Damaged freight is an unavoidable part of transporting freight, and while frustrating and challenging, there are things you can do to help mitigate the loss. Check out our tips on dealing with damaged freight below.
1: What do I do when I receive damaged freight?
Sign the delivery receipt as damaged… I repeat, SIGN THE DELIVERY RECEIPT AS DAMAGED! If the receipt is signed as “clear”, it is almost guaranteed that your freight claim amount will be reduced to a settlement, or worse, denied altogether.
Below are a couple things to remember when signing for damages:
- Notate all damages – If only one item is noted as damaged, more than likely the carrier will only refund that one item
- “Subject to Inspection” is NOT a valid notation – This notation is not enough to hold the carrier liable. When in doubt, notate “Damaged.”
- If you must, refuse the freight – In cases where the driver will not let you sign or check for damages, refuse the freight.
2: Does the carrier need to be notified?
In short, yes, the carrier needs to be notified. Proper notations on the delivery receipt constitute as notifying the carrier. If damages are noticed after the delivery, the carrier should be notified ASAP, and MUST be within 15 days of the delivery. In most cases, any damaged shipment where the carrier was notified later than 15 days after delivery will be immediately denied by the carrier.
3: What do I need to file a damage freight claim?
When filing a freight claim, the more documentation, the better. However, there are a few key documents that you should include with every freight claim.
- Completed freight claim form
- Product invoice/sales invoice
- Proof of delivery/delivery receipt
- Original Bill of Lading
- Carrier freight bill (for freight charges)
- Repair cost invoice (if applicable)
4: What should I do with the damaged freight?
Through every freight claims process, the freight needs to be available for the carrier, usually for inspection or salvage pickup. This means the freight needs to be held onto until the freight claim is resolved. DO NOT throw away the freight, including the packaging as this could result in the carrier denying the freight claim.
Your options are as follows:
- The consignee can accept the freight and sign the POD as damaged/short and hold the freight until the freight claim is resolved
- The consignee can refuse the freight and have it shipped back to the shipper (usually Free Astray) where the shipper will hold the freight until the freight claim is resolved
- In some rare cases, carriers will dispose of the freight themselves if given the okay by the customer due to a complete loss of the product.
- The carrier WILL NOT hold onto the damaged freight during the freight claims process and storage charges will accrue if disposition is not given to the carrier in a timely manner.