The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration yesterday posted notice that the penalty for hostage-holding is a $10,000 civil fine, per violation, plus possible suspension from one to three years.
The penalties can be applied to either the carrier or broker, the agency said.
The agency defines hostage-taking as knowingly and willfully failing to deliver or unload a household goods shipment for which charges have been estimated and payment has been tendered.
Payment is tendered when a shipper pays all of the charges in a binding estimate or 110% of the charges in a non-binding estimate, the agency said. There is a third circumstance, as well: when a prorated percentage of a partial delivery has been paid.