At times, it happens that you encounter a damaged freight delivery and may be faced with the dilemma of deciding whether you return it or sign for it. While many may think refusing is the best option, it is actually the last thing you should do. This could instead bring you additional shipping costs, depending on the carrier.
There are a few things you need to consider before turning damaged freight away. Let’s discuss what you need to know about accepting or refusing such a delivery.
Accept The Damaged Freight
Noting the specific damages and filing claims appropriately will allow you to be properly compensated. If insufficient packaging is the cause of damage, that simply means the original shipper is probably at fault. On the other hand, if the damage was caused by the activity of the carrier, the carrier will likely have insurance to cover the loss. Accepting damaged freight without noting down each damaged item however, may attach you the responsibility of paying for bill in the end.
Don’t Carriers Automatically File Damaged Freight Claims?
Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is your responsibility to follow through with a damaged freight claim and you generally have up to 15 days to file it. Some carriers allow longer claim times and latest technology such as RFID’s may help prevent missing freight from being an issue. However, it does happen that these technologies contain faults, and when you accept damaged freight, you should immediately let the appropriate carrier know. Once you have notified the carrier of the problem and have signed for the freight in a detailed notated list of all damaged items, the claims process begins. Failing to document the damages will result in you having to handle the costs yourself. Basically, a signed, unannotated bill of lading (BOL) is a receipt acknowledging the freight was delivered in good condition. Even if the BOL does not clearly state this, it is a common practice to use the BOL as proof of undamaged delivery.
The Problem With Refusing The Freight
Putting the damaged freight back into the hands of the carrier may mean there is more possibility of further damage. Even if the freight were to sit in one place indefinitely until the claim has been processed, it will still need to picked and removed eventually, increasing the risk of damage.
There are also specific considerations to note when filing for an insurance claim. For example, if you have purchased a third-party insurance policy, the policy may have repercussions for refusing freight in the claims’ process. Your insurance might also need you to accept the freight, submit pictures and even allow inspectors to come review the status of the freight in person. You have more control over the situation if you keep it.
Keeping The Freight In Your Facility
You should not be rid of the damaged freight during the claims process so it is best to keep it in the facility. There’s a very high chance that you might find use for it in the future. You may still be able to benefit from the unfortunate occurrence and be able to use the damaged item for other purposes.
Always make certain to double check too if the carrier or insurance underwriter is not under order to take possession of the products. It’s also important that you do something with the damaged once any claims have been processed and the carrier’s appeal dates have passed.
Don’t forget to also find out Why You Can’t Live Without Freight Software!