PCSgrades’ Rebecca Alwine shares information about the company’s services and ability to help Military Families that are about to PCS, or that just made a very difficult move, thanks to an undesirable moving company. We’re happy to share the company’s advice and options for recourse — or at least getting the word out to other MilFams — below.
Military Families are expert detectives when it comes to moving, researching like professionals in order to decide where to live, where to send their kids to school, what sports are available, and what to pack for the current weather conditions.
When it comes to the actual move, Military Families have very little say about the process. Some are lucky enough to pick the pack out days, but that is pretty much it. No say on the moving company, no say on the driver, no say on the time the packers show up, and definitely no say on the delivery date.
A question that is often raised: Where does the government get these companies? Horror stories seem to outweigh good experiences and some even become urban legend. Like the time Andrea, an Army Spouse, received their household goods in Germany and when the crates opened, so did the floodgates. “The crate was left outside at the Frankfurt Airport for 30 days, in the rain!” And if that wasn’t enough, the time they arrived at Fort Leavenworth, everything with a plug and every piece of furniture was gone. A claim of $70,000 was filed for that move.
How do things like this happen? How can we encourage moving companies to take better care of military families and their belongings? And how can you ensure that your stuff doesn’t go by the wayside? PCSgrades can help you figure that out.
What can you do?
PCSgrades is a new website providing the Military community with the opportunity to share information through reviews of neighborhoods and REALTORS®, and they’re launching a moving company review section! The company was started by and for Military servicemembers and is intricately tied to the Military Family community. No one out there can understand, commiserate, and celebrate with a Military Family more than another Military Family.
The team at PCSgrades wants to make the gathering and sharing of information easy and accessible for the busy MilFam approaching a move. Reviews can help put a family’s mind at ease regarding their moving company or help prepare them to keep an extra eye on certain aspects of the process.
Will leaving a review actually do anything?
What most Military Families probably don’t know is that they have a choice in the moving company! While the Department of Defense has the ultimate say (as always!), Military servicemembers can request to work with or NOT to work with specific companies.
Knowledge is power, and knowing what other families have experienced provides you with the power to alter your plans if possible. For example, if the moving company you’ve been assigned has a decent reputation, but seems to have a problem with losing screws, you may choose to disassemble and package up the hardware for your furniture. Or if electronics seem to be damaged or lost, you may choose to move those yourself.
Leaving an honest review of your experiences with a particular moving company can help another family down the road. Companies are sensitive about their online reputation, and moving companies are no exception. All reviews on PCSgrades are made by a verified military service member or their spouse. This carries quite a bit of weight with these moving companies. An anonymous rant on Facebook or a website does not wield the same weight as the reviews on a trusted website.
In addition to leaving a review, Military Families can start a conversation with the moving company or with fellow Military Families. So if you have a specific question as to what happened with the furniture assembly on the other end, you can message that reviewer through the PCSgrades Admin. As the one leaving the review, you always have the choice to respond or ignore the message. Your personal information is never shared with anyone. All communications go through the PCSgrades server. Only your user name is ever viewed publicly.
What should you do now?
You may not be in the middle of a move right now. You may not be facing one in the immediate future, but you have moved before. And if your experience was particularly good (or bad) you remember it. So your first step is to register for your account on PCSGrades. Then you leave some reviews for past neighborhoods, REALTORS® you’ve used, apartment complexes you lived in back in the day, and even housing on the installation. Then, they want to hear your moving company reviews! Make sure you are as detailed as possible. And take pride in the fact that you are helping other military families as they navigate the often daunting PCS process!
Rebecca Alwine has been a Military Spouse for over 8 years, traveling the world and learning about herself. She’s discovered she enjoys running, loves lifting weights, is a voracious reader, and actually enjoys most of the menial tasks of motherhood. You can follow her on Twitter at armywife1229 or at www.whatrebeccathinks.com.