U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 25, 2024
(a) Form and content. Informal complaint may be by letter or other writing filed with the Board and will be serially numbered as filed. The complaint must contain the essential elements of a formal complaint as specified at 49 CFR 1111.2 and may embrace supporting papers.
(b) Correspondence handling. When an informal complaint appears susceptible of informal adjustment, the Board will send a copy or statement of the complaint to each subject of the complaint in an attempt to have it satisfied by correspondence, thereby avoiding the filing of a formal complaint.
(c) Discontinuance of informal proceeding. The filing of an informal complaint does not preclude complainant from filing a formal complaint. If a formal complaint is filed, the informal proceeding will be discontinued.
(a) Actual filing required. Notification to the Board that an informal complaint may or will be filed later seeking damages is not a filing within the meaning of the statute.
(b) Content. An informal complaint seeking damages must be filed within the statutory period, and should identify with reasonable definiteness the involved shipments or transportation services. The complaint should include:
(1) A statement that complainant seeks to recover damages;
(2) The names of each individual seeking damages;
(3) The names and addresses of defendants against which claim is made;
(4) The commodities, the rate applied, the date on which the charges were paid, the names of the parties paying the charges, and, if different, the names of the parties bearing the charges;
(5) The period of time within which or the specific dates upon which the shipments were made, and the dates when they were delivered or tendered for delivery;
(6) The specific origin and destination points or, where they are numerous, the territorial or rate group of the origin and destination points and, if known, the routes of movement; and
(7) The nature and amount of the injury sustained by each claimant.
(c) Statement of prior claim. A complaint filed under paragraph (b) of this section containing a claim which has been the subject of a previous informal or formal complaint must specifically refer to the previous complaint.
(d) Copies. The original of an informal complaint seeking damages must be accompanied by a sufficient number of copies to enable the Board to send one to each defendant named.
(f) Notification to the parties; six months' rule. If an informal complaint seeking damages (other than a contested tariff reconciliation petition) cannot be disposed of informally or is denied or withdrawn by complainant, the parties affected will be so notified in writing by the Board. Contested tariff reconciliation petitions either will be granted or denied by the entry of a decision. Unless within six months after the date on which a notice is mailed or a decision is served, a party either files a formal complaint or resubmits its informal complaint on an additional-fact basis, the matter in the complaint or petition will not be reconsidered. The claim will be considered abandoned and no complaint seeking damages on the same cause of action will be accepted unless filed within the statutory period. Any filing or resubmission satisfying the six months' requirement will be considered filed as of the date of the original filing and must specifically refer to that date and to the Board's file number. Any petition for reconsideration should be filed with the Board.
(g) Tariff reconciliation proceedings for motor common carriers—(1) Petitions to waive collection or permit payment. Subject to Board review and approval, motor common carriers (other than household goods carriers) and shippers may resolve, by mutual consent, overcharge and undercharge claims under the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 14709. Petitions for appropriate authority may be filed by either the carrier, shipper or consignee on the Board's tariff reconciliation docket by submitting a letter of intent to depart from the filed rate. The petitions will be deemed the equivalent of an informal complaint and answer admitting the matters stated in the petition. Petitions shall be sent to the Office of Compliance and Enforcement, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423. The petitions shall contain, at a minimum, the following information:
(i) The name(s) and address(es) of the payer(s) of the freight charges;
(ii) The name(s) of the carrier(s) involved in the traffic;
(iii) An estimate of the amount(s) involved;
(iv) The time period when the shipment(s) involved were delivered or tendered for delivery;
(v) A general description of the point(s) of origin and destination of the shipment(s);
(vi) A general description of the commodity(ies) transported;
(vii) A statement certifying that the carrier(s) and shipper(s) participating in the shipment(s) or the payer(s) of the freight charges concur(s) with the intent to depart from the filed rate; and
(viii) A brief explanation of the incorrect tariff provision(s) or billing error(s) causing the request to depart from the filed rate.
(2) Public notice and protest. Tariff reconciliation petitions (letters of intent) shall be served on all parties named in the petition by the party that files the petition and will be made available by the Board for public inspection in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement Public File, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423. Any interested person may protest the granting of a petition by filing a letter of objection with the Office of Compliance and Enforcement within 30 days of Board receipt of the petition. Letters of objection shall identify the tariff reconciliation proceeding, shall clearly state the reasons for the objection, and shall certify that a copy of the letter of objection has been served on all parties named in the petition. The Board may initiate an investigation of the petition on its own motion.
(3) Uncontested petitions. If a petition is not contested, and if the Board does not initiate an investigation of the petition on its own motion, approval is deemed granted without further action by the Board, effective 45 days after Board receipt of the petition.
(4) Contested petitions. If a petition is contested or the Board initiates an investigation of the petition on its own motion, 15 days will be allowed for reply. The 15-day period will commence on the date of service of the objections or, if the Board initiates an investigation on its own motion, on the date of service of the decision initiating the investigation. After the period for reply has expired, the Board will issue a decision approving or disapproving the petition, or requesting further submissions from the parties, and then will issue a decision based on the further submissions.