Though we provide the most accurate information possible on the bill of lading (BOL), freight shipping adjustments happen on occasion. An adjustment is when the carrier corrects shipment specifications, resulting in additional charges due to the inaccurate information. One of the most commonly disputed adjustments is the weight of the shipment.
Having the accurate weight listed on the BOL is important to making sure the truck is loaded properly and safely making weight disputes some of the most difficult adjustments to get corrected. If you feel that the adjustment applied for the weight variance is inaccurate, first you’ll need to verify the shipper did in fact weigh the freight as packaged for shipment.
When a carrier weighs a shipment, they complete a Weight Inspection Certificate, commonly called a WIC. This is the official document of the weight of the shipment in transit and the basis of any weight adjustment. Request a copy of the WIC to see what the weight is recorded at on the document.
It’s common for shippers to calculate weight by weighing one item on the pallet and multiplying that weight by the number of items to determine the total weight of shipment. This is not a foolproof method of determining freight weight and it leaves you vulnerable because you don’t have a recorded weight of the items as prepared to ship. If the only party to weigh the freight “as shipped” is the carrier it’s nearly impossible to convince them of an error because your weight calculation was not “as shipped.”
If you feel you did provide an accurate weight, you first must provide an invoice or packaging slip, proving that the freight that was shipped was the freight listed on the BOL.
Next, you’ll need to prove the weight of the shipment. You may be able to prove it with certain pre-printed documents. Typically, accepted documents are limited to manufacturer specifications, catalogs, or potentially web page showing weight of the item. Using one of these documents to show the weight of your item can possibly help you resolve your dispute favorably.
Not all documents are considered acceptable forms for determining the weight of a shipment. The following are examples of documents that carriers will not accept as proof of weight, but by no means is this a comprehensive list: copies of past Bill of Ladings, prior delivery receipts or any documentation of other shipments, import documents, spreadsheets, hand written documents, documentation typed on letterhead or a fax cover sheet, emails (including emails from the manufacturer), or weight listed on invoice to customers.
If you do have a weight dispute, look to Freightquote’s in house disputes team to help you manage the process with the carrier. However, the best way to manage weight disputes is to avoid them all together. Make absolutely sure that the height, weight and class of your shipment is as accurate as possible on the BOL. Work with Freightquote’s team of experts to help you make the best decisions for your freight shipments.