Protest of Claim Denial for Storage Costs

B-201251: Aug 12, 1981

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A Federal employee protested a GAO Claims Division denial of his claim for the excess cost of storing his household goods. Upon the employee's transfer approval, he received permission to ship his household goods by the actual expense method under a Government bill of lading contract in which the Government assumed responsibility for awarding the contracts and negotiating with the contractor. Problems with the contractor necessitated a delayed shipment and the storage of the household goods for 3 weeks. However, both shipping and storage exceeded the statutory weight limitation. The employee questioned his liability for the storage charges for excess weight, since the Government and its contractor failed to provide the services required without the need for storage. As a weight limitation is statutory, no Government agency or employee has the authority to permit transportation or storage of excess weight at the Government's expense. The Government's responsibility only extends to the statutory limitation, regardless of the reasons for exceeding this amount. Accordingly, the Claims Division disallowance of the claim was sustained.