Arranging household goods shipments
As soon as you are alerted to your upcoming Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, you can start getting your house and family ready. Clean up and get rid of junk. Hold a yard sale or take serviceable items you no longer need to a thrift shop or donate to charity. Get important family records together in one place. You can even check your weight allowances and estimate the weight of your household goods before you start to set up your move.
If you are going overseas, you should begin to plan what items you will take in your unaccompanied baggage, in your household goods shipment, and what might need to go into permanent storage. Remember, in overseas areas, the electric current is different and houses are generally much smaller than U.S. standards and cannot handle large furniture.
Household goods shipping process
Most likely, you will use the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) to manage your household goods shipment. If it has been a few years since your last PCS move, you will find that process has changed. The DoD has set up a DPS portal website, Move.mil, that explains this new process and provides access to DPS.
Your first step will be to visit the DPS portal website. This is a public site and can be accessed from any computer, not just government terminals. Select the section called DoD Service Members and Civilians and watch the short video that explains the new processes. You will then register to use DPS, and, once that is complete, log into DPS to get started.
It used to be that every member had to attend a counseling session with the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) serving their location. While you can still choose to do this, DPS now allows you to do “self counseling” on-line at a time and place of your choosing. As soon as you have a copy of your PCS orders you can do your self-counseling in DPS. Again, the DoD Service Members and Civilians section has instructions and detailed information to assist you with this process. The self-counseling module will provide you with detailed explanations of your PCS allowances and help you decide if you want to have the government move you or whether to move yourself. Your completed self-counseling will be reviewed by a PPSO counselor who will contact you with any questions.
Some special moving situations require that you attend a counseling session in person. If you are not eligible to use DPS for counseling, you will need to set up an appointment with your transportation office as soon as you have a copy of your PCS orders. Do not delay this appointment! The earlier you call or visit your transportation office, the greater your chances of moving on the date you desire.
Regardless of how you are counseled, once everything is clear, and if you choose a government move, the counselor will route your shipment to the Transportation Service Provider (TSP) with the best quality and price available. You will be notified when this is complete and you should hear from the selected TSP within 3 business days of this decision.
It’s your move!
If you do not hear from your TSP within 3 business days of your initial notification, contact them to ensure that they have the best possible email and phone numbers for you. Remember that you will now be dealing directly with the TSP who has end-to-end responsibility for your personal property move, not just their local agents. Make sure you keep your contact information current in DPS throughout the move. It is important for communication between you and the TSP that they have the best phone numbers and email addresses.
After counseling, the TSP’s pre-move survey of your personal property is critical in arranging your household goods shipment. Generally, this should be completed 10 or more days before your requested pick-up date. Depending on the estimated size and destination of your move, this survey will probably be performed in person by the TSP’s local agent. It is important that you cooperate with the surveyor to set up this appointment. You or your authorized agent must be present during the entire survey. During the survey clearly identify all items that will be included in your shipment and answer all the surveyor’s questions accurately. Do not go out and buy additional large items to add to your shipment after the survey is complete, this will change the weight of our shipment and probably cost you money for weight over your allowance.
The surveyor will also confirm dates and addresses with you at this time and will go over any special requirements. This will allow the TSP to set up the right size crews and vehicles for your move and minimize confusion and delays during your move. The surveyor should ensure that you know how to get in touch with the TSP.
Shipping your automobile
The government may ship one Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) for you at their expense to your new overseas location. This is handled through your transportation office. Remember to review your POV needs at your counseling session. Move.mil has a whole section devoted to POV shipping information. The shipping contractor has established a website where you can track the location of your POV throughout the shipping process.
Planning for shipment of your pet includes researching airline requirements and quarantine restriction laws in your new location. You will need to ask the airlines the requirements for size, weight, number of animals, kennel construction, documentation and season of the year limitations. Occasionally, small pets can be shipped on military flights but availability and regulations are always changing, as well as fees. Search Move.mil for general information on shipping pets.
Many international locations have strict importation laws including extended quarantines and restrictions on breeds or types of animals that can be brought into the country. Carefully research these rules as they could impact your moving schedule. Not only do overseas locations have strict rules but many locations have restrictions on dangerous dogs as well.
Arrival & delivery of shipments
It is your responsibility to contact the TSP as soon as you arrive at your new duty station. Let them know how you can be contacted, phone, mobile phone and email. If you already have new quarters, they will help arrange delivery of your personal property shipments. Otherwise they will arrange for temporary storage until you have permanent housing.
Make certain that you, or someone who can act in your name, is available at your new home on delivery day. If the TSP arrives and cannot deliver the shipment, you may be charged for the attempted delivery and any additional storage that may result.
What if something of yours is damaged, lost, or destroyed during the move? DoD customers are eligible for Full Replacement Value (FRV) protection on DoD-sponsored household goods and unaccompanied baggage shipments. With this protection, the TSP will either repair or pay to repair damaged items and pay the full replacement cost for items that are lost or destroyed.
Providing prompt notice of loss or damage is an essential part of the process. The TSP’s delivery crew will provide you with a form to note any loss or damage you discover at the time of delivery. You will complete and sign this at the time of your delivery and a copy will be sent back to the TSP’s claims office.
If loss or damage is discovered after the delivery crew departs, you must notify the TSP within 75 days of delivery in order to retain your right to Full Replacement Value protection. While you may use a form provided for this purpose by your TSP, the best way is to go to Move.mil and follow the instructions to file a claim. From there you can complete the loss and damage report in DPS which will be available to the TSP immediately. All you need for a loss and damage report is the inventory number, the item’s description from the inventory, and a brief description of the damage or loss. The TSP has the right to inspect the damaged item once they receive the notice of loss or damage. Do not throw out destroyed or unrepairable items before you have spoken with the TSP’s claims agent.
A loss and damage report is not a claim. If you have any loss or damage to your personal property you will need to file your claim directly with the TSP within nine months of delivery to receive FRV coverage. Once the claim is filed directly with the TSP, the TSP is responsible for obtaining repair and replacement estimates and settling the claim by paying for repair or replacement costs. For most military shipments, you will file your claim through DPS. Again, Move.mil has instructions on using DPS to file your claim.
As in the past, the Military Claims Office (MCO) is available to help you understand the claims process and your rights and responsibilities. You may still transfer your claim to the MCO of you wish. However, if you transfer your claim the MCO will only be responsible for the lower depreciated cost of items on the claim.
Customer satisfaction survey
Once your personal property is delivered, you will be asked to rate your satisfaction with the customer service you received from the TSP. Make sure you take the time to do this. Your feedback will make the process better for everyone. The Move.mil website allows you to access the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS). The SDDC website also provides detailed information about completing the Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Your CSS is extremely important. If a TSP has done a good job, your survey will help ensure that they get more military moves and may even be available to you for your next move. Likewise, if your TSP failed to meet expectations, your survey will help ensure that they get fewer military moves. Completing the CSS not only lets your TSP know how they did on your move, it will help make the system better for all future military and DoD civilian personnel and their families when they move.