What to do when dealing with damaged freight

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September 28, 2017

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Damaged freight is one of the worst things that can happen to you when dealing with a freight forwarder service. Imagine this: You’ve finally ordered your long-awaited PlayStation 4 Pro, but on opening the box upon delivery, something is not quite right-your console has a crack on it. What do you do next?

All freight forwarding companies that specialize in shipping freight, as well as matters logistics such as Sidoman Investment Group, have had to deal with damaged freight at one point or another. In truth, damaged freight is a common problem that occurs, and it can be a costly and tedious process for all parties involved (for both the shipper and the consignee).

Handling freight claims requires a specific process that must be followed to the tee to ensure that the party responsible pays the freight claim. The task of finding out the responsible party is usually long, and it can take months. Although shippers and freight forwarding services typically try their best to prevent instances of lost or damaged cargo, some cases are simply inevitable.

However, if you rely on the services of an experienced freight forwarding company, you may not get your goods back, but you can be compensated for them. Reliable logistics services also do their best to inform you of the tracking details as well as offer you valuable information that can prevent future instances of damaged freight.

PRO SIDOMAN TIP: Whenever you receive freight or cargo, NEVER sign the Bill of Lading before inspecting your goods or your load for damage, any missing components or parts or concealed damage.

Here is what to do when dealing with damaged freight

Step 1: Act immediately and record the damage on your damaged freight

As soon as you are done inspecting your Bill of Lading (BOL), make sure that you record all damages, shortages, and exceptions. Take a close look at your cargo and inspect every inch of it. If you have to, open your crates to determine if something is missing or stolen. Do not be intimidated by anyone, even if they claim that they are in a hurry; it is your right to record all the critical details.

Make sure that you take immediate action because lost time can really cost you. Try and use as much detail as possible when describing the damage. For instance, instead of just stating one cracked console, be very specific. Instead, you can note down one long crack, 6 inches in length situated at the right-hand corner of the console.

Use your phone to take digital pictures right away and make a call to Sidoman to make the necessary parties aware of the damage or loss. If you do not give Sidoman the opportunity to mitigate the disaster in the beginning, then it will become harder to salvage, return, or re-deliver your items. Additionally, some or your entire claim may be denied if you do not act in time.

Step 2: Keep your damaged freight

Always ensure that you keep the damaged freight in a safe space. Never discard the damaged freight until the claim has been fully resolved to your satisfaction. Furthermore, your carrier has the right to inspect the damaged freight after you report it so that they can take ownership of and recover your freight if the claim value is awarded.

If your cargo is perishable or it will be affected by other laws (pertaining to hazardous materials), ensure that you notify your carrier. If this is the case with your damaged freight, please let Sidoman know.

Step 3: Try and mitigate the freight damages

When dealing with damaged freight, the responsibility rests with all parties concerned including you as the consignee, the shipper, carrier or the logistic provider. It is the duty of all parties to make every effort possible to do what is rationally possible to mitigate the number of impending freight damages. This is because it can be difficult to track the responsible party or to determine exactly what happened to cause damage to the freight after the fact.

Step 4: Pay the necessary freight charges for the damaged freight

At this stage, you need to fill out the correct freight claim, cargo claim, shipping claim or transportation claim paperwork. The paperwork serves as a legal request to the carrier, asking for financial reimbursement for lost or damaged freight.

The freight claim is created to recuperate the costs for the shipper, but not the profit. As such, the shipper is going to determine a reasonable cash amount for the claim. If you used a reliable freight forwarding service for your shipping needs, that company will try to minimize the cost of the claim as much as it can.

Ensure that you pay the freight bill as soon as possible. The freight forwarding service will then be responsible for the payment of your good’s transportation. An insurance firm will then process the claim.  Refusal to pay the freight bill, even if you feel that you are not at fault, can cost you in the long run. Save yourself a headache by paying it immediately; pettiness and unnecessary disputes will not help to get your goods faster, regardless of how aggrieved you might be.

Step 5: Keep all the documents pertaining to the damaged freight

After every step is complete, make sure that you keep all the documentation used in the process. Most of all check to make sure that that you keep copies of:

  • The bill of lading
  • Your paid freight bill
  • A copy of the invoice showing how much you paid for your damaged freight
  • The packing slip
  • A claim letter identifying the shipment and the amount to be claimed
  • Pictures of the damage

While it might seem obvious that you will get compensation for damaged or lost freight, this is not always the case. It is critical for you to gather as much evidence as possible to avoid further or improper freight handling.  Partnering with an expert team like Sidoman can help you avoid damaged freight, and it can also manage your claims and paperwork the right way.

Sidoman ensures that your shipment is delivered on team, each time. Contact our offices today to learn more.


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