The topic of damage – especially concealed damage – is a hot button for many shippers. Items can, in fact, be damaged despite intact packaging and a pristine-looking box.
The Interstate Commerce Act (in the Carmack Amendment) allows a shipper nine months to file a freight claim against a carrier. The party filing the claim has the burden of proving the claim.
The filer must prove that:
(1) the shipment was tendered to the carrier in good condition
(2) the shipment was delivered in damaged condition; and
(3) the shipper suffered economic injury as a result of the damage.
Proving damage upon delivery can prove to be difficult on occasion. The best practice, of course, is for the consignee (the party receiving the freight) to inspect the goods immediately and note the damage on the delivery receipt. The more specific the notation, the better.
If the damage is concealed, however, and the consignee does not immediately inspect the packaged contents, the carrier should be contacted immediately upon discovery of the damage. Often, an inspector will be dispatched if the carrier has a local terminal.
Immediate digital photos of the damaged goods in the packaging are also a good idea.
Delay in reporting often leads to lower damage payments. The longer the freight is the consignee’s possession, the more difficult it will be to convince the company (or a jury, if the case goes to litigation) that the damage occurred while the carrier was transporting the goods.
While Freightquote.com places loads with only the most reputable and reliable carriers, some freight damage is probably inevitable from time to time. When damage does happen, Freightquote’s customers have a powerful tool in their arsenal. Freightquote’s attentive and experienced customer service representatives can assist in the claims process.
If a Freightquote shipper wants the company’s help in handling a damage claim against a carrier (remember Freightquote is not a carrier but is a broker that places shipments with carriers), the shipper must submit the claim to Freiqhtquote within 30 days after delivery. Claims for damages that are not readily apparent (“concealed damage”) must be submitted to Freightquote within 3 days after delivery. So, immediate (or as close to immediate as possible) inspection is vital.