By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse
Is it just me or has this PCS season been one of the worst ever?
Just spend an afternoon checking out posts on Facebook. The stories of PCSes gone bad are heart-wrenching! The Lost During My PCS website is full of people looking for lost belongings or venting over a horrible move. As a mil-spouse who has had my own share of PCS heartbreak, these stories have brought me to tears of both sorrow and anger. A bad moving experience should not be the norm.
It’s no secret frequent relocations are one of the biggest stressors for military families. A bad moving experience can leave families feeling they have little control or input into the moving process. Even worse, when personal belongings are lost, stolen or broken, military families often feel helpless with no meaningful recourse.
Something HAS to change. But what? Where to start?
It comes as no surprise that military families tend to trust each other far more than just about anyone else. In fact, despite some of the disaster stories, only about one third of military families officially review their moving company via the Defense Personal Property System following a PCS. The few surveys that are completed are not available or openly shared with the very customers who the process is intended to serve…you, the military family. This lack of transparency generates frustration among a community with little choice in which moving company to use during a move.
PCSgrades has launched an unprecedented new tool, empowering military families for the first time with a genuine voice in the moving process. Those that know about it, love it. A trusted review platform for military and veteran families, the PCSgrades’ Moving Company Review platform enables us to interact like never before! But we need EVERYONE involved. Review platforms such as Angie’s List or Yelp are only as good as the people who participate.
Let’s Help Ourselves!
PCSgrades.com is exclusive to military and veterans. Civilians can not participate. The entire website is BY and FOR the military and veteran community.
Todd Ernst, co-founder of PCSgrades, says, “Our aim is to empower currently-serving and veteran military families to share information and opinions openly with each other through PCSgrades.com, our social media channels, and through our partner organizations.”
As the database matures, military and veteran families will glean the best available information from each other about the companies who handle their household goods. Every review submitted strengthens the voice of the military community, providing a little more control that has never existed before.
So why leave a review you ask?
Well, reviews can either bring peace of mind that your household goods will be treated with respect or highlight the shortcomings of a particular company. Knowledge is power. If you know your moving company has prior complaints against them, you can be proactive in guarding your household goods. In certain situations you might choose to move some or all of your belongings as part of a Personally Procured Move (PPM/Dity) or you might request that a specific company isn’t used (subject to DOD approval).
Unlike typical review sites, a downloadable one-page notice is available at PCSgrades.com for military families to hand-deliver to the moving company informing them their performance will be reviewed.
We’re Not Going To Take It Anymore!
Does leaving a review after the fact change your horrible experience with a PCS? No. But you might be saving another military family from going through your nightmare experience. At the very least, we are building a database that will be hard for the powers that be to ignore. Add your voice to the thousands of others that are saying, “This needs to stop!”
Military families sacrifice enough moving every couple of years. This proud Marine spouse believes that we should be able to make these moves without fear of losing our most precious belongings. Add your voice to the mix. Pay it forward. Let’s work to make sure a disappointing, heartbreaking PCS season like this most recent one, never happens again.
Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children. She has pcsed 5 times and lost many a precious belonging with each move. Carla 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, and Documentary Reporting. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.