Inspect Your Freight Before Signing Off: Tips and Best Practices

Inspect Your Freight Before Signing Off: Tips and Best Practices

Read Time: 4 min. 

As shipping volumes continue to increase due to the eCommerce explosion, freight companies handle more packages than ever before. For the most part, this cargo is sent as LTL, increasing the potential for damage and loss. The more transfers a shipment has to go through, the greater the risk.

As such, it is more critical than ever to inspect all incoming freight before signing a proof of delivery. Doing so helps you avoid additional costs and delays due to loss, damage, or packaging failure.

These changes have caused a shift in the way damage claims are handled within the shipping industry. If you fail to follow the accepted reporting protocols, it’s not likely you will recoup your costs.

One way to avoid many of these issues is to thoroughly inspect your freight before signing off on proof of delivery. Your signature is your guarantee that things have occurred as expected. If that’s not the case, you might have an uphill battle proving otherwise if you’ve physically signed off on the shipment.

What is Proof of Delivery?

A proof of delivery (POD) is a separate item from the bill of lading. It is an official, legal document that signifies the freight has been delivered. It also serves as the title to the cargo and proof of receipt that can be used for insurance purposes.

The POD details the specific items that were delivered, and itemizes details such as weight, dimensions, and the number of items the shipment contains. A POD also serves as the contract between the shipper/carrier and the recipient, making it a legally binding agreement that has a significant bearing on future inquiries, should there be any.

HOW TO AVOID EXTRA FREIGHT CHARGES

Additional freight charges and price adjustments are not uncommon in logistics, but they are never a welcome surprise. It’s money that you didn’t plan to and shouldn’t have to lose. Knowing how these additional charges happen will help you avoid them in the future.

Once you sign the POD, you have provided your assurance that the goods have arrived as expected. Additionally, it transfers the responsibility to you. If you notice damage after the fact, it will be far more difficult to recover costs from the carrier. During the claims process, the carrier can use your signed POD to dispute your claim, which means you likely won’t recoup your costs easily, if at all.

Inspect Your Shipments Before You Sign: A Checklist

When your shipment arrives, the first thing you should do is assure that it is yours and that the name and information on the delivery receipt matches your records. Check all labels to ensure they are correct and that you have everything.

  • Document everything. Take photos in case you need them for a claim.
  • Check all items for external damage; note any holes, rips, or damage in wrapping or packaging.
  • Take photos of visible damage. Make a note of even the smallest damage and note on the receipt.
  • Open packages with visible damage to inspect the contents.
  • Do this with the driver present.
  • Make detailed notes about your observations.
  • If there are exceptions, such as damage to exterior packaging though the contents seem intact, make a note of this as well. Overlooking this aspect might impact your ability to claim should the customer have a complaint.
  • Have the driver sign off on your damage notes.

If you are concerned about loss due to freight damage, consider partnering with a licensed freight forwarder like DTS World Cargo. Since 2001, we have been supporting companies with cost-effective freight solutions. Reach out today to request a quote.