B-167158, AUG 3, 1971

B-167158: Aug 3, 1971

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GAO WILL POSTPONE FURTHER ACTION ON THE $267.22 CASE PENDING THE OUTCOME OF CASES PRESENTLY BEFORE THE I.C.C. WHICH WAS IN RESPONSE TO OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1. YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE HOLDING IN ABEYANCE ANY FURTHER ACTION ON THE CLAIM OF $267.22 IN CONNECTION WITH GBL E-6946332. YOUR ACTION IS BEING TAKEN PENDING THE OUTCOME OF INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION DOCKET NO. 35293. THE REFUND WAS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE CHARGES PAID ON THE LESS-THAN-TRUCKLOAD AUTOMOBILE SHIPMENT UNDER GBL D-3185009. WHILE WE AGREE THAT THE ISSUE OF LESS-THAN-TRUCKLOAD RATINGS ON PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES IS PENDING IN THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION PROCEEDINGS. THEY WILL NOT NECESSARILY BE CONTROLLING ON THE ISSUE CONCERNING THE REASONABLENESS OF CHARGES BASED ON THE 6.

B-167158, AUG 3, 1971

TRANSPORTATION COSTS - EXCESS CHARGES - REFUND SOUGHT DECISION DENYING REQUEST BY CAMPBELL "66" EXPRESS, INC. FOR RETURN OF $257.40, AN EXCESS CHARGE ERRONEOUSLY REFUNDED INCIDENT TO THE SHIPMENT OF A PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE UNDER A GBL. WHILE CLAIMANT PAID $257.40 UNDER GBL D-3185009 RATHER THAN $267.22 UNDER GBL E-6946332, BOTH OF WHICH COVERED A PASSENGER AUTO SUBJECT TO AN EXCEPTIONS TARIFF MINIMUM WEIGHT, THE COMP. GEN. DOES NOT BELIEVE IT WOULD BE PROPER TO REFUND THE MONEY WHICH HAS BEEN DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY AS A VOLUNTARY SETTLEMENT MADE UNDER SECTION 22 OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT. HOWEVER, GAO WILL POSTPONE FURTHER ACTION ON THE $267.22 CASE PENDING THE OUTCOME OF CASES PRESENTLY BEFORE THE I.C.C.

TO CAMPBELL "66" EXPRESS, INC.:

PLEASE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 11, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURE, WHICH WAS IN RESPONSE TO OUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1, 1971, CONCERNING THE ADJUSTMENT OF AN EXCESS CHARGE OF $267.22 ON A SHIPMENT OF A PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE TRANSPORTED FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, TO ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING (GBL) E-6946332, DATED MARCH 25, 1969.

YOU INDICATE THAT YOU ERRED IN REFUNDING AN EXCESS CHARGE OF $257.40 UNDER GBL D-3185009, DATED MARCH 15, 1968, WHICH ALSO COVERED A PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE SUBJECT TO AN EXCEPTIONS TARIFF MINIMUM WEIGHT OF 6,000 POUNDS, AS COMPARED TO THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF 1,500 POUNDS AUTHORIZED IN NATIONAL MOTOR FREIGHT CLASSIFICATION A-9. YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE HOLDING IN ABEYANCE ANY FURTHER ACTION ON THE CLAIM OF $267.22 IN CONNECTION WITH GBL E-6946332. YOUR ACTION IS BEING TAKEN PENDING THE OUTCOME OF INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION DOCKET NO. 35293, UNITED STATES V CENTRAL TRUCK LINES, DOCKET NO. 35367, UNITED STATES V NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES, INC., ET AL. INVOLVING THE REASONABLENESS OF FREIGHT CHARGES BASED ON THE EXCEPTIONS TARIFF MINIMUM WEIGHT OF 6,000 POUNDS ON PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES, AND THE PROPOSED NATIONAL MOTOR FREIGHT CLASSIFICATION AMENDMENT TO INCREASE THE RATINGS ON PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES IN ITEM 190210-A OF CLASSIFICATION A-11.

YOU SUBMIT A BALANCE DUE BILL FOR $257.40, THE AMOUNT OF YOUR REFUND CHECK NO. 9736, DATED MAY 26, 1970, FOR RECOVERY OF THAT AMOUNT. INDICATED, THE REFUND WAS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE CHARGES PAID ON THE LESS-THAN-TRUCKLOAD AUTOMOBILE SHIPMENT UNDER GBL D-3185009, COMPUTED ON THE EXCEPTIONS BASIS OF 6,000-POUND MINIMUM WEIGHT AT A CLASS 150 RATING.

WHILE WE AGREE THAT THE ISSUE OF LESS-THAN-TRUCKLOAD RATINGS ON PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES IS PENDING IN THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION PROCEEDINGS, THEY WILL NOT NECESSARILY BE CONTROLLING ON THE ISSUE CONCERNING THE REASONABLENESS OF CHARGES BASED ON THE 6,000-POUND BASIS IN OTHER PROCEEDINGS. YOUR REFUND OF $257.40 WAS MADE UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTIONS 22 AND 217(B) OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT MORE THAN TEN MONTHS BEFORE YOU DECIDED IT WAS MADE IN ERROR. WE HAVE NOT CHANGED OUR POSITION AS TO THE UNREASONABLENESS OF THE 6,000-POUND MINIMUM WEIGHT REQUIREMENT, AND WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT WOULD BE PROPER TO REFUND THE $257.40 WHICH HAS BEEN DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY AS A VOLUNTARY SETTLEMENT MADE UNDER SECTION 22.

AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF OUR POSITION ON THE ISSUE RELATIVE TO THE UNREASONABLENESS OF CHARGES BASED ON THE 6,000-POUND MINIMUM WEIGHT, WE INVITE ATTENTION TO A RECOMMENDED REPORT AND ORDER SERVED JULY 15, 1971, IN UNITED STATES V RYDER TRUCK LINES, INC. ET AL., INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION DOCKET NO. 35332. IN THAT CASE HEARING EXAMINER ROBERT M. GLENNON, FOUND THAT CHARGES COLLECTED ON THE 6,000-POUND MINIMUM WEIGHT BASIS FOR TWO SHIPMENTS OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES WERE UNJUST AND UNREASONABLE TO THE EXTENT THEY EXCEEDED CHARGES COMPUTED AT THE CLASSIFICATION BASIS, USING THE ACTUAL WEIGHTS OF THE AUTOMOBILES.

IN VIEW OF THE RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNT ($267.22) INVOLVED IN CONNECTION WITH GBL E-6946332, WE WILL POSTPONE FURTHER ACTION ON THAT ITEM PENDING DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SEVERAL COMMISSION CASES INVOLVING THE REASONABLENESS OF THE 6,000-POUND MINIMUM WEIGHT ON PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES, UNLESS THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES JUSTIFY A DIFFERENT COURSE OF ACTION.