Handling freight claims requires time and effort from a shipper. There are certain processes, rules, and regulations that should be followed to ensure freight claims are resolved. A third-party logistics (3PL) provider, like PLS Logistics, works on behalf of the shipper and processes a clients’ freight claim from beginning to end. A 3PL does not have liability for freight loss or damage; instead, it works as a liaison with trucking companies and provides communication through the claims process. Shippers benefit from the expertise of freight claims management when claims are properly filed and processed without any holdups.
6 Steps Freight Claim Process
1. Freight is Damaged or Lost
Time really works against the shipper here. The consignee should inspect the load as it arrives and before the driver leaves. A carrier is liable for all shipment loss and damage, with some exceptions (see Carmack Amendment).
2. Shipper Notates Bill of Lading
All visible and concealed damage or loss should be documented. A shipper should make specific notes of damage and shortage on the Bill of Lading. Keep all damaged freight and take photos if possible. A shipper’s “Golden Rule” for freight claims: Don’t sign the BOL before documenting damage/loss!
3. Consignee Contacts PLS
After notating the BOL, a shipper passes freight claim handling to PLS Claim Processing Department, and the investigation phase begins.
4. Inspection Request
PLS contacts the carrier, and asks for inspection and ensures that all parties follow policies and regulations.
5. Carrier Schedules or Waives Inspection
Carrier may waive the inspection, especially if freight value is under $500, but it reserves the right to inspect in all cases. Inspection is performed by a third party company.
6. Claim Handling
It usually takes 90 days to resolve a claim. PLS controls process follows up on claim status and makes sure the claim is paid in a timely manner.
For efficient freight claim handling, a shipper should keep all necessary documents:
- Copy of Paid freight bill
- Copy of invoice showing the amount paid for goods
- Copy of packaging slips
- Standard claim form
An expert 3PL, whom shippers can outsource freight claim management, provides a hassle-free claim process and transparent communication through the entire process. Most importantly, a partner like PLS Logistics protects shippers from the frustration and expense of improper handling of freight claims.
Continue reading: 6 Steps to Take When Your Freight is Damaged or Lost