Every year Transcom will implement new changes to the DoD Personal Property Relocation program. Over the past few years the PCSing process has had more scrutiny as families complained. Those at Transcom took notice and began working to make sure changes made to the program focused on improving the process for the families. Past initiatives have included increasing the amount of crated shipments for CONUS moves (6% in 2018 went up to 12% in 2019), increasing the claims filing timeline from 75 days to 180 days, and increasing the liability coverage from $4/pound up to $50,000 in 2018 to $6/pound up to $75,000 in 2019. Other changes included background checks on all personnel interacting with DoD customers, and automatic re-weighs on shipments that are over their allotted amount.
These new initiatives will take effect on May 15, 2021, when the tender of service change with the moving industry takes place. This is what those moving this summer have to look forward to.
Previously: Wait times were 30 minutes long, no support on weekends, and calls for storage approval only had to be four hours a part.
New Change: Transportation Service Providers (TSP)s will have to keep their wait times down to 20 minutes between 0800-1700. Additionally, they will now be required to have customer service support available during the peak season which runs mid-May to the end of August. Also, TSPs will not be allowed to put shipments into storage without customer approval OR two documented attempts of contact that are six hours apart. However, if you still do not have a residence when these calls come in, your HHGs will have to go to storage until you have keys in hand for a delivery.
Residential Property Protections
Previously: While some TSPs provided this service as a standard for their company, it was not required.
New Change: Everyone at some point has probably suffered a scratch on a wall or floor as items were being carried in and out of the home. With the tender of service change for May, TSPs will now be required to place floor coverings in high traffic areas, and protect doors at entry areas, hallways, and stairs prior to packing and delivery. This change should allow for few scratches, dents, and the need for so much repainting.
Tamper Evident Seals
Previously: For 2019-2020 there was no requirement to have seals on crates, although some companies still offered the service.
New Change: Good news if you are heading OCONUS or have a crated CONUS shipment. A big concern has always been about how secure the crates are and how you will know if anything is messed with. TSPs will be required to apply tamper-evident seals. While crates could still be opened for several reasons, to include at customs, your TSP should be notifying you if the crates do need to be opened and you will be able to see it with the seals.
Previously: Prior to these changes the TSP had the choice to replace damaged items or offer the replacement costs. The salvage timeline was also 30 days from the settlement of the claim which meant that families were holding onto the broken items for months at a time.
New Change: Claims will get smoother for families, and you won’t have to keep your broken items forever anymore. The family will be able to choose between having the items replaced or receiving the full replacement cost for the items. Also, the TSP will be held to a seven-day response window on counter-offers. Unlike the current timeline, if a TSP chooses to salvage any items, they must do so within 45 days of when they had the claim inspection done. Once 45 days hit, you are now free to toss those items to the curb.
Force Protection Regulations
Previously: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretary of Defense had issued a protection guideline for moving crews to wear masks while working in a home.
New Change: This will require movers to comply with the DoD safety measures and CDC guidance associated with COVID-19. This includes personal protective equipment such as wearing a mask and having health protocol documentation that they have been screened. This new regulation will be a continuation of what was put in place during the 2020 stop move.
A final change to the DoD program was a Joint Travel Regulation (JTR) update on Nov. 1, 2020, that added “private lodging,” which means the debate around Airbnbs can now end. This change means that for TLE you can use the Airbnb if you provide an itemized receipt with each day listed and a $0 balance. Additionally, you still need to check to see if government quarters are available. If they are and you chose not to use them, then you will only be reimbursed up to the government rate.