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Interstate neutral arbitration

author avatar Written by Aaron Steed

The neutral arbitration program has been designed to give neither party any special advantage. If a dispute arises between the motor carrier and the consumer shipper, arbitration may be a mutually beneficial alternative to help resolve the dispute. Section 49 U.S.C. Section 375.211 provides that an interstate moving company must have a program in place to provide consumer shippers with an Arbitration alternative. Use of arbitration is optional for the consumer shipper and not required under federal law.

Summary of the arbitration process: Arbitration is an alternative to courtroom litigation. It provides each party to the dispute the opportunity to present their cases and allows a neutral third party arbitrator to make a decision as to the merits of each side’s case. Arbitration subject to the neutral arbitration program shall be conducted via written submission and, subject to the arbitrator’s discretion, through telephonic appearance. After the initial filing fees have been paid by each party and the neutral arbitrator selected by the parties, the initiating party or “Claimant” must submit a written summary of their legal position and factual claims. All supporting documentation must be included with the initially written arbitration summary. Copies of all documents must be submitted to all parties involved in the arbitration. Upon receipt of the Claimant’s written arbitration summary and supporting documents, the responding party or “Respondent” will have 30 days to file their responsive arbitration brief and supporting documentation. Further deadlines and timetables are subject to the neutral arbitrator’s discretion.

Initiating arbitration: Claimant may initiate the process of arbitration by mailing or faxing Meathead Movers with a written request to begin the process at 3600 South Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 or at (805) 781-0872.

Legal effects: If the arbitration alternative is chosen, then any decision made by the arbitrator may be binding. Additionally, an arbitration decision may not be appealed in a court of law. If the consumer shipper’s claim is for $10,000 or less, then the moving company will be compelled to submit to neutral arbitration. If the consumer shipper’s claim is $10,000 or more, then the moving company has the option to consent to the arbitration process or not. Under the terms and conditions of arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision will be based exclusively on the United States federal law governing the interstate transportation of household goods without regard to conflicting state laws or regulations.

Applicable costs: Each party is responsible for their own costs associated with arbitration. A benefit to the arbitration alternative may be that it is less expensive than traditional courtroom litigation. Each party is responsible for 50% of the costs associated with securing the arbitrator and 100% of their own expenses, including but not limited to attorney fees.

The administrative costs for an arbitration are as follows: There is a $300 filing fee and a supplemental charge of $50 for each additional unrepresented party or additional separately represented party more than two parties will apply. Long distance telephone, fax charges and incidental costs incurred by the administrator shall be billed to the parties as additional costs. The cost of the call in the conference call format will be submitted as an incidental cost.

The arbitrator’s fee and costs are as follows. Each individual arbitrator will set their own hourly rates for their services. Fees that may exceed $300 per hour for the arbitrator. Subject to the terms and administrative and arbitration fees may be required to be paid in advance

Contact information: All arbitrations are required to be conducted by a neutral third party arbitrator.

Bureau of Household Goods and Services


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