Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000
Subject: AMS-Forum T2000 - Answers From Above...
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I have received, via regular U.S. Mail, a very informative letter that I want to share with our membership.
The person who wrote this letter sent it to me privately, on the side. I have therefore removed this person's name and edited a single line which might have revealed the persons identity. After having done this I believe I can post the contents of the letter to our group while protecting the author's desire for anonymity. I do hope that the author does not object. My intent is merely to provide information that is useful to our membership and our industry.
In addition, this letter was retyped from a flawless original. The blame for any mistakes in the text are mine to bear alone.
Please don't call or write on the side asking me who this person is, I will not reply. I will say though that the author is a person who knows more about Tariff 2000 than anyone who has previously posted on this subject. The letter puts forth some very interesting and informative facts and I am sure that it will be of value to all concerned. So here it is...
March 13, 2000
Mr. Chris Noblit
Avatar Relocation, Inc.
40 Aero Road, Suite A
Bohemia, NY 11716
As you know, I continue to follow the "forum" but have been reluctant to get involved in discussions. I do find the exchanges fairly interesting, however, I do find also that there are a number of what I would consider uniformed individuals, generally sales people, who seem to constantly reflect the negative about the industry. Of particular issue today is the new Tariff 2000 which was adopted by the Household Goods Carriers' Bureau at their annual conference several weeks ago.
For the interest of Michelle George and any others who would be interested, I would suggest that they contact Joe Harrison, President of the AMSA, and ask for his assessment. In addition, I would like to offer a few comments that might help further explain the rationale for the new tariff.
One of the questions asked by Michelle George was "Who are the ones who adopted this tariff?" The committee that adopted the tariff is comprised of representatives of agents as well as every van line in the industry. The vote was unanimously in favor of the proposal. That there were no abstentions or "no" votes. In fact, in the history of participation in this committee for over 20 years, it is the first time **EDIT STARTS** there has been such **END OF EDIT** spontaneous applause by the members themselves for passage of any item.
The tariff which was approved was initially conceived some ten years ago and presented to the Household Goods Carriers' Bureau by North American. It was defeated at that time for a variety of reasons and subsequently rejected several additional times because it was felt improvements were needed. However, for the past year, a committee of key personnel who work with tariffs along with members of the Household Goods Carriers' Bureau staff have been working to iron-out the major issues and to present something that we could all live with.
The basic premise of the new tariff is to benefit the customer by providing a streamlined approach to pricing that will be much easier for sales people to present intelligently to customers. Some of the basic provisions include a reduction in the base rate of approximately 40%, zip code to zip code reference points, the consolidation of a number of charges that sales people find very difficult to explain into a consolidated accessorial charge, and a hundred weight approach for packing which is intended to help eliminate balloon packing. There are any number of other changes and Joe Harrison can provide a much better overview than I.
The intent of the new tariff was not to cheat, misinform or harm customers, van operators or sales people. Its intent was purely and simply to improve the pricing structure that we presently have in place. The van lines and their representatives labored long and hard to achieve this goal and we universally believe it will be an important step forward for our industry. For a number of years, we have looked foolish with 50-60% discounts, complex pricing schemes, frozen rates that provide for discounts off ten year old rates, and a number of other confusing applications that everyone must deal with. The van lines, I might add, are the ones who will have the most difficult time because of behind-the-scenes problems of technologically implementing the new tariff and additional complexities in revenue distribution. However, the universal support for a more rational approach to pricing overshadowed the cost of implementation and our sales people should be thankful rather than being critical of an industry that is trying to do the right thing.
In many cases, Chris, sales people drive the price in the market place, not the van lines. I hope that some of those individuals who are complaining keep that in perspective.
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