No matter your title, if you deal with sending and receiving shipments, it’s important that you understand how freight claims work. No one likes to deal with missing or damaged goods, but sometimes you have to. Read on for a definition and explanation of six common types of freight claims.
If physical damage to your shipment packaging is evident and your consignee notates issues on your proof of delivery (POD), you can file a damage claim. Contact the freight shipping company you used to schedule your shipment to file your claim.
Typically, you have as many as nine months to submit a claim for visibly damaged goods. As long as you have good evidence, the carrier will most likely refund a portion of your shipping costs. However, you’ll have to pay your invoice upfront and get reimbursed for any losses when the claim is processed.
Concealed Damage Claim
When damage is hidden, that means it isn’t noticed until after delivery, and it isn’t notated on the POD. Concealed damaged claims are tricky because they’re harder to prove.
Contact your shipper as soon as possible, as most carriers only allow a five-day window to file a concealed damage claim. If more than five days pass before you file, the carrier that handled your shipment will likely deny your claim. Include photos and any other evidence you have with your claim to increase your odds of getting a partial refund.
If your shipment shows up with a shortage and your cosignee notates it on your POD; you can file a shortage claim. This can happen if packaging is not intact and freight is clearly missing. It can also happen if the amount of freight delivered doesn’t match what’s printed on your bill of lading (BOL).
Again, you typically have as many as nine months to file a claim. Expect to pay for your shipment up front and to get reimbursed for any losses once the claim has been processed.
Concealed Shortage Claim
Similar to a concealed damage claim, concealed shortage claims occur when a missing product is not noted on your POD, meaning it isn’t visibly evident that you’re short until after delivery. With concealed shortages, the packaging is usually intact, and it’s not obvious that freight delivered doesn’t match freight specified on your BOL.
Concealed shortage claims are difficult to prove, so you’ll often find that carriers push back. As with other concealed claims, time is of the essence. You only have five business days to let your shipper know about the shortage. If you delay beyond five days, your carrier will deny your claim.
Sometimes, a shipment comes in, and it’s the wrong freight, the product is damaged, or the shipment is late. Consignees have the right to refuse part or all of shipment if they are unhappy with the state of their freight.
If your consignee refuses your shipment, it’s returned to your carrier’s delivery terminal. Your LTL company will contact you and ask what you want them to do with your shipment. Your options are to have it shipped back to you, have it sent to another address, or have it disposed of. In most cases, you will not have to pay your invoice.
A loss claim is a worst-case scenario because it means your entire shipment was lost by your carrier. This most commonly happens when shipment paperwork is separated from its freight. When this occurs, your carrier typically has a week to attempt to locate your freight. If they can’t find it, you won’t be charged for shipping.
Now that you understand the most common freight claim types and how to handle each one, you can manage your shipments with confidence.