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RAF MILDENHALL — Furnishings Management Office customers around RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall can be charged up to 35 pounds (around $69) for missing a furniture delivery or pickup appointment after a new policy takes effect April 1.

The FMO, which supplies and maintains furniture and appliances for newly arriving servicemembers, also can charge customers 30 pounds (around $59) for the cost of a missed maintenance appointment starting next week, said Marshall Mattingly, inventory management supervisor for the regional FMO at RAF Feltwell.

The policy change is part of a supplement to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe Instruction dated Jan. 4 that allows FMOs to recoup the costs of no-shows, Mattingly said.

The supplement actually resurrects an allowance that was suspended for a number of years, Mattingly said, while the instruction was under review at USAFE headquarters.

As reapplied in January, it allows FMOs throughout USAFE to recover from customers the fee their contractors charge for services. At Feltwell, that’s 30 pounds for a missed maintenance appointment and 35 pounds for a missed delivery or pickup date.

At RAF Alconbury, where chief of furnishings Hubert Braganza instituted the policy as soon as it was approved, customers are liable for a proportion of the charge FMO incurred on the day of their appointment, Braganza said.

If movers were hired to do four pickups a day for 200 pounds, for instance, each person could be charged up to 50 pounds for a no-show, he said. The office isn’t required to charge the maximum, however, and Braganza said the FMO wouldn’t go “overboard” on a fee if the proportional charge was exceptionally high.

“We just need to stress how important it is to be there,” he said. “The bottom line is they’re wasting government money [by not showing up].”

Around both Alconbury and the Lakenheath-Mildenhall area, no-shows haven’t been a particular problem — 17 appointments made at the Feltwell office were broken in the last three months, Mattingly said, for a maximum total of 595 pounds, or a little under $1,200.

“They generally do keep appointments. It’s not a chronic situation,” Mattingly said.

Charges for no-shows also will not be automatically doled out from the Feltwell FMO, according to Mattingly. Each case of a reported missed appointment will be sent to a quality assurance officer and “weighed on its individual merit,” before the charge is levied, he said.

For a maintenance appointment at Feltwell, customers must arrange for appointments between 8 a.m. and noon or 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. And they must book three days in advance of a desired furniture pickup or delivery time, Mattingly said.

In turn, contracted movers and maintenance workers must wait at a residence for 20 minutes before declaring a customer a no-show, he said.

RAFs Croughton and Fairford have avoided instituting charges for no-shows because broken appointments tend to happen less than once a year, FMO staff at the two bases said.

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