[Request for Review of GSA Deduction Action]

B-215958: Dec 5, 1984

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A firm requested a review of the deduction action taken by the General Services Administration (GSA) for alleged billing overcharges in connection with 55 government bills of lading (GBL). GSA contended that the charges were not applicable because the conditions of the carrier's exclusive use tariff rule were not met. The firm and GSA both agreed that the relevant tariff provision provided exclusive use of service charges where the shipper or carrier applied a numbered seal that was noted on the GBL to the vehicle. Subject to the availability of equipment, exclusive use of the vehicle is provided when the GBL bears the statement that such use was required or requested; such service will not be provided unless the bill of lading is so annotated. GSA contended that exclusive use-rates did not apply to the shipments because the GBL was not annotated as required. All but 2 of the 55 GBL listed the seal numbers which were applied to the vehicles at the time the shipment was loaded. GAO found that the application of the numbered seals and the recording of the seal numbers met the requirements of the tariff provision; and the statements by the shipping transportation officers submitted several years after the shipments were made were not sufficient to overcome the written evidence. Accordingly, GAO reversed the GSA audit action and instructed GSA to refund the amounts set off.