B-138802, SEP. 28, 1959

B-138802: Sep 28, 1959

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CAROLINA FREIGHT CARRIERS CORPORATION: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 18. STATING "THE BILL OF LADING IS A CONTRACT BETWEEN SHIPPER AND CARRIER AND ALSO A RECEIPT FROM THE CARRIER ACKNOWLEDGING THE ARTICLE OR ARTICLES LISTED THEREIN. IT IS NOT OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT ONE SIGNATURE IS NECESSARY ON THAT INSTRUMENT. OUR RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR ORIGINALLY CLAIMED AND WERE PAID FREIGHT CHARGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $947.77 FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MISCELLANEOUS COMMODITIES. ON AUDIT OF THE PAYMENT VOUCHER IN OUR OFFICE APPLICABLE FREIGHT CHARGES WERE DETERMINED TO BE $899.81 COMPUTED AS SHOWN IN DETAIL ON THE MINIMUM VOLUME WEIGHT OF 30. REFUND OF THE RESULTING OVERPAYMENT OF $47.96 WAS ACCORDINGLY DEMANDED.

B-138802, SEP. 28, 1959

TO MR. FELIX E. MENDEL, JR., CAROLINA FREIGHT CARRIERS CORPORATION:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 18, 1959, CLAIM NO. 056-696, BY WHICH YOU TRANSMITTED A COPY OF AN AMENDED STATEMENT OF OVERPAYMENT (GAO FROM NO. 1003) FOR $47.96 DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1959, AND A COPY OF A LETTER OF NOVEMBER 5, 1958, TO OUR OFFICE, FROM THE U.S. NAVAL MARINE BASE, NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT. YOU OBJECT TO THE STATEMENT IN THE LETTER FROM THE NAVAL MARINE BASE THAT "THE MEMORANDUM COPY OF THE BILL OF LADING BEARS THE SIGNATURE OF ONE DRIVER ONLY.' STATING "THE BILL OF LADING IS A CONTRACT BETWEEN SHIPPER AND CARRIER AND ALSO A RECEIPT FROM THE CARRIER ACKNOWLEDGING THE ARTICLE OR ARTICLES LISTED THEREIN, HAVING BEEN RECEIVED BY THE CARRIER FOR TRANSPORTATION. IT IS NOT OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT ONE SIGNATURE IS NECESSARY ON THAT INSTRUMENT, REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER OF UNITS USED TO MOVE IT.' IN ADDITION YOU REQUEST ADVICE AS TO THE MEANING OF THE ABBREVIATION "PLS" USED IN THE BILL OF LADING UNDER THE HEADING: ,PACKAGES--- KIND.'

OUR RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR ORIGINALLY CLAIMED AND WERE PAID FREIGHT CHARGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $947.77 FOR THE CARRIAGE OF MISCELLANEOUS COMMODITIES, WEIGHING 27,739 POUNDS, FROM NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, CONNECTICUT, TO KEY WEST, FLORIDA, UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. N- 32268589, DATED FEBRUARY 5, 1954. ON AUDIT OF THE PAYMENT VOUCHER IN OUR OFFICE APPLICABLE FREIGHT CHARGES WERE DETERMINED TO BE $899.81 COMPUTED AS SHOWN IN DETAIL ON THE MINIMUM VOLUME WEIGHT OF 30,000 POUNDS FOR THE USE OF ONE TRUCK. REFUND OF THE RESULTING OVERPAYMENT OF $47.96 WAS ACCORDINGLY DEMANDED.

BY LETTERS DATED DECEMBER 20, 1956, AND FEBRUARY 4, 1957, YOU PROTESTED THE COMPUTATION OF CHARGES BASED UPON THE USE OF A SINGLE VEHICLE AND IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CONTENTION THAT TWO TRUCKS WERE EMPLOYED, YOU SUBMITTED COPIES OF YOUR PRO NUMBERS 294585 AND 294586, DESIGNATED "CONSIGNEE'S COPY," AND BEARING THE FOLLOWING NOTATION:

"DEFICIT ON 1 TRUCK 4000 (LBS.)

