B-180972, MAY 21, 1974

B-180972: May 21, 1974

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DENIAL OF CLAIM FOR 1965 RENTAL CHARGES FOR FORKLIFT TRUCK UTILIZED BY NAVY COMMISSARY STORE IS SUSTAINED. WHICH HAVE BEEN DESTROYED. WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF RECORDS TO SUBSTANTIATE THE CLAIM. FOR A FORKLIFT TRUCK WHICH WAS LATER PURCHASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY UNDER INVOICE NO. THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY HAS REPORTED THAT NO RECORDS ARE AVAILABLE TO SUBSTANTIATE THE CLAIM BECAUSE THE RETENTION PERIOD SET FOR RECORDS PERTAINING TO COMMISSARY STORE ACCOUNTS IS 2 YEARS. WE DID NOT RECEIVE PAYMENTS FOR THE 7 MONTHS TOTALING $2100.00 AND THAT IS THE REASON FOR OUR INVOICE R17225 FOR $300.00 WHICH IS STILL OUTSTANDING.". WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE COMMISSARY STORE.

B-180972, MAY 21, 1974

DENIAL OF CLAIM FOR 1965 RENTAL CHARGES FOR FORKLIFT TRUCK UTILIZED BY NAVY COMMISSARY STORE IS SUSTAINED, SINCE IN ABSENCE OF CORROBORATION FROM GOVERNMENT RECORDS, WHICH HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, DOUBT EXISTS AS TO VALIDITY OF CLAIM.

TO MATERIAL HANDLING INDUSTRIES, INC.:

MATERIAL HANDLING INDUSTRIES, INC., HAS REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 18, 1973, IN WHICH ITS CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $300, REPRESENTING RENTAL CHARGES FOR A FORKLIFT TRUCK UTILIZED BY THE LITTLE CREEK COMMISSARY, NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF RECORDS TO SUBSTANTIATE THE CLAIM.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON FEBRUARY 26, 1971, THE CORPORATION NOTIFIED THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY THAT ITS INVOICE NO. R17225, DATED SEPTEMBER 20, 1965, HAD NOT BEEN PAID. THE INVOICE REPRESENTED RENTAL CHARGES FOR THE PERIOD FROM SEPTEMBER 15 THROUGH OCTOBER 15, 1965, FOR A FORKLIFT TRUCK WHICH WAS LATER PURCHASED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY UNDER INVOICE NO. R23036, DATED FEBRUARY 16, 1967, AND PAID FOR BY THE DEPARTMENT ON MARCH 6, 1967.

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY HAS REPORTED THAT NO RECORDS ARE AVAILABLE TO SUBSTANTIATE THE CLAIM BECAUSE THE RETENTION PERIOD SET FOR RECORDS PERTAINING TO COMMISSARY STORE ACCOUNTS IS 2 YEARS.

ACCORDING TO DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED BY MATERIAL HANDLING INDUSTRIES WITH ITS LETTER OF OCTOBER 31, 1973, TO THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D.C., THE CORPORATION ADVISED THE OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, U.S. NAVY COMMISSARY STORE, U.S. NAVAL STATION, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 5, 1966, THAT FIVE MONTHLY INVOICES ON THE RENTAL OF YALE FORKLIFT TRUCK GP52-2524UF, SERIAL AF068523 REMAINED UNPAID TOTALING $1,500 AND THAT TWO MONTHLY INVOICES BEFORE JULY 1966 REMAINED UNPAID FOR $600 ON THE RENTAL OF YALE FORKLIFT TRUCK GPR52-LT2524, SERIAL AF077586. THE CORPORATION ALLEGES NONPAYMENT OF THE RENTAL FOR THE LATTER FORKLIFT TRUCK FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 15 TO OCTOBER 15, 1965. THE DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED ALSO SHOW THAT BY LETTERS DATED JANUARY 24, 1970, JUNE 30, 1970, FEBRUARY 26, 1971, AND OCTOBER 1, 1973, MATERIAL HANDLING INDUSTRIES ATTEMPTED TO COLLECT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY THE AMOUNT ALLEGED TO BE DUE THE CORPORATION.

IN ITS LETTER OF FEBRUARY 26, 1971, TO THE NAVY REGIONAL CENTER, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, THE CORPORATION STATED, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"*** PLEASE NOTE THAT ON OUR INVOICE R23036 YOU PURCHASED THIS TRUCK LESS 7 RENTAL PAYMENTS WORTH $2100.00 AGAINST A SELLING PRICE OF $4500.00 LEAVING AN AMOUNT DUE US OF $2400.00 INVOICED YOU ON FEBRUARY 16, 1967, AND PAID FOR BY YOU ON MARCH 6, 1967. HOWEVER, WE DID NOT RECEIVE PAYMENTS FOR THE 7 MONTHS TOTALING $2100.00 AND THAT IS THE REASON FOR OUR INVOICE R17225 FOR $300.00 WHICH IS STILL OUTSTANDING."

WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT, ACCORDING TO DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED BY THE CORPORATION, IT FIRST ATTEMPTED BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 5, 1966, TO COLLECT THE AMOUNT ALLEGED TO BE DUE, THESE DOCUMENTS DO NOT INDICATE THAT IT DID AGAIN ATTEMPT SUCH COLLECTION UNTIL IT WROTE THE LETTER OF JANUARY 24, 1970.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE COMMISSARY STORE, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, PROCURED VARIOUS FORKLIFT TRUCKS UNDER A RENTAL-PURCHASE BASIS UNTIL THE PURCHASE PRICE CAME BELOW THE $2,500 PURCHASE AUTHORITY AND THAT RENTAL WAS PAID UNTIL THE TIME OF PURCHASE WHEN AN AMOUNT AGREEABLE TO BOTH PARTIES WAS INVOICED TO THE COMMISSARY STORE AND PAID BY THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE OFFICE. IN ITS LETTER OF FEBRUARY 26, 1971, MATERIAL HANDLING INDUSTRIES STATES THAT ON THE INVOICE COVERING THE PURCHASE OF THE FORKLIFT TRUCK IN QUESTION, IT GAVE A CREDIT OF $2,100, WHICH REPRESENTS MONTHLY RENTAL PAYMENTS FOR A PERIOD OF 7 MONTHS. THE CORPORATION CONTENDS THAT IT GAVE RENTAL CREDIT FOR A PERIOD OF 7 MONTHS BUT THAT IT RECEIVED RENTAL PAYMENTS FOR ONLY 6 MONTHS.

AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE RECORDS THAT MIGHT ORDINARILY SERVE TO ESTABLISH THE VALIDITY OF THE CLAIM HAVE BEEN DESTROYED. CONSEQUENTLY, OUR OFFICE IS UNABLE TO CORROBORATE FROM GOVERNMENT RECORDS THE VALIDITY OF THE CLAIM. WHERE DOUBT EXISTS AS TO THE VALIDITY OF A CLAIM, IT IS THE PREROGATIVE OF OUR OFFICE TO DENY THE CLAIM. SEE CHARLES V. UNITED STATES, 19 CT. CL. 316 (1884); LONGWILL V. UNITED STATES, 17 CT. CL. 288 (1881).

ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE OF OCTOBER 18, 1973, IS SUSTAINED.