By Julie Evans, Claims Examiner, OSJAMay 30, 2017
The summer PCS (permanent change of station) season is upon us. There are certain steps to take now to make sure any claim you file against your Transportation Service Provider (TSP) is paid in full.
One important way to protect yourself is by substantiating the condition of your property on your household goods inventory. For example, if the movers list pre-existing damage (PED) codes on the inventory like "SC," meaning scratches, you should ask the mover to remove the code if it is not correct. If you do not take notice of the code and do not note an exception, the TSP will likely deny your claim if movers subsequently damage your property, citing PED as the reason for your denial.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself:
Take photos or video of household goods just before the mover packs them. This way, for example, you can demonstrate your TV was working because it was functioning properly when you filmed it, and you can show there were no visible scratches or other PED on your dining room table. If the TSP declines to remove the PED code, you should note any exceptions to the TSP's codes directly on the inventory. You can write on the inventory, in the area provided for "exceptions."
For example, "the TV is not scratched," so the TSP knows that you do not agree with their assessment. Noting exceptions can be helpful if you end up transferring the claim from the TSP to a Military Claims Office (MCO), because it shows you had a valid basis for disagreeing with the TSP's denial of your claim.
When it comes to shipping a POV, special rules apply. Double check your Vehicle Inspection & Shipping Form (VISF) at drop-off to make sure any PED listed by the shipper is not exaggerated. Also, be extra vigilant when checking your POV for damage at pickup. Failure to note obvious loss or damage before departing the Vehicle Processing Center can result in claim denial. Failure to return to the VPC within a few hours to note any loss or damage that was not obvious at pickup can have the same effect. Here are some other tips for vehicles:
Give your vehicle a hard look; open and shut the doors, hood and trunk to make sure nothing is amiss. If you notice loss or damage, list it as an exception on the back of the VISF before departing the VPC.
Pick up the vehicle in the morning. That way, you can wash your vehicle, which will better enable you to identify any damage not previously visible during pickup. Return immediately to the VPC to report such damage.
Do not settle your claim on-the-spot at the VPC unless you are 100 percent sure that you will be satisfied with the settlement. If you accept an on-the-spot payment upon receiving the vehicle, you cannot later submit a claim to the MCO requesting more money because the claim will be considered settled in full.
Anyone with questions about these or other claims-related issues, call the Vicenza Claims Office at DSN 637-8831/832, comm. 0444-61-8831/32, or visit the office and consult with claims experts. Travel safe and ship smart!