The Pentagon is coming under fire from military families who are angry that their cars go missing for weeks while being shipped to new bases.
For the past two decades, the Defense Department has employed contractors to move private vehicles for the thousands of military personnel who are re-stationed every year, The Daily Beast
A new contractor, International Auto Logistics (IAL), took over the job in May and has processed 22,000 vehicles for shipment. But the Pentagon has received dozens of complaint about lost cars, live tracking issues, and ineffectual customer service agents.
One military wife, using only her first name Amanda, told the Beast that she had her Mini Cooper shipped from San Diego to Alaska when her husband was re-stationed. But the car never arrived, and her spouse has been forced to bike miles to work every day, often in the rain.
"I am worried I will never see it again," Amanda told the Beast. "I am really upset that the car is 'lost' but even more upset that I cannot get anyone to give me any information. I do not know if it will arrive next week, next month or next year, or ever."
Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, said that he wrote to the Pentagon last month, saying he had "been astounded at a number of the stories soldiers have shared with me regarding the difficulties their families have endured" due to missing cars.
The Defense Department wrote back to Vitter this month, informing him that the problems were being dealt with. "We have noted in the early stages of this contract transition that IAL has faced some challenges," the department said in a letter the Beast obtained. "Some members have experienced reduced service during the transition. Those servicing issues are being addressed individually."
And although the Pentagon admitted there had been delays, it insisted that "no service member vehicles have been lost."
IAL did not respond to a request from the Beast for comment. A call to its customer service line led to a full voicemail box, the website added.
Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, who represents the Georgia district where IAL has its headquarters, defended the company.
A spokesman for Kingston, Greg Dolan, said, "If there’s something where they’re not doing their job, for sure we’d like to investigate that. Incidents of customer dissatisfaction doesn’t rise to that level. It would have to be something more substantial before we raise a fit on that."
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