[Review of Disallowance of Additional Transportation Expenses]

B-206344,B-207516,B-208276: Feb 8, 1983

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In behalf of three moving companies, an auditing firm requested review of settlement actions taken by the General Services Administration (GSA) disallowing supplemental bills for several international shipments of household goods. In each of the cases, the destination of the shipment shown on the Government bill of lading (GBL) was in a State adjoining the State of the storage in transit location and the new residence. The shippers contended that the single-factor rate (SFR) used by GSA for the line-haul charges should depend on the State in which the household goods are ultimately delivered to the consignee's new residence, not the State shown on the GBL as GSA contended. Several court of claims decisions have sustained the GSA position. Therefore, GAO found no merit to the shippers' contention that the shipments were erroneously consigned. GAO found that, where storage in a different State is not requested by the shipper, such storage confers no benefit to the shipper and creates no obligation on the shipper's part to pay a greater line-haul charge than that agreed upon. In each case, the consignee's new duty station was shown on the GBL, while delivery from storage was made to the consignee's new residence which was located in an adjoining State. The carriers submitted supplemental bills for additional charges, contending that they were entitled to collect freight charges based on a higher SFR of the State of the consignee's new residence. In each case, GAO found that the shipper overlooked the distinction between the destination of the shipment and the agreed destination subject to the line-haul rate. The fact that a shipment is stored for the carrier's convenience in a State other than that to which it was consigned has no bearing on the determination of the applicable SFR. Therefore, GAO concluded that the shipper had not established the liability of the United States. Accordingly, the GSA settlement actions were sustained.