B-147794, JAN. 11, 1962

B-147794: Jan 11, 1962

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FERGUSON COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 8. THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT FORM WAS RETURNED TO YOU. TYPE WE NEED IS MADE BY POTTER AND BRUNSFIELD SAMPLE ENCLOSED.'. IT APPEARS THAT FOUR SWITCHES WERE RECEIVED AT THE PROVIDENCE POST OFFICE ON JULY 3. THAT THEY WERE RETURNED TO YOU ON THE SAME DATE SINCE THEY WERE NOT THE TYPE REQUIRED. THERE IS NO SHOWING AS TO THE AMOUNT OF YOUR HANDLING CHARGE OR THE AMOUNT OF ANY PERTINENT CHARGE BY YOUR SUPPLIER. STATING THAT THE CREDIT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE FULL AMOUNT OF $144 AND CANCELING THE ORDER. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASONS STATED THEREIN. HAS STATED THAT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SWITCHES ON THE PURCHASE ORDER WAS TAKEN FROM THE CONVEYOR ON WHICH THEY WERE TO BE USED AND THAT IN FILLING THE ORDER YOUR COMPANY EVIDENTLY FAILED TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN A STARTER SWITCH AND A MOTOR SWITCH.

B-147794, JAN. 11, 1962

TO HARRY J. FERGUSON COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 8, 1961, AND ITS ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING REVIEW OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED OCTOBER 25, 1961, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $39 REPRESENTING YOUR HANDLING CHARGES AND THE CHARGE MADE BY YOUR SUPPLIER IN CONNECTION WITH THE RETURN OF FOUR SWITCHES WHICH HAD BEEN REJECTED BY THE UNITED STATES POST OFFICE AT PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND.

BY PURCHASE ORDER NO. 43-7140-1-170 DATED JUNE 12, 1961, THE POST OFFICE AT PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, ORDERED FROM YOU FOUR SWITCHES DESCRIBED IN THE ORDER AS FOLLOWS:

"MOTOR SWITCHES (STARTER) FOR BELT CONVEYORS MODEL G-16S20, CONTRACT NO. 45730, SERIAL NO. 3065079 (MOTOR), TYPE HBRGW, U.S. MOTOR 3/4 HP, DESIGN F. 1"

THE PURCHASE ORDER REQUESTED THAT THE SWITCHES BE SHIPPED TO THE PROVIDENCE POST OFFICE BUT THAT THE INVOICE BE MAILED TO REGIONAL CONTROLLER OFFICE, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS.

IN YOUR ACKNOWLEDGMENT FORM DATED JUNE 16, 1961, ADDRESSED TO THE BOSTON OFFICE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGED THE ORDER FOR FOUR "FURNAS DRUM SWITCH NUMBER JT- Z WITH RADIAL HANDLE, HEATER COILS NUMBER C-120 INCHES AND STARTED THE TOTAL PRICE TO BE $144. THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT FORM WAS RETURNED TO YOU--- PRESUMABLY BY THE PROVIDENCE POST OFFICE AFTER HAVING BEEN FORWARDED THERE BY THE BOSTON OFFICE--- WITH THE FOLLOWING NOTATION: "NOT THE TYPE OF SWITCH REQUIRED. TYPE WE NEED IS MADE BY POTTER AND BRUNSFIELD SAMPLE ENCLOSED.' YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 8, 1961, THAT YOU RECEIVED THE RETURNED ACKNOWLEDGMENT JUNE 23, 1961, AND THAT IN THE MEANTIME YOU HAD FILLED THE ORDER.

IT APPEARS THAT FOUR SWITCHES WERE RECEIVED AT THE PROVIDENCE POST OFFICE ON JULY 3, 1961, BUT THAT THEY WERE RETURNED TO YOU ON THE SAME DATE SINCE THEY WERE NOT THE TYPE REQUIRED. YOU THEN SENT AN INVOICE SHOWING A CHARGE OF $144 AND A CREDIT OF $105 FOR THE RETURN OF THE SWITCHES, LEAVING A BALANCE OF $39 ALLEGED TO BE DUE. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO SHOWING AS TO THE AMOUNT OF YOUR HANDLING CHARGE OR THE AMOUNT OF ANY PERTINENT CHARGE BY YOUR SUPPLIER. IN A LETTER DATED AUGUST 2, 1961, TO YOU, THE PROVIDENCE POST OFFICE RETURNED THE INVOICE, STATING THAT THE CREDIT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE FULL AMOUNT OF $144 AND CANCELING THE ORDER. YOU SUBMITTED YOU CLAIM FOR $39 TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, WHICH REFERRED IT TO OUR OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT. BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED OCTOBER 25, 1961, THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASONS STATED THEREIN.

THE POSTMASTER AT PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, HAS STATED THAT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SWITCHES ON THE PURCHASE ORDER WAS TAKEN FROM THE CONVEYOR ON WHICH THEY WERE TO BE USED AND THAT IN FILLING THE ORDER YOUR COMPANY EVIDENTLY FAILED TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN A STARTER SWITCH AND A MOTOR SWITCH. THEREFORE, THE FILE HERE AVAILABLE INDICATES THAT IF ANY FAULT IS INVOLVED IN THE MATTER, IT SHOULD NOT BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE GOVERNMENT.

IT IS NOT PRIMARILY A FUNCTION OF OUR OFFICE TO RESOLVE DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT. UPON DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT BETWEEN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND A CLAIMANT OR OTHER PERSON DEALING WITH THE GOVERNMENT, THE LONG-ESTABLISHED RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IS TO ACCEPT THE STATEMENTS OF FACT FURNISHED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS THEREOF. 16 COMP. GEN. 325; ID. 410.

MOREOVER, IT LONG HAS BEEN THE ESTABLISHED RULE OF OUR OFFICE AND THE COURTS THAT THOSE ASSERTING CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES HAVE THE BURDEN OF ESTABLISHING THEIR VALIDITY AND THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT REQUIRED OR AUTHORIZED TO CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT CLAIMS NOT SO ESTABLISHED. LONGWILL V. UNITED STATES, 17 CT.CL. 288, 291; 19 COMP. GEN. 316, 319; 18 ID. 199, 26 ID. 776, 781. IT IS TO BE OBSERVED ALSO THAT IN THE INSTANT MATTER THE GOVERNMENT DERIVED NO BENEFIT FROM THE TRANSACTION.

FOR THE REASONS ABOVE SET FORTH, THERE APPEARS NO PROPER BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF ANY PORTION OF THE CLAIM ASSERTED. ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 25, 1961, APPEARS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.