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(ADMINISTRATIVE RULINGS AND OPINIONS.]
discontinuance of tariff rules which provide that rates named in tariff will apply to certain points “as maxima,” or that if a combination on some gateway or basing point makes less than the rates named in tariff such combination will apply, or for equalizing or protecting any rate via another line or route or gateway, etc. The intent is that as rapidly as tariffs can be reconstructed in accordance with the regula. tions issued by the Commission they will state in specific, clear, and unambiguous terms the rates and their application.
Combinations of lawfully published bases of rates instead of maximum ratesSpecific joint through rate must invariably be applied.—The Commission decides that, pending the complete elimination of such rules, a rate that is stated in a tariff as applicable to a certain point as a maximum is not a specific through rate to that point, and that a rate made up on combination of lawfully filed tariffs may be used in preference to such maximum rate if there is no applicable rate via the route over which shipment moves, other than the one made by such maximum rule. In every instance where there is a specific joint through rate from point of origin to point of destination it must be applied to through shipments regardless of possible lower combinations. (See Rule 27.)
39. Carriers may not be given preferential rates.-In answer to inquiries the Commission expresses the opinion that under the law an express company, or a person or corporation operating a railroad or other transportation line, cannot, as a shipper over the lines of another express company or carrier, be given any preference in the application of tariff rates on interstate shipments, but it may lawfully and properly take advantage of legal tariff joint rates applying to a convenient junction or other point on its own line, provided such shipments are consigned through to such point from point of origin and are in good faith sent to such billed destination. In other words, one express company shipping its fuel, material, or other supplies over the lines of another express company or carrier must pay the legal tariff rates applicable to the same commodities shipped by an individual.
Where stock in one carrier company is owned by another carrier company, but both maintain separate organizations and report separately to the Commission, they may not lawfully carry property free for each other.
40. Return of astray shipments. Instances occur in which, through error or oversight on the part of some agent or employee, a shipment is billed to an erroneous destination or is unloaded short of destination or is carried by. The Commission is of the opinion that in bona fide instances of this kind express companies may return such astray shipments to their proper destination or course without the assessment of additional charges, and may arrange for such movement of such astray shipments for each other on mutually acceptable terms without the necessity of publishing, posting, and filing tariff under which it will be done.
Complete distinction must be observed between cases to which this rule applies and those provided for under Rule 37.
41. Movement of shipments refused by consignees or damaged in transit.-In one form or another express companies provide for the return free or at reduced rates or the reconsignment under through rate from point of origin of shipments that are damaged in transit or are refused by consignees. In a nondiscriminatory way and within reasonable limits such rule is not unlawful or improper. Care should be taken to preserve the distinction between shipments in which the express company has no interest except the collection of the transportation charges and which are reconsigned or returned purely out of consideration for the interests of the owner of the shipment and shipments which, because of injury or damage in transit, are left on the express company's hands and in which it has an interest to the extent of the transportation charges and the value of the shipment.
Shipments refused by consignee.-A rule providing that shipments which are refused by consignee may be reconsigned and forwarded, under application of through rate from point of origin to final destination, either with or without the exaction of a reconsignment charge, is permissible. Such rule should provide that if reconsigned to a point beyond which takes a lower rate from point of origin the rate to first destination will be charged, and should also require satisfactory showing of actual refusal by consignee and of a genuine transaction in good faith. Shipments damaged in transit.-A rule providing for the reconsignment or return [ADMINISTRATIVE RULINGS AND OPINIONS.]
free or at reduced rate of articles damaged in transit is not deemed improper if it is so framed and applied as to prevent abuse or improper practices under it. As to shipments that are not in closed packages, and thus are open to immediate inspection, the rule should provide that in order to claim return under this rule the goods shall not have left the possession of the express company before such claim is made. As to goods that are in closed packages it is believed that the rule should provide that they must be returned to the express company within ten days.
Rules must be published and applied only via route over which shipment moved.Such rules must be in tariffs and must be applied without discrimination and should provide that rule for return of shipments applies only via the lines over which the shipment moved.
Damaged in transit shipments left on hands of express company may be hauled over its lines as its own property would be.—Where a shipment is refused and is left on the hands of the express company it is believed that the express company, when it recognizes its responsibility for the value of the shipment and the transportation charges on same, may haul it for itself to such point on its own lines as offers the best opportunities or facilities for disposing of it to advantage, just as it may haul property of its own.
