As the moving season approaches, several rule changes have been introduced to enhance the moving process for service members. These changes address various aspects, including handling lithium batteries, privately owned firearms without serial numbers, gun safes, replacement costs, damage to electronic items, and in-transit visibility. Let's take a closer look at the key rule modifications:
Lithium Batteries: Movers are now required to properly pack and label lithium-ion batteries with a watt-hour rating of 100 or less (lithium metal batteries weighing 2 grams or less) in personal property. Previously, there were no clear regulations for handling these batteries, leading to case-by-case decision-making. Lithium battery-powered devices like vacuum cleaners and lawn equipment are becoming more common, adding complexity to the process. The new rules seek to clarify industry compliance with federal law to prevent service members from being put in last-minute predicaments when movers are unable to transport such items.
Privately Owned Firearms without Serial Numbers: The revised regulations primarily impact antique firearms. Any firearm manufactured after 1968 and lacking a serial number will not be packed. However, firearms made before 1968 without a serial number can be transported with the proper documentation, such as a Customs and Border Protection Form 4455 Certificate of Registration or a bill of sale. This distinction aims to address concerns about tracking lost or stolen weapons during the moving process.
Gun Safes: Companies are now required to weigh empty gun safes separately or use the manufacturer's weight specification to meet the Joint Travel Regulation requirement, which allows 500 pounds of additional weight in personal property shipments. This change ensures the accurate accounting of weight for safe transportation.
Replacement Costs: In the case of lost or damaged items, moving companies must base the replacement liability on the local replacement cost or cover any shipping or delivery costs. Importantly, the companies are prohibited from passing on membership fees, which may be required for the item's purchase, to the service member. If a repair estimate cannot be obtained, the moving company is responsible for providing the full replacement value.
Damage to Electronic Items: To address concerns about the condition of electronic items upon arrival, any item that no longer works at the destination will be presumed to have incurred damage during transit, unless the issue was documented before leaving the customer's residence.
In-Transit Visibility: Moving companies are now obligated to provide shipment updates in the Defense Personal Property System. This includes informing customers about key stages, such as when the shipment enters or leaves storage, arrives or departs from a port of embarkation, or if there are any delivery date changes. This increased visibility allows both the Department of Defense and service members to track and verify information about their shipments.
These rule changes are designed to enhance the moving experience for service members and provide clarity and protection throughout the process. By addressing various logistical challenges, these regulations aim to ensure a smoother and more efficient moving season.