Dealing with concealed damage in freight shipping can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to address the situation effectively. Concealed damage refers to damage that is not immediately apparent upon inspection of the external packaging. Here’s a guide on how to handle concealed damage in freight shipping:
Document the External Packaging, Inspect the Shipment Thoroughly, Note the Concealed Damage:
Before opening the shipment, document any visible damage to the external packaging. Take pictures or make notes of any dents, tears, or signs of mishandling.
Open the shipment in the presence of the carrier’s driver or delivery personnel. Carefully inspect the contents for any damage that may not be visible from the outside. Check for broken items, dents, scratches, or any other issues.
If you discover concealed damage, document it immediately. Take pictures from different angles and make detailed notes about the extent of the damage. This information will be crucial when filing a claim.
Note the Condition of the Packaging and Retain the Packaging:
Examine the internal packaging for any signs of insufficient protection. If the internal packaging appears inadequate, it may have contributed to the damage. Document this as part of your evidence.
Keep all packaging materials, both external and internal, until the inspection process is complete. This includes boxes, pallets, wrapping, and any other materials used to secure the items during transit.
Mark the Delivery Receipt, Notify the Carrier:
Before signing the delivery receipt, note any visible external damage and indicate that the shipment is accepted subject to further inspection for concealed damage. This may help preserve your rights when filing a claim later.
Report the concealed damage to the carrier as soon as possible. Follow the carrier’s specific procedures for reporting damage. Provide them with detailed information, including photographs and a description of the damage.
File a Claim and Follow Up on the Claim:
Work with the carrier to file a formal claim for the damage. Provide all necessary documentation, including the pictures, notes, and any other evidence of the damage. Be prepared to fill out the carrier’s claim form accurately.
Stay engaged in the claims process. Follow up with the carrier regularly to check on the status of your claim. Be persistent in ensuring that your claim is processed in a timely manner.
Remember that the specific procedures for dealing with concealed damage may vary depending on the carrier and the terms of your shipping contract. Always refer to the carrier’s guidelines and your shipping agreement for the most accurate and relevant information.
Keep Communication Records:
Document all communications with the carrier, including phone calls, emails, and any written correspondence. Having a record of your interactions can be helpful if the claim process becomes prolonged.