B-137557, JAN 12, 1959

B-137557: Jan 12, 1959

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YOU POINT OUT THAT AT THE TIME OF THE CHANGE OF DUTY STATION THE EMPLOYEE WAS LOCATED AT KETTLE FALLS. THAT THIS IS A RATHER REMOTE LOCATION AND THAT IT IS A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE FROM SPOKANE. WHERE THE NEAREST COMMERCIAL FACILITIES FOR OVERSEAS PACKING WERE LOCATED. THE EMPLOYEE WAS CONCERNED WITH FINDING AN EXPERIENCED FIRM TO PACK HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AS HIS NEW DUTY STATION IN ALASKA WAS A NEWLY DEVELOPED AREA NOT SERVED BY COMMON CARRIER. ACTUALLY THE RECORDS OF THE COMPANY SHOW THAT THE NET WEIGHT WAS 4. 560 AND THAT AFTER PACKING AND CRATING FOR OVERSEAS SHIPMENT THE GROSS WEIGHT WAS 10. THE RECORD SHOWS THE GOODS WERE PACKED AT KETTLE FALLS. YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: "(1) ARE THE PACKING CHARGES BILLED BY SMYTH VAN AND STORAGE CO.

B-137557, JAN 12, 1959

Y PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. ROLAND V. JOHNSON:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1958, TRANSMITS A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF SMYTH VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY, INC., SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,250.46, COVERING DRAYAGE, CRATING, AND PACKING CHARGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SHIPMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM KETTLE FALLS TO SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, UPON OFFICIAL CHANGE OF DUTY STATION TO GLACIER BAY NATIONAL MONUMENT, ALASKA. YOU ASK SEVERAL QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE PACKING AND CRATING CHARGES BASED UPON THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED.

YOU POINT OUT THAT AT THE TIME OF THE CHANGE OF DUTY STATION THE EMPLOYEE WAS LOCATED AT KETTLE FALLS, WASHINGTON, THAT THIS IS A RATHER REMOTE LOCATION AND THAT IT IS A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE FROM SPOKANE; WHERE THE NEAREST COMMERCIAL FACILITIES FOR OVERSEAS PACKING WERE LOCATED. THE EMPLOYEE WAS CONCERNED WITH FINDING AN EXPERIENCED FIRM TO PACK HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AS HIS NEW DUTY STATION IN ALASKA WAS A NEWLY DEVELOPED AREA NOT SERVED BY COMMON CARRIER. THE SMYTH VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY, INC., REPRESENTING ITSELF AS THE CONTRACT PACKERS FOR AIR FORCE INSTALLATIONS IN THE LOCALITY QUOTED RATES FOR THE PACKING AND MOVEMENT OF THE GOODS. THE COMPANY ESTIMATED THE WEIGHT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO BE 7,000 POUNDS NET AND 12,000 POUNDS GROSS WEIGHT, AN INCREASE OF 71 PERCENT. ACTUALLY THE RECORDS OF THE COMPANY SHOW THAT THE NET WEIGHT WAS 4,560 AND THAT AFTER PACKING AND CRATING FOR OVERSEAS SHIPMENT THE GROSS WEIGHT WAS 10,179 POUNDS, AN INCREASE OF 5,619 POUNDS OR 123 PERCENT. THE RECORD SHOWS THE GOODS WERE PACKED AT KETTLE FALLS, TRANSPORTED TO SPOKANE AND PACKED AND CRATED FOR OVERSEAS SHIPMENT BY THE SMYTH VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY, INC., BASED UPON THE AMOUNTS STATED IN THE COMPANY'S LETTER OF JANUARY 8, 1958. YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"(1) ARE THE PACKING CHARGES BILLED BY SMYTH VAN AND STORAGE CO., PROPERLY CLASSIFIABLE AS ACCESSORIAL CHARGES INCIDENT TO THE LINE HAUL TRANSPORTATION?

"(2) IF THE ANSWER TO THE ABOVE IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, ARE THE PACKING CHARGES SUBJECT TO A RECOGNIZED TARIFF AND TO EXAMINATION BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE? WOULD SUCH EXAMINATION GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE REASONABLENESS OF THE INCREASE IN WEIGHT FOR PACKING?"