"1ST TRUCK LOAD TO CAPACITY WITH 18,000 LBS RATED PER AUTH: ITEM 190 OF SUP 23 PAGE 3 SMCRC TARIFF NO 504 FOR REV. PURPOSES ONLY. FOR DELIVER PURPOSES SEE PROS 290596 AND PRO 290597"

WITH OUR REPLY OF JANUARY 31, 1957, FILE T-GAO-VOU-311982-3/54-VAN SOELEN - (NONE SHOWN), SUSTAINING THE OVERPAYMENT, YOU WERE FURNISHED WITH A COPY OF THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1956, FROM U.S. NAVY REGIONAL ACCOUNTS OFFICE, WASHINGTON 25, D.C., WHICH STATES, IN PERTINENT PART:

"NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT ADVISED THAT ONE TRUCK WAS USED FOR THIS SHIPMENT. THE VEHICLE WAS LOADED TO CAPACITY WITH 27,739 POUNDS.'

SUBSEQUENTLY YOU WERE FURNISHED WITH A COPY OF THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 5, 1958, FILE NB/L17/552) SERIAL S-5358, FROM THE U.S. NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT, WHICH STATES:

"RECORDS AT THIS ACTIVITY DO NOT INDICATE THAT MORE THAN ONE TRUCK WAS USED TO MOVE THE MATERIAL COVERED BY THE SUBJECT BILL OF LADING. COPIES OF CAROLINA FREIGHT CARRIERS CORPORATION FREIGHT BILL ARE AVAILABLE. THE MEMORANDUM COPY OF THE BILL OF LADING BEARS THE SIGNATURE OF ONE DRIVER ONLY.'

IN CLAIMS INVOLVING DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT BETWEEN A CLAIMANT AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT, IT IS THE GENERAL RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCEPT THE STATEMENT OF FACTS FURNISHED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS IN THE ABSENCE OF SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. 16 COMP. GEN. 325; 14 ID. 927, 929. THE INFORMATION ON PRO NUMBERS FURNISHED BY YOU IS NOT AN EXPLICIT CERTIFICATE BY ONE PURPORTING TO HAVE DEFINITE KNOWLEDGE THAT MORE THAN ONE TRUCK WAS USED IN THE SHIPMENT, AND MAY HAVE BEEN MADE BY A PERSON ATTEMPTING TO COMPUTE THE REVENUE DUE ON THE SHIPMENT. MOREOVER, THE LEGEND REFERRED TO IS UNSIGNED AND THE PRO NUMBER IS UNAUTHENTICATED. SINCE NO OTHER EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PRESENTED, THE REPORTS FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THAT ONLY ONE TRUCK WAS EMPLOYED MUST BE ACCEPTED AS TRUE, AND THE ASSESSED OVERPAYMENT MUST, ACCORDINGLY, BE SUSTAINED.

CONCERNING THE STATEMENT IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 5, 1958, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE BILL OF LADING WAS SIGNED BY ONE DRIVER ONLY, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE APPARENTLY CONSIDERED THAT FACT TO INDICATE, AT LEAST THAT THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE ON THE BILL OF LADING ITSELF TO INDICATE THAT MORE THAN ONE TRUCK WAS UTILIZED. AS INDICATED ABOVE, HOWEVER, OUR DETERMINATION THAT AN OVERPAYMENT WAS MADE IS NOT BASED UPON THAT STATEMENT ALONE.

THE ABBREVIATIONS "PL" OR "PLS" ARE SHOWN, ON PAGE 1 OF A PUBLICATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ENTITLED "MILITARY STANDARD MARKING FOR SHIPMENT AND STORAGE, MIL - STD - 129B," UNDER THE HEADING: "PACKAGES--- KIND" ON THE BILL OF LADING, TO MEAN "PALLET.'