I received damaged freight. What should I do?

Everything you need to do to mitigate risk from damaged freight.

Key takeaways:

  • Sign the delivery receipt as damaged.
  • Notate all damages.
  • Be specific.
  • When in doubt, notate “damaged.”
  • If the driver doesn’t let you sign or check for damages, refuse the freight.

Do I need to notify the carrier?

In short, yes. If you receive damaged freight, there are a few ways to notify the carrier.

  • If the damage is evident upon arrival, notations on the delivery receipt constitute as notifying the carrier.
  • If you notice damages after the delivery, you must notify the carrier within five days of delivery. If the carrier is notified of concealed damages later than five days after delivery, the claim will immediately be denied. 

What do I need to file a damaged freight claim?

When filing a freight claim, the more documentation, the better. However, there are a few key documents that should always be included with every freight claim: 

  • Completed submission through the Mothership claims dashboard
  • Product invoice/sales invoice 
  • Proof of delivery/delivery receipt 
  • Original Bill of Lading 
  • Carrier freight bill (for freight charges) 
  • Repair cost invoice (if applicable) 
  • Photographs (even if you’re filing for lost freight, including photos can help the carrier identify it in salvage)

Additional documentation that assists the freight claim process are: 

  • Carrier inspection report (especially for high-value shipments. You can request the carrier to do an inspection at no cost!) 
  • Write up or description of loss or damage 
  • Record of discounted sale (if you think the document can help your case against the carrier, add it to the freight claim)

What should I do with the damaged freight?

During the claims process, the freight needs to be available for the carrier, usually for inspection or salvage pick-up. The receiver should hold onto the freight, including the packaging, until the process is complete. 

What are the options?

  • The consignee can accept the freight, sign the delivery receipt as damaged/short, and hold onto the freight until the claim resolves.
  • The consignee can refuse the freight and have it shipped back to the shipper, where the shipper will hold onto the freight until the claim resolves.
  • In extremely rare situations, carriers dispose of freight themselves, only if instructed to do so by the customer. Carriers do not hold onto damaged freight. If carriers don’t receive the disposition promptly, this will lead to storage charges.

When should I have a replacement shipped out?

We understand that many shipments are time-sensitive, and therefore, the customer does not have to wait for the freight claim to be complete before shipping a replacement. 

If the customer ships out a replacement before starting a freight claim, they can include replacement charges. However, it’s essential to use the same carrier for shipping the replacement. That way, all shipments and documentation are eligible for a claim.