In the craziness that has become seemingly lost cars shipped to and from overseas bases, one Senator is asking users to contact him their issues -- regardless of their state of residence.
Sen. Mark Warner, a democrat from Virginia who does not sit on any military related committees, has put up a form on his website where service members can file a report about their car shipment issue. That information will then be sent to U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), which oversees the shipping contract, and result in some answers, Warner's staff hopes.
While there has been growing interest in the issue from lawmakers, thanks largely to media reports and the constant flow of constituent complaints, this is the first time we've seen a lawmaker do something more than send inquiry letters (Warner's office has sent two).
Meanwhile, service members continue to look for solutions to what might feel like a process that has no end. While the DoD reports that most cars shipped since Aug. 1 are turning up on time, those shipped before then are likely still missing. That means these folks are trying to hack it at a new duty station without their vehicle or in a rental car. International Auto Logistics (IAL), the company behind the mess, is allowing direct billing of rentals. But even that doesnt work seamlessly (because, frankly, nothing in life ever does).
And as people get more and more concerned that they will never see their vehicles again, they are going to their insurance companies. USAA, for example, has formed a special team to deal with this specific issue. Officials there said they've open 700 claims around the issue. In addition to helping users get to the right person within TRANSCOM and IAL, they are also helping them take care of whatever their policies cover.
"The most common concern we’ve heard is members trying to locate their vehicle and assisting them with rental vehicles," said Rebecca Hirsch, a USAA spokesperson. "It is our understanding that IAL has accepted primary responsibility for any damage caused in the shipping process. We’d encourage our members to seek that avenue first. A second option would be to go through your insurer - for example - should IAL decline to pay for the damage. USAA auto insurance policies typically cover this kind of damage, but a deductible may apply."
Photos courtesy of Sen. Mark Warner and Facebook.