42. Distribution of official circulars and rulings.- It is obviously impracticable for the Commission to place copies of its official circulars and rulings in the hands of all the officers of express companies or to furnish copies for distribution among them. The officers at the head of traffic departments will please designate for each line an officer to whom such circulars and rulings are to be sent, and arrange for such desig: nated official to disseminate the information among other interested officers and agents. Please report these appointments to the Commission as early as possible.
43. Special reparation on informal complaints.—To assist in the settlement of certain claims of shippers against express companies and as a practical means of disposing with promptness of informal complaints that might otherwise develop into formal complaints, and in connection with which the unreasonableness of the rate or regulation is admitted by the interested express company or companies, the Commission on full information will authorize adjustment by special order all of the facts and conditions warrant such action. The connections in which the Commission has authority to modify the provisions of the law are specified in the Act. The Commission will not assume to modify it in any other connections or features.
Must present plain case. The instances in which the Commission will authorize refund or reparation on informal complaint and in an informal way will be confined to those in which the informal showing develops plainly a case in which the Commission would award reparation on formal hearing and in which an adjustment agree. able to complainant and express company or companies and in conformity with the provisions of the law is reached.
Must admit unreasonable charge.--Reparation involving refund of alleged over. charges in instances in which the lawful tariff rates have been applied will be authorized under informal proceedings, only when the express company admits the unreasonableness of the rate charged and it is sbown that within a reasonable time, not exceeding six months, after the shipment moved it has incorporated in its own tariffs, or in tariffs in which it has concurred, the rate upon basis of which adjustment is sought, and has thus made that rate lawfully applicable via the route over which shipment in question moved. Adjustment of a claim of this character that is filed with the Commission within six months after the shipment moved may, however, be authorized even if more than six months have elapsed between the movement of the shipment and the effective date of tariff rate or regulation that forms the basis of such adjustment. Authority for refund on account of a reduced rate or changed tariff regulation will also contain Commission's order requiring the maintenance of such rate or regulation for at least one year.
Express company must have authority-Principle underlying order extended to other cases.- No express company may pay any refund from its published tariff charges save with the specific authority of the Commission in accordance with the provisions of the Act. When an informal or formal reparation order has been made by the Commission the principle upon which it is based shall be extended to all like
[ADMINISTRATIVE RULINGS AND OPINIONS.]
shipments, but no refunds shall be made upon such like shipments except upon specific authority from the Commission therefor.
Pay charges demanded by express company.-The shipper should pay the lawfully published charges applicable via the route over which the shipment moves, and make claim for refund if he believes he has been overcharged.
If an express company desires to give its patrons the benefit of the same rate that applies via another line or gateway, and which is lower than its own rate, it can do so by lawfully incorporating that rate in its own tariffs, and so give the benefit of it to all of its partons alike. The law forbids giving such lower rate to one and withholding it from another, but neither the law nor the Commission stands in the way of adoption in lawful manner of the lower rate as available for all.
The Commission's power to authorize adjustments will not be exercised in such way as to create the very discriminations which the law aims to prevent. No doubt instances will occur in which seeming hardship will come to some. Much of such embarrassment will be avoided if agents of express companies and shippers take pains to be certain that correct rates are quoted and correct routing is given.
Statute of limitation.-Claims must have accrued within two years immediately prior to the date upon which they are filed; otherwise they are barred by the statute. The Commission will not take jurisdiction of or recognize its jurisdiction over any claim for reparation or damages which is barred by the statute of limitation, as herein interpreted, and the Commission will not recognize the right of a carrier to waive the limitation provisions of the statute.
44. Responsibilities of carriers under tariffs.-In the past no uniform or definite practice or rule has been followed by express companies in regard to concurrence in joint tariffs.
To now undertake to check out and follow down definite and actual concurrence of express companies in tariffs, issued prior to effective date of these regulations, would be a difficult task; and to declare unlawful all tariffs, and participation therein, which were not definitely and actually concurred in, other than by use thereof, would be to overthrow practically all such joint tariffs and leave transportation in chaos.
