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Filing a Shipping Act Complaint

The FMC can assist in resolving complaints and disputes, finding solutions and awarding reparations related to ocean transportation activities:

Using Alternative Dispute Resolution Services (ADR): ADR (mediation or settlement) is an alternative to court action, which may be less costly and time consuming and allow greater control over the outcome. The Commission encourages people experiencing shipping problems to contact a mediator before filing a complaint. If you have a dispute and are not sure where to begin, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution.

Filing a Small Claims Complaint: For claims of $50,000 or less, a small claim alleging Shipping Act violations may be filed. The complaint will be handled by a settlement officer for resolution using informal procedures (46 CFR Part 502 Subpart S).

Filing A Formal Complaint: Any person may file a formal complaint to allege violations of specific sections of the Shipping Act. The complaint must be sworn and verified, and if seeking reparations, be filed within three years of the claimed violation. Formal complaints are generally heard by an Administrative Law Judge and are reviewed by the Commission.

Contact Information

Office of the Secretary

Phone: 202-523-5725

Fax: 202-523-0014