• Military increasing oversight of moving companies

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    The agency that moves military families from city to city says it’s making changes to hold moving companies accountable.

    It comes after an Action News Jax Investigation exposed a pattern of delays, as well as lost, damaged and even stolen belongings.

    In July, Sen. Bill Nelson sent a letter to the head of U.S. Transportation Command, known as TRANSCOM, because of the gaps Action News Jax exposed in oversight of military moving contractors.

    RELATED: 150 military families say Jacksonville-based Suddath Relocation Services made their move a disaster | Suddath CEO promises changes after Action News Jax investigation

    Now we’ve learned TRANSCOM Cmdr.General Darren McDew sent a response to Sen. Nelson promising change.

    The letter said TRANSCOM is increasing in-person inspections, doing more to ensure service members know their rights when moving contractors don’t live up to standards, and re-vamping its online move-scheduling tool Mov.mil.

    Traci Mayes can describe her Navy family’s move in one word.

    “Nightmare,” said Mayes.

    After five years in Jacksonville, Mayes moved her family from the northside to Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago.

    Two months later, dozens of their belongings still have not shown up.

    “Honestly, it’s kind of like they don’t care anymore,” said Mayes.

    Mayes said she’s glad TRANSCOM is increasing oversight.

    “Now that I think that they’re actually hearing us and seeing what’s actually happening, that it’s a really good sign that -- oh look, we need to start paying attention to what’s actually going on,” said Mayes.

    MORE: Suddath CEO on military family complaints: ‘It pains us'Navy family says moving company lost dozens of belongings during move from Jacksonville

    But Action News Jax found there are still some gaps.

    TRANSCOM will not provide service members with their assigned moving contractors’ Customer Service Satisfaction Scores, keeping military families in the dark about how their contractor stacks up against others.

    TRANSCOM also does not approve subcontractors, like storage companies, that the primary moving contractor uses.

    That means the government is not vetting some companies that are directly handling military families’ belongings.

    A TRANSCOM spokesperson said its current customer satisfaction average is 91 percent.

    But Action News Jax is questioning that statistic because that’s the same number the agency quoted us in July.

    We’ve followed up to find out what time period that 91 percent really covers, after more than 100,000 people have signed a petition to hold military moving companies accountable.

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