Damaged Freight: Accept Them or Send Them Back?

Damaged FreightYour warehouse likely receives incoming freight just as often as you ship freight out. In a perfect world, all cargo will arrive in pristine condition, just as it was when leaving its original destination. Occasionally, though, some packages are visibly damaged upon arrival. Should you accept damaged freight or return it to the sender?

Why You Should Accept Damaged Freight

We highly recommend accepting damaged freight and reporting the damage on the bill of lading. Document every detail and take photos of the package. This includes opening the packaging and documenting the damage on the goods inside. The more detailed the documentation the better. The carrier or line shipper’s insurance will cover any damages if there’s sufficient proof to believe the damage occurred en route.

Important note: Most LTL and dedicated truck transport services don’t automatically file damaged freight claims. That is your responsibility, and you normally have a 15-day window, starting from the moment you sign for the freight. If you don’t document damages, then you’re basically acknowledging that the freight was received in good condition, thus relieving the carrier of all liability.

Refusing the Freight

You can file a damage claim and then refuse the freight, but we generally don’t recommend this. Sending the shipment back means a roundtrip journey for the freight. If you refuse to accept, you could be liable for the return shipment and all other processing fees (e.g. storage) that go with it. Also, keep in mind that damaged freight that undergoes another trip is susceptible to further damage. By accepting it, you can keep the goods in a safe, stationary area.

If you constantly send and receive freight, then get in touch with Machine Transport; we’ll hook you up with an appropriate carrier. As for damaged freight, take our advice and accept it.

Edited by Justin Vorhees

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