The General Services Administration (GSA) requested reconsideration of a decision which held that, despite the absence of a written request for exclusive-use-of-vehicle service on a government bill of lading, a carrier was entitled to exclusive-use charges because government shipping officers applied seals to the carrier's vehicles and noted the seal numbers. In its request for reconsideration, the protester contended that the decision: (1) misinterpreted the exclusive-use rule published in the carrier's tariff; and (2) failed to consider government transportation practices and GAO precedent. GAO found that: (1) the tariff provided the method for charging for exclusive-use service only when the shipper requests it in writing; (2) GSA shipping officers did not request exclusive-use service; and (3) the presence of seals on the vehicle prevented the carrier from adding additional freight. GAO held that: (1) the exclusive-use rule should be interpreted as an integrated whole so that, notwithstanding the fact that a vehicle is sealed, the exclusive-use charges are not applicable in the absence of a written request for the service; and (2) the sealing of a vehicle coupled with a bill of lading notation of the sealing does not disclose an intent to deprive a carrier of access without further written notice. Accordingly, GAO overruled the previous decision and sustained the GSA deduction action.
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