one posted this yet…

    I do my own moving.

    • DidIDoThat says:

      some places like condos don’t allow you move your own stuff. they require professional movers.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Never heard of such a thing. I wouldn’t move into a condo that required me to use professional movers, unless they offset the cost in the lease.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          I heard about this one time. It was about the fact that a licensed bonded insured moving company could be held liable for damage to the bldg and its fixtures. But yeah, don’t buy a condo, whatever you do.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Interesting.

      • areaman says:

        I’m going to file that one under, “Another reason to not buy a condo.”

        I currently live in one but I rent it and they let people do their own moving, dishes, laundry, etc….

    • RandomHookup says:

      And, strangely enough, I was moved by your saying that.

    • Rachacha says:

      I will be moving in a few months. I will likely move most of the items myself, but there are a few items (the piano, and a couple pieces of bedroom furniture) that are just too heavy and/or awkward for me to move (and none of my friends are fit/strong enough to be of much use) that I will probably hire a mover for.

      In this case is it fair to say I make most of my own moves at home?

      • Garbanzo says:

        Giving up on moving myself and hiring professionals was one of the best things I did as I transitioned out of the poor-student mindset.

  6. neilb says:

    “American Moving & Storage Association, Inc.” is a big group of moving companies and has a list of its members here:
    http://www.moving.org/promovers_az.asp

    I need to figure out if my 2 “Two Men and a Truck” moves count. There was a fuel surcharge, but it was not indicated on the receipt by a price, only that it was added into the final price (fishy fishy).
    That, and only one of the locations is listed of the 2 TMT locations we used.

  7. KyBash says:

    The only time I ever hired professional movers, I didn’t get any sort of receipt.

    They offered a 25% discount if I paid in cash and didn’t need any paperwork. (Yes, I have very strong suspicions of why, but no actual knowledge or proof of any potential wrongdoing.)

    All I had them do was load my rental truck because many items were too heavy for me to handle alone, and having friends help would have ended in a party which I didn’t have time for.

  8. HeatherB says:

    Thanks Consumerist! I am actually part of this craziness. Got hit with a 7% “tariff” aka fuel surcharge way back when. And to “nbs2″ below, yes, I got hit with waaay more than $25. 7% on a household move over 1000 miles= big bucks.

  9. Skyhawk says:

    It’s just another way to make more money than what the price you quote a customer.
    Had this happen with Waste Management when I rented a dumpster.

    I asked for the TOTAL price over the phone. The gave me the price and I paid it.
    Several weeks later, I received a bill for a ‘fuel surcharge’.

    There was no written contract, disclosure, and it was never mentioned when I ordered it, nor when it was removed.

    It wasn’t a huge amount, but that’s not the point.

    I told them to pound sand.

  10. oldgoat says:

    Awesome, just saw this. We moved from Philly to Austin in 2006 (1600+ miles) and almost certain we paid a surcharge.