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Damage To Trailer By Shipper - Who Is Liable?

Discussion in 'Insurance' started by RK in AB, Feb 20, 2015.

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  1. RK in AB

    RK in AB Site Supporter

    I can't tell you how many times I've told a broker "The shipper is asking for a pickup number. Do you have that for us?" I understand the "Talk to me" mentality, you don't want someone back soliciting but why is it that a broker doesn't know their customer requires a pickup number and if they do know, why don't they give it to us on the load confirmation? I've heard that dispatch wants to talk to my driver but he won't do anything without clearing it with us so why do that?

    Also, what's with not giving details about a shipper or receiver? Some brokers (mostly US guys) give the shipper/receiver company name and then put "contact XYZ dispatch for directions. Ever heard of Google?

    I apologize for this being somewhat off topic but the calling the customer part hit as nerve. Happy Friday everyone!
  2. chica123

    chica123 Site Supporter

    Thank you Mike for throwing that out there. I call almost every time we have a pick up or delivery just to confirm the address or get help with directions, or get shipping hours. And I cannot tell you how many times simply by making a phone call to ask for directions or what not, we have actually found out that the load is not ready, or has already been picked up, or carrier xyz has also phoned to say they are picking up, or that the shipper doesn't have customs documents; the list goes on. And this is information that has come to light just by me calling for directions. So it makes me feel like there are many, many out brokers that do not take the time to check in with shippers before the truck is sent in. I do know of only 2-3 brokers that call each and every time to confirm details and to those brokers, my hat goes off to you. It is good practice and has saved me more wasted empty miles and driver hours than you could imagine over the years. That is way off topic... Happy Friday all.
  3. If I've brokered you a load I'd expect you try to contact me first before calling my customer...some of these relationships have taken years to cultivate & nurture...and in many cases have oddball sensitivities that a brokered carrier couldn't possibly know about. I'm hiring a carrier to be an extension of my operation for freight delivery, not customer service...

    That being said some brokers definitely take their possessiveness way too far...if you need info and *I'm not available*; I'd have no issue with you contacting the shipper/receiver...just leave me a message telling me you're doing it so I'm not looking too stupid when they call me later
    Freight Broker likes this.
  4. MikeJr

    MikeJr Moderator Staff Member

    Who has a 'do not contact' shipper or consignee policy? That's got to be the worst business decision I've ever heard. Carriers/drivers may need to call for hours, directions or any number of things. In fact I prefer that a driver call ahead to speak to the shipper directly - it's better than the shipper/consignee hoping that what we told them is true but not knowing for sure until the truck shows up. A call ahead is a good practice and I applaud any carrier that has the manpower to perform this task for every pickup and every delivery.

    That being said, I do have one consignee that has asked us not to give carriers his phone number. There's always got to be an exception to the rule I suppose.

    Keep well,
    Igor Galanter and chica123 like this.
  5. Freight Broker

    Freight Broker Well-Known Member

    In order to avoid confusion it is probably best to go through the broker for everything relating to normal daily operations... otherwise you may have the carrier, the driver, and the broker all trying to set appointments etc... it's better to have all that channelled through the broker to prevent confusion and needless duplication. Other stuff is best handled between the carrier and the shipper directly: as was stated earlier, the broker really has no say in the outcome of a claim, nor can/he she provide any first hand incite (unless he/she personally witnessed the incident that led to the damage). Now, should the broker offer to help the carrier with the cost? It would be a nice gesture that can be looked at as an investment in the relationship.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  6. loaders

    loaders Site Supporter

    This whole idea about the carrier being unable, or not allowed to speak directly to a broker's customer is growing a bit tiresome. If the carrier wants to call ahead and check hours, go ahead. If the carrier needs to re-schedule a pick-up or delivery, call me first. If you want to talk to my customer about dealing direct.........drop dead! It's all just common sense really. If you're dealing with a broker who wants to impose some iron clad rule about never, ever speaking to his customer about anything......maybe you should look for another broker. In addition, using this "no direct contact" excuse as a way to force a broker to get involved in your motor vehicle mishap doesn't work for me.
    DIETCOKE and Freight Broker like this.
  7. AccountsReceivable@DRC

    AccountsReceivable@DRC Moderator Staff Member

    Exactly. And this was my point. The broker stays involved till the end. And "the end" means when the carrier is taken care of and the issue resolved. Whether that be a blanket payment for the damage or via insurance. What matters is the broker remain "present" in this situation and assist where possible to get the matter resolved. Communication gets results - and in this situation - there will be alot of it.

