Paycheck Chronicles

Keep An Eye On Those Moving Weights


The longer you spend in the military, the more you hear the same stories over and over again.  Eventually, even the craziest of tales starts to seem like it might be real.  Take the stories of moving companies who, accidentally or on purpose, end up charging the military for much more weight than they actually move.

As you probably know, the military contracted movers get paid by the weight of the shipment.  They are supposed to weigh the moving truck empty, then load it, then weight it full.  In 99% of the cases, there is no oversight during either weigh.  As a result, the government is trusting the movers to tell the truth.  And most movers do tell the truth.

Except for the few that don't.

In January, a major moving company was charged with systematic intent to defraud the government by falsifying the weights of shipments.  There are many more individual situations where requested reweighs shows that the original weights were significantly higher than the weights measured under scrutiny.

A friend recently moved, and it was the household good office who noticed that something looked odd.  "The woman at the moving office called us, and asked if we had acquired a lot of furniture since our last move.  She was inputting our information and noticed that the weight of our household goods had jumped several thousand pounds since our last move, two years ago.  When we said that it should have been around the same, she requested a reweigh.  The reweigh was close to our last move's weight."

In addition to defrauding the government, inaccurate moving weights can cost servicemembers who do partial personally-procured moves.  Another friend suspects this was the case in one of her family's moves.  "My husband moved over 1,000 pounds of our stuff that had been in a storage unit.  When he went to make the personally procured move claim, he was told that our possessions moved by the movers came within a few hundred pounds of our total weight limit.  As a result, he was not able to claim the full amount of weight that he moved himself.  In retrospect, there is no way that we were near our weight limit.  We were never near it before, and we were never near it again.  I wish I had challenged the weight at the time."

I'm going to try to be more diligent, myself.  We once had a move where we had gotten rid of a refrigerator, a washer, a clothes dryer, and a PIANO, and yet we mysterious gained weight in two years.  I probably should have questioned that one....

What can you do?  Be aware.  Know how much your last move weighed, and know whether you've obtained or gotten rid of a lot of stuff.  Ask for your weight when arranging delivery of your household goods, and don't accept delivery if you think the weight is off.  It might be inconvenient, but it is the right thing to do.



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