Ky. Voices: Ky.'s laws on movers protect consumers

Ryan Flota of Murray is owner of Kentucky Lake Moving and Storage and is president of the Kentucky Household Goods Carriers Association.
Ryan Flota of Murray is owner of Kentucky Lake Moving and Storage and is president of the Kentucky Household Goods Carriers Association.

A few weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves took away the commonwealth's ability to enforce its laws.

Kentucky requires a company seeking to transport used household goods, which means your personal property, to receive a "certificate of public convenience and necessity."

Your editorial was incorrect when it stated that the existing carriers have the ability to stop a new company from getting into the moving business. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is responsible for vetting applicants. It is true that existing carriers can file documents to demonstrate that there is excess supply in a market, but it is the cabinet's responsibility to make the decision.

It is not fair to accuse existing moving companies for the process. They did not write the law; they are simply obeying it — unlike the company that filed the lawsuit against the state.

The law in question before the court is about the initial process to obtain a certificate — nothing else. However, the judge has completely disregarded all of the other consumer protections in place under statutes and regulations. He is allowing a company to operate without having submitted proper insurance and filing documents with the cabinet.

He may have asked to see their insurance coverages, but that is only the most basic of necessary information to be compliant.

Let's completely disregard the protest provisions. Let's say that Wildcat Moving applied for a certificate and they were instructed to file all of the documents that are needed to be compliant. None of these have been filed. You state that Wildcat is in all other ways compliant with the law. This is not true.

For a household goods carrier to be in compliance with the rest of law they need to file documents that include proof of a company's fiscal viability and an intrastate tariff on file for which their rates must be published for consumer protection. Even for interstate transport, a tariff must be filed.

A company that is not in good financial condition is not one you want moving your family's cherished property. Other states which have removed these protections have had citizens lose property stolen by someone moving them — and I am not just talking about a piece of jewelry, I mean their entire household.

It is not by accident that the application process for a certificate also includes taxis. The process originally also included charter buses. These all transport people and personal property.

In your editorial, you mentioned that Lexington had been removed from this process for taxicabs. Yes they were removed, but summarily re-regulated by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. They now have a different bureaucracy and requirements with which to comply. The reasoning for regulating taxis is also to ensure safety. In a deregulated environment, anyone can slap a taxi sticker on their car and start picking up people. I would not want someone unrecognized by a governing body picking up my daughter at night.

The Kentucky Household Good Carriers Association understands that the petitioning process has been struck down across the country. We have seen many different replacement models to protect the public. We have seen a complete elimination of public protections. We are ready to help make our statutes more amenable to other companies coming into the business.

However, we are not ready to get rid of the public protection aspects and filings required for safety.

Your editorial asked if there are other laws buried in the statute books like this one. Go start a liquor store or a hospital or a barber shop or even a nail salon and then sue the state for its legal requirements and see how far you get. In conclusion, if a Kentucky consumer is dealt a bad deal or a tragic situation by a moving company, they will look to some agency within the state for redress or assistance. If the U.S. District Court can take away the commonwealth's ability to enforce the laws to protect its citizens, then who will do it?

Also, for the record, although my company was protested by seven companies, it was awarded a certificate.

At issue: June 25 Herald-Leader editorial, "Moving-firm law hurts competition; Unfair to business owners, consumers"

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