Updated National Consumer Complaint Database to include Broker Category

Responding to comments about the National Consumer Complaints Database, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it was planning updates to make it easier to file complaints against brokers. Additionally, the agency said it has no plans to change the name of the database, which is a way for drivers to report harassment, coercion and other violations of business regulations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will issue a notice and request for comment regarding the National Consumer Complaint Database on Wednesday, February 23. In the notice, the agency responded to previous comments on the database.

In September, FMCSA issued a notice regarding information gathering activities for the database. The advisory received comments from two people, as well as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Transportation Intermediaries Association.

Category for brokers

One of the commentators, MJ Thorne, suggested that the database include categories so truckers could file complaints against brokers, receivers and lumpers.

In the notice to be released Feb. 23, the FMCSA said it was updating the database to allow broker complaints, but had no plans to do so. do for receivers and lumpers.

“The update will include the ability for the system user to select broker claims specific to real estate carriers when filing their complaint,” the agency wrote. “The FMCSA appreciates suggestions regarding the addition of a complaints category (National Consumer Complaints Database) for receivers and lumpers. However, the FMCSA is not currently considering these additions.

The FMCSA said it hopes the updated database interface will make it easier for users to file complaints. Additionally, the agency said it will work to respond quickly to each complaint and initiate enforcement action where appropriate.

Response to OOIDA comments

On Nov. 2, OOIDA filed comments that described the National Consumer Complaints Database as a misnamed and “toothless” outfit for commercial vehicle drivers to report violations.

“The FMCSA’s lack of response results in many unresolved complaints and also discourages drivers from using the (database) to report unsafe practices,” OOIDA wrote. “The agency needs to increase its level of response after a complaint is filed.”

OOIDA says another problem with the database is the name itself.

“(The National Consumer Complaints Database) does not in any way imply a connection with the trucking industry,” the Association wrote. “OOIDA believes that the (database) can help improve safety, but many drivers are unaware that (it) is available to report violations of trade regulations, nor do they know that coercion complaints can be processed through the (database).”

FMCSA responded that it hoped the next update would improve the adequacy of the database, but did not plan to change the name.

“The National Consumer Complaint Database, commonly referred to as the NCCDB, is a well-known and heavily trafficked database used by consumers, brokers, motor carriers and industry personnel,” the FMCSA wrote. “In 2021, the database received over 18,000 complaints. Therefore, FMCSA does not believe there is a stakeholder awareness issue due to the name of the database.

“FMCSA looks forward to continuing to hear OOIDA’s views on the name of the database and the categories it contains and will endeavor to respond promptly to each complaint, thoroughly investigate all valid complaints and to initiate enforcement action where appropriate.”

Once the notice is published in the Federal Register, it will be open for public comment for 30 days. Comments can be made by going to the Regulations.gov website and entering FMCSA-2021-0089. LL