THE HOUSE PACKING CHARGES AT KETTLE FALLS, WASHINGTON, ARE PROPERLY CLASSIFIED AS ACCESSORIAL CHARGES INCIDENT TO LINE HAUL TRANSPORTATION. THE COMPANY PARTICIPATES IN WESTERN STATES MOVER'S CONFERENCE TARIFF NO. 1 -A, MF-I.C.C. NO. 11, ON INTERSTATE TRAFFIC. PACKING CHARGES ON CARTONS, BOXES, CRATES, AND CONTAINERS ARE COMPUTED ACCORDING TO SIZE OF THE CONTAINERS. THE TARIFF CHARGE FOR BARRELS IS $8 PER BARREL. THE SIZES OF THE CARTONS USED IN THIS CASE ARE NOT A PART OF THE RECORD BEFORE US. FOR THE PACKING AT KETTLE FALLS THE CARRIER HAS BILLED ON THE BASIS OF $2.50 PER HUNDREDWEIGHT ON A GROSS WEIGHT OF 4,560 POUNDS. THAT RATE EVIDENTLY IS A CONTRACT RATE AS PROPOSED IN THE CARRIER'S LETTER OF JANUARY 8, 1958. IN THE ABSENCE OF INFORMATION AS TO THE SIZE OF THE CARTONS WE ARE UNABLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE SUM CLAIMED UNDER THE $2.50 CONTRACT RATE EXCEEDS THAT AUTHORIZED BY THE TARIFF. THE OVERSEAS PACKING AND CRATING CHARGE, INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION PERFORMED BY STEAMSHIP FROM SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, TO BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA, IS NOT A PUBLISHED TARIFF CHARGE. EVIDENTLY THE RATE CHARGED IS A CONTRACT RATE PROPOSED BY THE CARRIER AND AGREED TO BY THE EMPLOYEE AND THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. THEREFORE, QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE CONCERNING THE HOUSE PACKING CHARGES AT KETTLE FALLS. QUESTION 2, SO FAR AS IT RELATES TO THE APPLICABILITY OF A TARIFF, IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE CONCERNING THE HOUSE PACKING CHARGES AND IN THE NEGATIVE RESPECTING THE CHARGES FOR OVERSEAS PACKING AND CRATING. BOTH SUCH CHARGES ARE SUBJECT TO AUDIT BY OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION. IF SUCH CHARGES ARE WITHIN THE RECOGNIZED TARIFFS, WHERE APPLICABLE, OR MEET THE AGREED UPON CONTRACT RATES, GENERALLY NO BASIS EXISTS FOR OUR QUESTIONING THE CHARGES IN THE ABSENCE OF FRAUD OR COLLUSION.

AS TO THAT PART OF QUESTION 2 DEALING WITH THE REASONABLENESS OF THE INCREASE IN WEIGHT FOR PACKING, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT OUR OFFICE DOES NOT PRESCRIBE THE METHODS OF PACKING AND CRATING AND WE ARE IN NO POSITION TO DETERMINE TO WHAT EXTENT, IF ANY, THE PACKING AND CRATING IN THIS CASE ARE EXCESSIVE.

YOUR NEXT QUESTION READS AS FOLLOWS:

"(3) IF THE ANSWERS TO ALL THE PRECEDING QUESTIONS ARE IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, AND IT IS DETERMINED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE EXAMINATION THAT THE WEIGHT INCREASE WAS EXCESSIVE, WHAT WOULD BE THE PROPER PROCEDURE FOR MR. DRAGOO TO SECURE RELIEF FROM THE LIABILITY INCURRED BY REASON OF THE WEIGHT EXCESS OVER 8,750 LBS?"

IN VIEW OF OUR NEGATIVE ANSWER TO THAT PART OF QUESTION 2 CONCERNING CHARGES FOR OVERSEAS PACKING AND CRATING PLUS THE EXPLANATION OF OUR POSITION RESPECTING THE QUESTION OF EXCESSIVE PACKING AND CRATING NO ANSWER IS REQUIRED TO YOUR THIRD QUESTION.

YOUR LAST QUESTION READS AS FOLLOWS:

"(4) IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT MR. DRAGOO IS LIABLE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES ON THE EXCESS GROSS WEIGHT OVER 8,750 LBS., WOULD HE ALSO BE LIABLE FOR A PORTION OF THE PACKING CHARGES? IF SO, HOW WOULD THE EXTENT OF HIS LIABILITY BE DETERMINED?"

SECTION 18 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, PROVIDES THAT ACTUAL COSTS OF PACKING AND CRATING, NOT TO EXCEED THE AUTHORIZED WEIGHT, WHICH UNDER SECTION 17(A) THEREOF IS FIXED AT 8,750 POUNDS GROSS WEIGHT, SHALL BE ALLOWED. THEREFORE, MR. DRAGOO CAN ONLY BE ALLOWED UNDER THE FOREGOING AUTHORITY, SAID COSTS ON THE GROSS WEIGHT OF 8,750 POUNDS. UPON THE PRESENT RECORD, THE EXCESS COST ASSESSABLE AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE FOR PACKING AND CRATING WOULD BE 1429/10179 OF $1,017.90.

THE TARIFF RATE BETWEEN KETTLE FALLS, WASHINGTON, AND SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, APPLICABLE TO THE SUBJECT SHIPMENT IS $2.75 PER HUNDREDWEIGHT ON 5,000 POUNDS MINIMUM. FOR THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES THE CARRIER BILLED ON THE BASIS OF $2.60 PER HUNDREDWEIGHT FOR 4,560 POUNDS, THE GROSS WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHER, RETURNED WITH RELATED PAPERS, SHOULD BE TAKEN ACCORDINGLY.