Government Accountability Office

Require Return Of Wrong Or Excess Purchased Material

The government purchases many items for many activities. At times, these materials are one off’s or custom parts. Many more times these parts are ordinary items that are required for specific purposes.


The problem is when the project is built, or the adaption is finished or even canceled, parts are left over. Often these parts are in original packing, or in like new condition. They are placed into storage. Very often these parts are rarely cataloged or made available to others in the organization. They sit, take up room, and most are often cleaned up at some future time by being thrown out.


Carpet, HVAC parts and supplies, computer parts, piping parts, tools of all varieties, and electronic devices are all just a drop in the bucket of items purchased in excess.


As far as I know, there is no mechanism for the return of the parts to vendors.


Even if the government has to pay for shipping and a restocking fee, returning excess or incorrect parts is a money saver.


Warehouse and storage space is at a premium. That space is often at the expense of work space. At times storage areas create safety issues or unsafe work areas due to clutter or restricting "elbow room" or access.


Worst, failure to return parts very often results in the discovery of items thrown away by the general public. Like new items being discovered in the trash heaps and landfills of America with the shipping labels attached.


Not good PR or a confidence builder for our taxpayers.


The government also spends considerable money to contract the sale of excess material. There is a need for this service for items that have outlived their usefulness.


There is no need for this service for items that could have been returned to the vendor for the cost of shipping and a restock fee. The remainder of the purchase price returned to the tax payer.


Mandate that each activity the return of items that are ordered in excess or wrongly. The same people placing an order can do the return work.



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Idea No. 3266