Start the Conversation

By Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Director of Strategic Communications

The military version of a horror story is definitely the PCS. Just take a look at Facebook or Instagram, and you will see and read about one disaster move after another. True, wake in the middle of the night, cold sweat stories about lost items; broken heirlooms; drivers lying about HHG weight; packers putting garage items in the same box as clothing; movers showing up on the wrong day. Suffice it to say; we could fill a book!

The PCS system, at times, seems broken with very little accountability on the part of the packing and moving companies we all must deal with.

Here is a small sample of what some families have reported post-move:

  • “We had the guy come look at all our damage today, and he made me feel like I broke the stuff myself. I mean he was so rude!”                                                                                                                                                                        
  •  “I’m missing all my utensils, measuring spoons, cups, cookie cutters, mixers, etc. All of our items were checked off as well.”                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • “Moving company denied our claim on the dryer THEY broke in the move. Their reasoning is that we can’t prove it worked before the move.”                                                                                                                                                           
  •  “All baby gear, beds, refrigerator, washing machine, mattresses, couches, anything upholstered or material was deemed total loss and not cleanable. What was cleanable is still destroyed by water damage but is a separate claim.”

On what planet is this acceptable? We would never accept this poor level of service from any other company. Can you imagine your hair dresser giving you purple hair and claiming that you never said you didn’t want purple hair? Or how about your house cleaner who breaks your vacuum but won’t replace it because you can’t prove it wasn’t already on the fritz!!!

Here at PCSgrades, we believe there are easy, yet influential, steps we can take as a community to help facilitate a better interaction between the pre-move inspectors, packers, and movers we all come into contact with as part of the PCS process.

Step #1 The Mover’s Notice

Starting with the pre-move inspector, download the Mover’s Notice at and hand them the notice the first time they visit your home. You can tell them how excited you will be to be able to rave about their company following your pack out and move! They will see that you expect them to work safely and efficiently to pack and move your belongings to your new duty station. You’ve also made them completely aware that you aren’t going to keep quiet about the experience, good or bad.

As you pass the PCSgrades Mover’s Notice to everyone who will come into contact with your HHG, you are putting the proverbial ball in their court. It is up to them to decide what type of grade they will receive.

Step #2 Leave a Review and Grade Them

If they take care in packing your treasures, transporting carefully, and communicating effectively throughout the move; you can take great pleasure in giving them a Grade A!

But likewise, breaking Grandma’s china or losing your first born’s baby book will undoubtedly end up with a low grade.

Now you might be thinking, “So what? Will anyone really care about the grade I give?” The short answer is YES! Your review will show all potential future customers (your fellow military families) as well as transportation offices that the service provided was great…..or substandard.

Bad reviews could lead to termination of contracts and loss of future potential business. At the very least, if you see that the company slated to move your HHG has a low grade, you can request another company. The DoD may or may not grant your request. You can always choose whether or not you want to DITY/PPM or partial DITY/PPM.

Thorough reviews can highlight the shortcomings of a particular company, so you can better guard against them.  If you read reviews about your moving company that indicates a history of damaged electronics, would you consider a partial DITY for your most precious electronics?

Download your Mover’s Notice today at It’s a small step, but it starts a conversation. Most importantly it starts to put some of the control back with us, the military community. Control we so desperately deserve.

Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media/Community Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, Enterprise Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.


4 thoughts on “Start the Conversation

  • 32 years in the Army. Tired of movers treating our furniture like pieces that fit on a truck instead of pieces that fit in a home. Once it’s taken apart it never goes back together perfectly.

    • Which is why we encourage everyone to download a Mover’s Notice and present to your movers. And follow up with a Moving Company review at Holding these companies accountable is the only way we are ever going to curb some of the bad behavior and poor service. Thanks for your comment Liz.

  • Our truck driver from Virginia to El Paso, Texas told me they could not go up in our attic during our on post move in which left months of back breaking work for me. The people who moved us out were happy to do it when we left El Paso. The same guy showed up a day later than expected after we drove like crazy people to get there to meet him. He said he needed to rest. The movers NEVER safely assemble my son’s bunk bed. The mover told me he always hires two less people than required based on the amount of HHGs because he said they will be lazy if he has too many people. At a certain time, the movers said they needed to go for various reasons and they left one but one leaving the driver. When I asked the driver to assemble something I asked the movers to assemble, he looked at me and said he was tired. He did not bother with locating our sensitive items/high value items. When I asked about it, he said he was a minister and I should trust him…basically forcing me into a situation to sign the papers saying I saw the items because I wanted it to be over. He insisted our load was heavier than when we moved TO our last house although we left many things behind in storage. My husband was off and running with work and was not much involved with the move. The movers take advantage of family members when we are outnumbered. They put bedroom items and kitchen items in the basement for ease of work for them. He also broke dining room items and played the blame game of who did it. They greatly damaged my master bedroom suite and several other items. The movers should not treat a family as if they are burdening them because the family “has a lot of stuff.” The work/time it takes to fix broken items is exhausting. Also, the claims process should not put a burden on the claimant. The movers or some other party should have to come back and access the Damage and coordinate for repair and replacement. Families do not have time to take this on when they are busy getting settled with new school, jobs, and other responsibilities. In other moves we have had missing TVs, missing mattresses, stolen golf clubs, missing personalized unit gifts from Korea that can’t be replaced. Quality control is usually nonexistent. Families should also have someone to do damage controls after the move without placing the burden on military families to chase down a claims/repair process. The process should not be a nightmare for families.

    • We totally agree Crystal and we would encourage you to copy and paste your comments into a PCSgrades Moving Company review so that another unsuspecting military family can have a heads up if they have to deal with the same company. We, as the military community, have to hold these companies accountable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *