B-130543, APR. 1, 1957

B-130543: Apr 1, 1957

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SUBMITS A CLAIM FOR A REFUND OF $75 WHICH YOU SAY WAS MADE AS A TOKEN PAYMENT. THE EXCESS COST WAS INCURRED INCIDENT TO YOUR TRANSFER FROM BOSTON. INFORMED ONE OR MORE OF THE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF ARRANGING SHIPMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS THAT YOU DID NOT WISH TO INCUR ANY EXCESS CHARGES. THE AMOUNT FINALLY SHIPPED IS REPORTED TO HAVE WEIGHED 15. THE RECORD BEFORE US SHOWS THAT A LETTER WAS WRITTEN TO YOU BY MR. ADVISING YOU THAT THE WEIGHT LIMIT ON HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS WAS 8. IT WOULD SEEM YOU WERE GIVEN REASONABLE ASSISTANCE AND WERE MADE AWARE OF THE PERTINENT REGULATIONS. YOU MAY HAVE MISINTERPRETED THE PROVISIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER TO MEAN THAT YOU WERE PERMITTED TO SHIP 7.

B-130543, APR. 1, 1957

TO MR. GEORGE W. ARNOLD:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 28, 1957, SUBMITS A CLAIM FOR A REFUND OF $75 WHICH YOU SAY WAS MADE AS A TOKEN PAYMENT, UNDER PROTEST, ON $1,707.50, FOR WHICH THE CUSTOMS BUREAU HAS FOUND YOU INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES AS THE COST OF SHIPPING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT ALLOWED UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805. YOU ALSO REQUEST TO BE RELIEVED OF PAYMENT OF THE BALANCE OF THAT AMOUNT.

THE EXCESS COST WAS INCURRED INCIDENT TO YOUR TRANSFER FROM BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, TO PARIS, FRANCE, IN 1955. IT APPEARS THAT YOU HAD DIFFICULTY IN ASCERTAINING THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS THAT COULD BE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, AND INFORMED ONE OR MORE OF THE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF ARRANGING SHIPMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS THAT YOU DID NOT WISH TO INCUR ANY EXCESS CHARGES. HOWEVER, YOU ADMIT ADDING SOME ARTICLES TO THOSE DESIGNATED FOR SHIPMENT BUT SAY THAT THEY DID NOT WEIGH MORE THAN 50 POUNDS. THE AMOUNT FINALLY SHIPPED IS REPORTED TO HAVE WEIGHED 15,435 POUNDS (1,934 CUBIC FEET) GROSS WEIGHT, AND 8,376 POUNDS NET.

THE RECORD BEFORE US SHOWS THAT A LETTER WAS WRITTEN TO YOU BY MR. F. E. RUSSELL, ACTING DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, ON APRIL 26, 1955, ADVISING YOU THAT THE WEIGHT LIMIT ON HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS WAS 8,750 POUNDS. ALSO THE OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION OF PERSONAL ACTION DATED MAY 5, 1955, WHICH NOTIFIED YOU OF THE TRANSFER SAYS "TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED OR PROVIDED IN SECTION 120 OF THE CUSTOMS ACCOUNTING MANUAL.' THE MANUAL REFERS THE READER TO EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805 AND AMENDMENTS THERETO, ATTACHED AS AN APPENDIX TO THE MANUAL. MOREOVER, THE EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT ON OR ABOUT JUNE 3, 1955, YOU READ THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. THUS, IT WOULD SEEM YOU WERE GIVEN REASONABLE ASSISTANCE AND WERE MADE AWARE OF THE PERTINENT REGULATIONS. IT DOES APPEAR, HOWEVER, YOU MAY HAVE MISINTERPRETED THE PROVISIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER TO MEAN THAT YOU WERE PERMITTED TO SHIP 7,000 POUNDS NET WEIGHT BUT FAILED TO REALIZE THAT 8,750 POUNDS GROSS WEIGHT WAS THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE. THE EVIDENCE INDICATES THAT BECAUSE OF THIS MISINTERPRETATION YOU INSTRUCTED THE SHIPPING COMPANY, F. B. RICH AND SONS, TO CRATE ALL OF YOUR GOODS AND THE FIRM SAYS IT ACCEPTED YOUR "FINAL INSTRUCTIONS TO SHIP WHAT HE (YOU) TOLD THEM.' THERE IS EVIDENCE ON FILE, ALSO, THAT YOU INFORMED THE SHIPPING COMPANY OF THE 7,000 POUND NET FIGURE CONCEPT, AND THAT YOU KEPT ADDING FURTHER PIECES OF EFFECTS TO THE SHIPMENT RIGHT UP UNTIL YOUR DEPARTURE. IN AN UNDATED LETTER TO THE SHIPPING COMPANY, SENT AFTER YOUR ARRIVAL IN PARIS, YOU STATED "BY THE WAY DID YOU GET ALL STRAIGHTENED OUT WITH MR. GILL WITH THE NET WEIGHT OF 7,000 POUNDS. I DID NOT WANT THE SHIPMENT OF FURNITURE (NET WEIGHT) TO BE OVER 7,000 POUNDS.' FURTHER, IT IS EVIDENCE THAT THE BILL OF LADING SHOWING A GROSS WEIGHT OF 15,435 POUNDS (1,934 CUBIC FEET) WAS PREPARED SUBSEQUENT TO YOUR ARRIVAL IN PARIS.

SECTION 17 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9805, PRESCRIBING REGULATIONS FOR OVERSEAS SHIPMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, LIMITS THE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FOR EMPLOYEES HAVING A FAMILY TO A MAXIMUM OF 8,750 POUNDS "WHEN PACKED, CRATED, BOXED OR PLACED IN LIFT VANS FOR SHIPMENT.' THE GROSS WEIGHT LIMITATION ALSO APPEARS IN SECTION 1/A), ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 806, PURSUANT TO WHICH THE REGULATIONS WERE PROMULGATED. SECTION 22 OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER PROVIDES THAT IF PROPERTY IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT ALLOWABLE UNDER THESE REGULATIONS IS SHIPPED ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, THE EMPLOYEE SHALL IMMEDIATELY UPON COMPLETION OF THE SHIPMENT PAY TO THE PROPER OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT, AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE CHARGE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH EXCESS.

IT IS NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR FROM THE RECORD JUST WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXCESS WEIGHT SHIPPED. THERE APPEARS TO BE NO QUESTION, HOWEVER, BUT THAT THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS CAUSING THE EXCESS WEIGHT WERE YOUR PROPERTY AND YOU RECEIVED THE BENEFIT ARISING FROM SUCH SHIPMENT. MOREOVER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN FINDING YOU LIABLE FOR THE EXCESS COST IS REQUIRED UNDER THE ABOVE LAW AND EXECUTIVE ORDER.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THE $75 MUST BE DENIED. CONCERNING THE BALANCE OF THE $1,707.50 INDEBTEDNESS, THE COLLECTION THEREOF IS A MATTER NOW BEFORE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, AND THERE IS NO BASIS FOR OUR OFFICE TO GRANT YOUR REQUEST THAT COLLECTION ACTION BE DEFERRED PENDING FINAL ACTION ON THE PRIVATE BILL NOW PENDING BEFORE THE CONGRESS.