[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 5-26-1987 by L.L. No. 19-1987 (Ch. 364 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
Consumer protection — See Ch. 387.
The Legislature finds that certain local moving companies which are not otherwise regulated by the New York State Department of Transportation or the Interstate Commerce Commission or by any other federal or state laws or regulations are engaging in unfair trade practices in that they fail to fully inform consumers in the areas of insurance, waivers of claims, estimate overruns, additional and/or hidden costs and other areas.
The Legislature further finds that local moves completed solely within a particular town within Suffolk County or within adjoining towns are not subject to state and federal laws and regulations.
It is the intent of this Legislature to fill this regulatory void and to eliminate unfair trade practices.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs of Suffolk County.
- The Department of Consumer Affairs of Suffolk County.
- LOCAL MOVES
- Moves generated and completed solely within one town or adjoining towns.
- LOCAL MOVING COMPANY
- A company providing moving services to consumers which performs these services solely within a Suffolk County town or within adjoining Suffolk County towns.
No local moving company may operate within Suffolk County without obtaining a permit issued by the Department in accordance with the rules and/or regulations promulgated by the Commissioner pursuant to this chapter.
The local moving company must name its insurance carrier on any contract or other paperwork wherein the consumer is purchasing additional insurance coverage. In the event that the local moving company is self-insured, that fact must be noted in lieu of the carrier.
If a local moving company has as part of its agreement with the consumer that the consumer waives his or her rights to file a claim for later damage if he or she signs for receipt of the goods in good condition, then such a clause must be in bold print.
Inventory lists containing notations of prior damage must use a format which is clearly understandable to the average consumer. Codes or abbreviations may not be used unless their meanings are clearly understandable to the average consumer.
A local moving company may not charge a consumer more than a price quoted in a written estimate, plus an additional 10% of that estimate.
In the event that a local moving company charges the consumer an amount that exceeds the estimate by more than 5% of said estimate, then the local moving company must provide a written explanation to the consumer, upon request, giving the reasons for the additional cost with particularity.
Upon payment by the consumer of the actual cost charged by the local company or of the amount of the estimate plus 5% of that estimate, whichever amount is lower, the local moving company must deliver the goods immediately and may not store or threaten to store such goods and may not charge or threaten to charge redelivery costs.
The local moving company may not store the consumer's goods without the written consent of the consumer.
In the event that the local moving company stores the consumer's goods, the local moving company must:
Provide the consumer with a written statement of the storage charges, including fees and charges, if any, for putting the goods into storage, keeping them in storage, and taking them out of storage;
Provide the consumer with the actual location of the storage facility or facilities containing the consumer's goods; and
Notify the consumer of any changes in storage facilities by mail at least five days before the change of facilities or by phone at least one day before the change of facilities with a follow-up notification in writing by mail within 24 hours of the phone notification.
The Commissioner or his/her designated representative shall have the power to impose upon any local moving company which shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter and/or any rules or regulations duly promulgated pursuant thereto a civil penalty of not less than $50 nor more than $500 for each such violation.
Each day that a violation shall continue shall constitute a separate violation under this chapter.
This chapter shall be applicable insofar as it is not in conflict with, inconsistent with or preempted by any federal or state law or regulation.