Military Spouse's Petition Calls for PCS Oversight, Goes Viral

Military Spouse's Petition Calls for PCS Oversight, Goes Viral

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Thousands of military spouses fed up with broken or missing belongings   following PCS moves are pushing Congress and top military leaders to be more selective when hiring moving companies.

Army veteran and military spouse Megan Harless started a petition in late August on Change.org that has garnered more than 49,000 signatures in only its fifth day. 

Harless runs the “Military Spouse Chronicles” Facebook page, which helps military spouses bond through their unique experiences.

[Read the petition:Click here.]

The petition is pushing elected officials to hold moving companies accountable when moving military families.

“If you are on the lucky side of things, your household goods will arrive with a few scratches and maybe a broken bowl,” Harless said. “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.”

In 13 years, the Harless family has moved nine times. Each move, the family filed claims averaging $3,000 to $4,000 in damaged goods, Harless said She added it's been a surprise to see her petition blow up online.

“I think it really shows it's not isolated,” she said. “I hope it gets into the hands of people that are able to impact things and make a change.”

The Defense Department relocates more families than any other organization in the United States, according to its website

On a move to a new duty station, servicemembers count on a government-furnished moving company to pack and transport household goods to the new location. Some servicemembers move to a new duty station as often as every two years.

When possessions are broken or lost during a move, families can file a claim through the Claims Office for the service branch.

But that's not a solution when a family is told a box of baby photos is missing, or wedding china is smashed, Harless said

“There are things that money just can't fix,” she said.

Haunna Birdsey signed the petition and said her dining table arrived missing a leg, chairs were smashed and several boxes of family memories were missing.

“Not only were our belongings held hostage for weeks after it was supposed to be delivered, but they also caused hundreds of dollars in damage,” she wrote. “The utter lack of responsibility during all of it was amazing.”

Another supporter, Marna Smith, said she witnessed careless when movers packed her family's belongings.

“I've had missing and broken things due to carelessness of those packing and moving our things,” she wrote. “I have wardrobe boxes packed with one thing in it. I've had large boxes with one lampshade in it. I've had furniture make all the way to its destination just fine, then get broken with the company that moved it in the new home.”

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA's staff writer. She can be reached at amandad@moaa.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.