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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Got a call yesterday from someone whose freight shipment had indications of damage when they took delivery. As most of us aren't in the business of receiving shipments every day, we don't know to stop and question the situation. We might get into a mindset of anticipation and maybe a little bit of excitement that we're getting 'new stuff' and tend to overlook anything potentially negative in the situation. I've been there myself many times.

Unfortunately, once you sign for the shipment, the shipping company is more or less relieved of responsibility. And many drivers aren't going to be helpful to you because dealing with damaged freight is a hassle for them and they already have a tough job and a long day.

So, whenever you receive a shipment, try your best to stop and examine the shipment for damages. You can still accept questionable shipments, but make note on the receipt of the concerns in case you have to file a claim. Of course, if the shipment is obviously visibly damaged, it should be refused. Basically, once you sign for it, you own it and making any claim for damages is going to be a very uphill battle, as we are currently finding out.

Edit: Let me clarify that this is meant just as general advice for anyone receiving a shipment from anywhere. This isn't directly related to the current shipment in question, it is just some thoughts derived from it.
 

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Something I have done in the past to "CYA" for damage you might not initially see is to sign the bill of lading and include the words "subject to inspection" on the bill, then photograph the freight companies copy of the bill with my phone, insuring that the phrase is present and readable on their copy. Much of the freight we receive as individuals is shipped LTL, and these carriers have many stops to make throughout the day. Because of this the drivers will often pressure a receiver to quickly sign the bill of lading so they can move on to their next stop. This can easily cause you to miss something when receiving a shipment. The best advice I can offer when dealing with freight companies is DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!!!! Take lots of pictures and write everything and anything you see on the bill of lading. Drivers may pitch a fit about this, but in the end it's your freight and your money, and as Chris mentioned, once the freight is unloaded and the bill is signed, neither the shipper or the consignee have any recourse against the freight company without documentation. Those three little words "subject to inspection" can save you a lot of grief down the road.
 
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