Matter of: Senate Forwarding, Inc. File: B-249840 Date: March 1, 1993

B-249840: Mar 1, 1993

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PROCUREMENT Payment/Discharge Shipment Damages Notification Military-Industry Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing claims for loss or damage to household goods provides that a carrier will accept written notice of loss/damage discovered after delivery as overcoming the delivery receipt's presumed correctness if the agency dispatches the notice within 75 days after delivery. Air Force regulation directing the claims officer to ensure the notice is postmarked by the 75th day creates no right for the carrier independent of the MOU. The envelope containing the DD Form 1840R was not postage meter-stamped until the next day. Since the envelope was not "postmarked" until the 76th day. Senate contends that the notice was untimely under Air Force Regulation (AFR) 112-1.

Matter of: Senate Forwarding, Inc. File: B-249840 Date: March 1, 1993

PROCUREMENT Payment/Discharge Shipment Damages Notification Military-Industry Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing claims for loss or damage to household goods provides that a carrier will accept written notice of loss/damage discovered after delivery as overcoming the delivery receipt's presumed correctness if the agency dispatches the notice within 75 days after delivery. Dispatch from the claims office controls, even though the notice may not actually leave the installation until the 76th day as evidenced by the installation's postage meter stamp. Air Force regulation directing the claims officer to ensure the notice is postmarked by the 75th day creates no right for the carrier independent of the MOU.

DECISION Senate Forwarding, Inc., requests review of our Claims Group's settlement denying its claim for a refund of $428.60 which the Air Force set off from funds otherwise due to Senate to recover for transit loss and damage to a service member's household goods.[1] We affirm the settlement.

Senate picked up the household goods on June 30, 1988, and delivered them on August 26, 1988. The Air Force dispatched a Notice of Loss or Damage, DD Form 1840R, on November 9, exactly 75 days after delivery. However, the envelope containing the DD Form 1840R was not postage meter-stamped until the next day. Since the envelope was not "postmarked" until the 76th day, Senate contends that the notice was untimely under Air Force Regulation (AFR) 112-1, and that the government therefore has not established a prima facie case of liability against Senate. We disagree with Senate.

Our decision in National Forwarding Co., Inc., B-238982.4, June 25, 1992, and its reconsideration, B-238982.6, Feb. 11, 1993, are dispositive of Senate's request. The Military Industry Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing claims for loss or damage to household goods provides that for loss/damage discovered after delivery, the carrier will accept written notice on the DD Form 1840R as overcoming the presumption that the delivery receipt was correct, so long as the form was "dispatched" to the carrier within 75 days of delivery. As we explain in the National Forwarding decisions, the DD Form 1840R is "dispatched" for purposes of the MOU on the date entered on the form in the installation's claims office, even if the notice does not leave the installation on that day.

AFR 112-1, Claims and Tort Litigation, para. 6-56b(2)(d) provides that the claims officer must ensure that the notice is "postmarked" within 75 days, but this requirement is only an internal direction to claims processing officials. See American International Moving, Corp., B-247576, Sept. 2, 1992. The regulation does not create a right for the carrier's benefit independent of the MOU.

The Claims Group's settlement is affirmed.

1. The shipment moved under Personal Property Government Bill of Lading QP-708427.