A group of military spouses wants the military to hold the private companies that handle household moves during permanent changes of station more accountable. The organization, known as Military Spouse Chronicles, has launched a petition drive on the web site change.org, asking the secretaries of each service, members of Congress, and other parties to improve what they describe as an untenable situation.
“If you are on the lucky side of things, your [household goods] will arrive with a few scratches and maybe a broken bowl. However, most everyone ends up on the other side. Boxes will be unloaded smashed and torn, furniture will come off broken in multiple pieces, and other items will just go missing,” the group wrote on the petition page.
Their only redress, they say, is a claims process that is arduous, inefficient, and seemingly interminable. Heirlooms such as inherited furniture, wedding china or childhood memories that are broken or lost cannot be replaced with cash, the group claims.
“Within the last two years, the average claim has been around $10,000, with an average of only 50 [percent] to 60 percent of that being paid out,” the group stated.
The situation has worsened during the past five years, the group claims, because the larger companies who hold the government contracts for PCS moves sub contract the work out to smaller and less reliable companies. As a result, the group says, household goods are poorly packed and not handled with care. Complaints tend to draw derisive responses from the movers as well, according to the complaint.
“Is it too much to ask our elected officials to step in and protect our service members from the headache and heartache during a PCS?” the group stated.
As of early September, roughly 80,000 persons have signed the petition. Military Spouse Chronicles hopes to get 150,000 signatures eventually.