The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the launch of a new "Consumer Checklist" to assist consumers in choosing a responsible interstate moving company and protecting themselves from fraudulent or dishonest household goods movers.

The free checklist, available at, lists important steps consumers should take before hiring a moving company, including researching the company's consumer complaint history as well as the company's on-road safety performance records.

"Price isn't the only factor one should consider when hiring a moving company," says FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "After going through the checklist, consumers should feel confident they know how to locate a company that is reliable, safe and responsible."

In 2011, FMCSA received 2,851 consumer complaints about household goods movers, up from 2,440 in 2010. Among the most common complaints are shipments being held hostage; loss, damage or delay of shipments; unauthorized movers; and deceptive practices such as overcharges.

Nationwide, the cities where consumers filed the most complaints between October 2010 and September 2011 about interstate shipments were, in order, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, San Antonio, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

The website includes a database for users to research a company's complaint history and safety records to compare companies nationally. It also contains resources about consumer rights and responsibilities for individuals employing an interstate moving company. Additional material includes tips for spotting rogue movers and information outlining all federal regulations and policies that govern interstate moves.

More than 5,662 household goods moving companies are registered with FMCSA.

Consumers can report unsafe and poor performing moving companies by calling FMCSA's nationwide complaint hotline at 1-888-368-7238 (1-888 DOT-SAFT) or by visiting