Express companies are responsible under tariffs, except when and after they file specific notice of nonconcurrence. The Commission cannot undertake to now excuse express companies from responsibilities placed upon them by tariffs that have been issued, and in which they are named as participants, except in accordance with and subsequent to filing of specific notices of nonconcurrence.
These regulations require that the express company or agent that issues a joint tariff shall, before issuing same, secure the definite and affirmative concurrence of every carrier shown therein as a participant, and shall show in connection with the name of each participating carrier the form and number of the instrument by authority of which that carrier is made a party to the tariff.
Express company not bound by being named as participant in tariff without its authority. --An express company has no means of preventing another express company from naming it as party to a joint tariff without proper authority so to do. It cannot, however, be bound by such unauthorized act, and it is its obvious duty to refuse to recognize or apply any such unlawful issue. It should also at once call attention of the Commission and of the one that issued the tariff to such erroneous action.
Tariff lawful as to carriers shown as participants under lawful authorizations and unlawful as to carriers named as participants without lawful authorities.-If one or more carriers are, without proper authority, 80 shown as participating in any tariff and other carriers are lawfully shown as parties thereto, the use of the publication is unlawful as to the carriers that are named as parties thereto without proper author. ity and lawful as to those that are parties to it under proper authority. The rier over whose line shipments are sent under a joint tariff is bound by the terms of that tariff if it has lawfully concurred therein, and, if it has not lawfully concurred therein, may not accept earnings in accordance therewith, but must demand for the service performed its lawful earnings according to its lawful tariffs.
Responsibility for unlawful incorporation of a carrier in a tariff._Responsibility for the unlawful incorporation of any carrier in a tariff will rest upon the express' company that issued the tariff, or, if the tariff is issued by a joint agent and attorney (ADMINISTRATIVE RULINGS AND OPINIONS.] for two or more express companies, will rest upon that one of his principals that accepts and forwards the business under that tariff.
Policy of Commission on complaints.-In passing upon a complaint of overcharge growing out of improper or unlawful inclusion of any carrier's name in the list of participating carriers in the tariff under which the business was accepted and for. warded the Commission will apply the principles above stated.
45. Withdrawal of filed tariiis not permitted.-Not infrequently the Commission is requested to return to carriers tariff publications which have been received and filed by the Commission in the ordinary course of business. Such requests are usuaily based on the desire to substitute some corrected or changed publication for the one that has been filed. Manifestly it would be improper for the Commission to permit such substitutions or to surrender any tariff publication duly and properly received and filed by it, unless such surrender is caused by rejection of such publication by the Commission because of illegality or irregularity in connection therewith. To surrender publications duly filed and permit the substitution of others would involve a species of falsification of the records which could not be permitted.
46. Ocean carriers—when not subject to the Act.-Ocean carriers between ports of the United States and foreign countries not adjacent are not subject to the terms of the Act to regulate commerce; nor to the jurisdiction of the Commission.
Export and import tariffs. — The inland carriers of traffic exported to or imported from a foreign country not adjacent, must publish their rates to the ports and from the ports, and such rates must be the same for all regardless of what ocean carrier may be designated by the shipper,
Through rates may be shown.-As a matter of convenience to the public they may publish in their tariffs such through export or import rates to or from foreign points as they may make in connection with ocean carriers. Such tariffs must, however, distinctly state the inland rate as above provided; and need not be concurred in by the ocean carrier, because, concurrence can be required from, and is effective against, only carriers subject to the Act.
Must be filed and posted.-Whichever plan of publishing these rates is followed the tariffs must be filed and posted, and may be changed only upon statutory notice or under special permission for shorter time.
Through export and import billing.—Export and import traffic may be forwarded under through billing, but such through billing must clearly separate the liability of the inland carrier or carriers and of the ocean carrier, and must show the tariff rate of the inland carrier or carriers.
INDEX, TARIFF CIRCULAR 16-A.
[Abbreviations: P, preface. Other letters indicate paragraphs.]
13 13 13 13 16
5b 4i 9 9 6 14
Abbreviations used in tariff must be explained...,
Authority of, must be filed with Commission.
Form of appointment, EX1.
Permission or order on title-page...
To agent may be revoked, thirty days.
Must be by agent or company.
Specified in tariff.
Company without agent bound to statutory notice..
To show list of the companies.
Cancellation of, must refer to new rate.
Remove application of classification.
Conflicting authority to be avoided..
24 24 24