Taking Possession of Refused Damaged FreightWritten by Neal Willis
When freight is refused damaged, someone must take possession of it. If not, the shipper risks incurring storage fees and even losing the freight itself. Carriers can charge reasonable storage fees for the costs of having to store and work around refused freight, and they tend to start charging for storage after it has been in their possession for around 15 days without anyone claiming it.
In addition to storage fees, the items can even be sold at auction if no party accepts the freight before the carrier’s time limits expire. If not lost altogether, when the time limits expire and refused freight is sold at auction, the claimant’s chances of reaching a settlement on a freight claim are extremely bleak.
When a shipment is refused damaged, it is the responsibility of a carrier to notify the shipper. The freight doesn't have to be returned to the shipper but, in most instances, it makes sense. Since it is the responsibility of a shipper or claimant to mitigate a claim to the lowest amount possible, true damages need to be assessed. Therefore, the manufacturer is usually best suited to assess the damages for costs and to make necessary repairs, if it is repairable.
The carrier will notify the shipper that a shipment has been refused and request authorization to return the freight. In the event the manufacturer refuses to accept the returned merchandise, the carrier will attempt to contact the consignee once again to determine if they will accept it. The consignee may then choose to accept it in order to avoid potential storage fees and to ensure a chance at reaching a settlement on a freight claim. If the shipper and the consignee both refuse to accept the freight, the carrier will then send a letter outlining their course of action along with time limits.
Carriers can’t simply store all items that are noted and refused damaged until a freight claim is filed and settled. If carriers stored this type of freight for everyone indefinitely, then their networks and transit times would be atrocious. Carriers specialize in the movement of freight, not the storage of it. They don’t have the ability nor the space to store items, and working around damaged freight is a liability for the carrier and for the freight. Even if they could store refused shipments, the freight itself would need to be moved periodically due to other shipments moving in and out, and more movement would increase its susceptibility to additional damage.
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