Matter of: American Van Services, Inc. File: B-260394 Date: August 15, 1995

B-260394: Aug 15, 1995

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The General Accounting Office will not question an agency's calculation of the value of damages to items or the replacement costs in a shipment of household goods unless the carrier presents clear and convincing evidence of unreasonableness. None of these items are valued at more than $15.00. We have no basis for questioning the amounts set off by the Air Force. The proper depreciation was applied to each item. Our Office will not question an agency's calculation of the value of damages or the items themselves without clear and convincing evidence from the carrier that the agency acted unreasonably. A replacement value of $175.00 was shown. This amount was set off against AVS. The shipper states the item was purchased in January 1987 for $300.00.

Matter of: American Van Services, Inc. File: B-260394 Date: August 15, 1995

The General Accounting Office will not question an agency's calculation of the value of damages to items or the replacement costs in a shipment of household goods unless the carrier presents clear and convincing evidence of unreasonableness.

DECISION

American Van Services, Inc. (AVS), requests review of the settlement of our Claims Group involving damage to personal property shipments under government bill of lading No. TP-308,895.

The Air Force set off $710.68 from funds otherwise due the carrier for damage to the property of which AVS disputed its liability for $337.88. In a settlement dated February 15, 1994, our Claims Group found that AVS should be liable for $172.63 of the $337.88. AVS disputes its liability for the amounts assessed on several items: a group of objects each valued at less than $15.00, a stereo turntable, and a painting.

First, AVS contends that the Air Force has not substantiated the replacement costs for five items: a drinking glass, a cassette carrying case, a plastic stand for an ornamental fan, a flower holder, and three picture frames. None of these items are valued at more than $15.00.

At the time this shipment occurred, in August 1990, Air Force Regulation 112-2 did not require the shipper to provide substantiation of replacements or repairs costing less than $25.00. Therefore, the Air Force had no documentation in its file to forward to AVS regarding replacement costs or proof of loss which AVS states it may require, at its option, under its tariff.

Given the small amounts involved for these items, we find that the Air Force properly applied its regulations. We have no basis for questioning the amounts set off by the Air Force. The replacement costs established by the Air Force for these items appear reasonable, and the proper depreciation was applied to each item. AVS has submitted no evidence beyond its own statements that it disputes the Air Force's determinations.

Our Office will not question an agency's calculation of the value of damages or the items themselves without clear and convincing evidence from the carrier that the agency acted unreasonably. American Van Services, Inc., B-250188, Mar. 4, 1993. We sustain the settlement of the Claims Group of these items.

Second, AVS disputes the valuation of a record changer broken during shipment. A replacement value of $175.00 was shown. The Air Force adjusted the value to $126.00 taking into account depreciation, and this amount was set off against AVS. The shipper states the item was purchased in January 1987 for $300.00. According to a repair firm, the item is no longer sold in the United States and parts for it are not available. AVS contends that it is obsolete and has a market value of "nil" and claims a refund.

The item operated before being damaged by AVS and therefore had value. Accordingly, we find that the set off was proper and reasonable.

Finally, AVS contends that there has been no showing that the painting of "The Last Supper," damaged during shipment, was non-repairable. AVS also states that a replacement value has not been established. The shipper stated that it purchased the painting in March 1985 for $100.00, and submitted a 1990 post exchange catalog which showed a similar item for $180.00. The Air Force allowed $162.00, and AVS claimed a refund of $72.00.

We find that the submission of a catalog listing which shows a similar item is a proper means of establishing the value of an item before depreciation. AVS did not exercise its right to inspect the items and has submitted no evidence to refute the Air Force's position.

We affirm the settlement of the Claims Group.