Claim for Reimbursement of Excess Weight Charges

B-199111: Mar 17, 1981

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An Army Medical Corps member appealed the denial of her claim for reimbursement of excess weight charges incurred in the transportation of her household goods. The record showed that the claimant was ordered to active duty and was assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. Pursuant to her orders, the claimant contacted the transportation office at the nearest military installation and made arrangements for the shipment of her household goods. Subsequently, a representative of the moving company met with the claimant to assess the property to be shipped. At this time, a date on which the movers would begin packing was established, and the claimant informed the representative that certain property would not be moved. However, approximately 2 days before the official moving date, the claimant, who was out of town, was informed by telephone that the movers had arrived and were packing her property. The claimant immediately telephoned the packers and asked them to delay their packing until she returned. However, she was informed that the packing could not be delayed if the shipment was to arrive at its destination on time. When the claimant returned home, she discovered that the movers had packed property not intended for shipment. She could not clearly separate the goods which were not to be moved from the rest of the property. As a result, the shipment contained about 4,000 pounds more of the claimant's property than she intended. The weight of this shipment was subsequently determined to be in excess of the claimant's maximum weight allowance. In her appeal, the claimant contended that she should not be held liable for the excess transportation charges since the movers knew that some of her property was not to be shipped and since the overage in shipping was due to the movers' early pickup which she did not authorize or ratify. GAO held that, while it was unfortunate that the movers arrived before they were expected, there is no authority under the law which would allow payment for the excess weight charges in these circumstances. Therefore, the excess transportation charges must be borne by the claimant. Accordingly, the previous action disallowing the claim was sustained.

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