Re-updating For the Third Time Because of Useless Companies

Vivian Yongewa
3 min readJun 30, 2022

The Vultures Hovering Over My Safer Company Snapshot Are Scarier Than The FMSCA

Photo by Dušan veverkolog on Unsplash

My husband has a courier company, and it had to update its company information this month in order to keep authorized. The letter the FMSCA sent said it had to be updated ‘on or before’ June 30th.

June 1 and April 11 is before June 30, but companies that make their living doing updates for small couriers don’t seem to know this.

The Routine

Updating the company information takes three minutes and is completely free. The second you establish a courier company, compliance companies will swarm you demanding a chance to do it for you for $250. Giving them the information that they need to update will also take about three minutes.

Their pitch is often to head the emails with bright orange, large letters declaring that your update is due or else the Department of Transportation will fine you. And they will send you these emails starting the January of the year that need to do the update and keep sending you emails right up until the very day the update is due, no matter when you do the update.

Some of these emails will say in small print that you should ignore the email if you already did the update, but many will act as though ‘on or before’ means a minute past midnight on the due date and no other time.

I Know I Should Relax

It’s not that the fines aren’t real. The rule is quite real, and undoubtedly the FMSCA is prompt in dealing with someone who fails to update.

I’m just positive that the DOT and FMSCA aren’t so hard up for money that they will fine anyone who updates a month early. It is also handy for companies who do a job that you can do quickly and for free to interpret a statute in a way that lets them terrify new business owners into using their services.

The emails are designed to hide the fact that the company is in no way an official part of the DOT. They bold the relevant rules and put a big blinking orange link to their website well above their company information.

The Result

And these emails get in my head. The rational part of me suspects that the government would have accepted the April update as fine and leave us alone, and I am almost positive that they would have accepted the June 1 update as perfectly fine. Another tiny sliver of my mind lives in terror of the compliance company sending me and my husband a scarlet note screaming ‘Past Due! You will soon be out of service!’ because it is July 1 and the last update was June 1 and discovering too late that the FMSCA is really that dumb.

The scarlet screaming email also scares me because they will go to my husband, and English is his fifth language. This means that I will get forwarded this shrieking load of corporate sleight of hand with the note, “HUh?” And I will have to tell him every single time that, yes, I did it already.

I’m afraid the emails will go to him even if I am correct in assuming that the June 1 update was acceptable, and I had left it at that. Or that the June 30 update is merely not showing on the Safer website yet. And some predatory jerk will declare that we need to give his company hundreds of dollars to do what I just did three times for free.

These tactics walk the line of being a scam. There is no outright lie, just pressure and the hope that you will buy yourself free of the anxiety that they created.

I am far more afraid of the mind games of these compliance companies than I am of a department that could actually yank our authorization.

Vivian Yongewa

Writes for content farms and fun. Has an AU historical mystery series on Kindle.