Movers Beware: Bad Military Mover Horror Stories

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A military spouse shared the following story:

We were in the midst of another PCS move and thought things were going well. We were satisfied with our packers, and the driver seemed like a nice guy, too.

Then we arrived at our new duty station and received a call from the transportation office. The caller wanted to know whether we had a partial DITY in addition to the moving truck. My husband told her we did, and she informed him that we were already just 220 pounds under our weight limit.

That didn't sound right, since we'd just moved a year earlier and our weight was about 3,000 pounds less than that. We were a little worried, considering we'd just hauled about 2,500 pounds ourselves, but figured it had to be a mistake.

My husband happened to be on his way to the local moving company to weigh our empty truck. When he arrived, our driver Thomas was there dropping off our crates. He told Thomas there was no way we had that much weight. Thomas said he'd double-check the trailer, make sure no one else's stuff was on there and get a reweigh.

Still, my husband felt something was off. Before leaving, he asked another warehouse employee to call him when the reweigh was complete. When that woman called back, she had some interesting news: The driver weighed again and came back with the same weight.

But she looked at the number of crates he left behind and concluded there was no way we had the amount of weight he claimed. She had all of our crates loaded onto one of their trucks and weighed it yet again.

It turns out our official weight was 2,800 pounds less than the driver claimed. We suspect the driver knew our pay grade and, therefore, our weight limit. We believe he wanted to make extra money and planned to weigh in just under the limit to avoid raising red flags.

He probably didn't count on a transportation office worker knowing it was unlikely we'd move without at least a partial PPM. He also probably didn't bank on a moving company employee paying attention to the number of crates we had and reweighing everything.

We hope this isn't happening regularly, but let it serve as a warning to pay close attention to your total weight. If it seems high, don't be afraid to question it.

Another military family tells of dealing with a moving company that tried to bribe them into giving the firm a rating of 3 instead of 1. This family was dissatisfied, because two movers got into a profanity-laced argument with each other that was so tense, the men nearly walked out on the job.

"They also didn't want to put any of our stuff together," the service member recalled. "It got so bad that I had to intervene to calm them down."

The company later offered to pay the family $300 to upgrade their review.

Whether moving companies or their subcontractors receive repeat military permanent change of station (PCS) business is based on the ratings customers like you give -- and they know it. It's in their best interest to make sure they make you happy, do their jobs and get a good rating.

But doing a bad job and then offering you cash for a good rating is a big no-no. And officials at U.S. Transportation Command agree. A company that does this could be prosecuted.

"In accordance with the Defense Transportation Regulation Part IV, Appendix B, Transportation Service Providers are prohibited from making false, fictitious or fraudulent representations," said Fred Rice, a TRANSCOM spokesman. "This type of behavior would fall under the category of an 'unethical act' and is subject to punitive actions and/or other criminal penalties."

If this happens to you, report the provider to your local transportation office.

This article was adapted from a post originally published to Military.com's SpouseBuzz blog by an author writing under a pen name combined with other advice published to Military.com. 

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PCS Family and Spouse