OOIDA Call to Action urges drivers to request documents from brokers
May 12, 2020
Amid ultralow rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is urging its members to request documents from brokers for the sake of transparency.
On Tuesday, May 12, OOIDA sent a Call to Action to its members regarding transparency with brokers. Recently, the Association has highlighted loopholes being taken advantage of by brokers. The public outcry has caught the eye of President Donald Trump.
I’m with the TRUCKERS all the way. Thanks for the meeting at the White House with my representatives from the Administration. It is all going to work out well!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2020
In its Call to Action, OOIDA reminds truckers that brokers are required by federal regulations to disclose documents to carriers, including the rated freight bill. Some brokers only allow carriers to access records at the broker’s office during normal business hours. If a carrier attempts to exert its right to review, many brokers will never contract with that carrier again. In some cases, contracts with brokers waive the requirements set forth in federal regulations.
OOIDA encourages truckers to acquire the information to which they are entitled.
OOIDA encourages drivers to keep a copy of the letter and the responses they receive. The Association asks that drivers share whether and how well the broker responded with OOIDA via firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 800-444-5791.
Any complaints from unscrupulous brokers should also be sent to the National Consumer Complaint Database.
“OOIDA has long fought for transparency in transactions with brokers, but the issue has finally caught the attention of the nation’s top lawmakers,” the Call to Action states. “On Friday, President Trump recognized truckers have been ‘price gouged’ by brokers during the crisis. Last week, Congress got the message that the next COVID-19 emergency bill must prevent brokers from continuing to skirt federal transparency requirements. And, yes, even FMCSA is taking notice that they should start enforcing their own regulations for brokers the same way they do for drivers.”
On May 1, OOIDA sent out an informational letter to its members regarding “unscrupulous” brokers.
“We are aware that freight rates are at historic lows,” OOIDA wrote in a letter signed by Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh. “Trucking has often suffered from chronic overcapacity – too many trucks and trailers and not enough freight. The resulting market conditions are magnified right now. While there is no quick or easy solution, hauling cheap freight is not a viable or sustainable approach, and we strongly advise against it - just as we always have.”
On May 6, OOIDA sent out a letter to members of Congress to address concerns from truckers regarding “feeble rates” and “utter lack of transparency between brokers and motor carriers.”
“OOIDA discourages this, but the practice is so prevalent that truckers often have no other choice if they want to haul a brokered load,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer stated in the letter. “Even many of the most reputable brokers use these clauses to avoid complying with the requirement.”
Per federal regulation 49 CFR 371.3, brokers must keep records of transactions with motor carriers. Specifically, one subsection gives each party to the transaction, including the carriers, the right to review the record. Accordingly, this allows truckers to see what their cut is of the full rate that the shipper paid the broker. Unfortunately, brokers are skirting these transparency regulations, according to OOIDA.