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What to do if the shipment is damaged?

Upon delivery of consignments with visible damage, you have two options: to accept or to refuse the damaged goods.

At first sight, the alternative of not accepting the delivery seems admissible, but it can lead to the risk of additional charges for transportation and storage of the shipment from the carrier.

The better alternative is to accept the goods, but you should consider the following:

Damage may be caused by poor transport packaging, in this case the sender will most likely assume responsibility. The second possibility is the damage to be caused during the transport, in that case, the damage will be borne by the carrier.

To be compensated by someone in the supply chain, either sender, carrier or insurer, it is necessary to formalise the damage documentary and take following actions:

1. Enter a note in the transport document accompanying the delivery.

In case your comments are not stated in the consignment note (or other type of transport document), this can be used as justification for a flawless delivery and as result you will lose the right for compensation. You should state what is damaged, when the damage accrued if is known, and describe in detail the damaged or missing goods. If needed you can prepare an additional document and request the signature of the driver, if declined – the signature of another witness.

2. Notify immediately the carrier for the damages or missing goods in writing form.

Upon receipt of the notification the notice period for presenting the claim begins. It is possible that the carrier or his insurer will send an expert to inspect the goods. The lack of notification often causes insurers to refuse a payment of the damage.

3. Draft a written description of the damage or missing goods and claim the damage.

It is advisable to draft a detailed list of the damaged or missing goods and to contact a surveyor. If you have a cargo insurance, check the requirements of your insurer. You may need to submit additional documents for prove and payment of the claim.

4. Save the goods, subject to damage until receiving final instructions from the insurer or carrier for their submission. Goods subject of the claim must remain in the same condition in which they were received, as during the processing of the claim they may be subject of repetitive inspections. After payment of the claim the right of possession belongs to carrier or insurer.

If you do decide to cancel the delivery, note the following:

1. In case of refusal, you are responsible for the delivery failure, due to which the carrier will accrue charges for returning, storage and subsequent transport, which will be at your expense.

2. If you do not accept the delivery, transport and storage of the goods with already damaged packaging can lead to further damage.

3. For claiming a damage from your supplier or your insurer a submission of documents and records for inspections by experts or surveyor (it is recommended to take photos) are required, which you will not be able to present if you do not have the goods.

It is advisable to develop a standard procedure for acceptance of deliveries with damaged or lost goods, and provide it to your staff for preventing the possibility that damages remain at your expense.

If you have experience or you have something to share about such cases, contact us ...