    Bubba-one made a good point. When everything is running well for the broker and their customer - the carrier is to have no direct contact whatsoever with their customer. The minute there is a catastrophe - the carrier is expected to communicate with that party directly now.

    Weird how that relationship can "flip flop" on a dime eh?
  8. loaders

    loaders Site Supporter

    A brokers percentage is for arranging the right carrier, in the right place, at the time to move his customers freight. There is no obligation on the part of the broker to negotiate the settlement of a motor vehicle accident. If the broker can offer assistance in the form of names, phone numbers, etc., all the better. If the shipper damages your equipment, or if your driver damages the shippers facility, any resolution has to be between those two parties. All the broker can and should do, is facilitate the communication between the parties.
    chica123 likes this.
  9. bubba-one

    bubba-one Site Supporter

    Why is it that brokers don't want the Carrier talking to their customer,shipper or receiver, in any way, ( eg check if freight is ready, can they send customs doc's, hours of op., etc ) now the Carrier has a situation and the broker throws in the towel and says to the carrier your on your own for damages go see the shipper or receiver. Shame on you Tran Action, you get your percentage to take charge, negotiate, and ensure payment to the Carrier Now do your part and make things right with the Carrier, even if this means paying damages, and chasing your customer to recover the cost.
  10. Michael Ludwig

    Michael Ludwig Well-Known Member

    From my perspective, you would be wrong. Having a load broker get in the middle of such a situation would be the last thing I would want. As mentioned earlier the load broker becoming involved gives the impression they can affect an outcome in which they have neither say nor stake. No way, no how. I'll handle my own claims, whether they are equipment or cargo damage, as is my obligation, and my right. I do however agree that the load broker should be kept in the loop, as the carrier is financially dealing directly with the load broker's customer.
    This situation is strictly between the carrier and the shipper. Follow protocols exactly as you would if it were an accident on a public road. Calling the police for an incident/accident report is in fact an option. The bottom line is that damage was done to private property. Worst case scenario, should the shipping company deny all liability, have the forklift driver criminally charged with willful damage.
  11. MikeJr

    MikeJr Moderator Staff Member

    We usually see a few of these a year.
    Another one this morning in fact. Unfortunately for me, damaged was found after offload and 'is believed' to have occurred at the shipping location.
    We'll contact the shipper on the carriers behalf but I have a feeling I know how this will go, we'll absorb the cost as always and 'make it up' on the next couple of emergencies for this same customer.
    Can cost a little sometimes to keep strong relationships.

    Keep well,
    Igor Galanter likes this.
  12. Freight Broker

    Freight Broker Well-Known Member

    The consensus here has been that most brokers would involve themselves to some extent. Personally, I try to ere on the side of generosity... but each case is different. At some point it ceases to be about business and becomes more about what kind of a person one is. There are several points to ponder: what's the right thing to do from a business standpoint and what does my gut tell me to do? Each case is different and considered on its own merits.
  13. chica123

    chica123 Site Supporter

    I just want to throw out there that to my knowledge, there should be no deductible if the shipper admits fault or if the shipper is clearly at fault without admitting so. Hence the importance of getting a written statement, or report before you leave the location. And if you are hesitant to put a claim in for other reasons...that is another valid point also. But just from my experience, I have paid no deductible; it didn't affect my claims history, and the shipper paid the insurance directly rather than put it through their own insurance. It took the burden off me to chase the shipper around trying to collect.
    Igor Galanter likes this.
  14. lowmiler88

    lowmiler88 Site Supporter

    Transaction - that is the perfect way to put it. And for all the brokers - I was only suggesting that you may want to be involved because do you really want a carrier having that much contact with your customer? Because there are many ways to work out these repairs - say an extra $200 per load for the next 5 loads. And if the broker washed his hands of it then I'm dealing direct to get my money. Call it what you like but a lot of people throw around" call your insurance company". Well that's great but my deductible is $10,000 and the most damage that could be done would usually be a max $2,000. And even that would be excessive. I would never hold a load hostage but I would get paid.
    Igor Galanter and chica123 like this.
  15. AR: In theory I'd love to agree with you...and even in the case of the a-hole I was discussing below I did TRY to help him...but at the end of the day this is a LEGAL dispute between 2 parties and I ain't one of them. My attempts to help out only muddied the waters. What I learned is that anything you say can be interpreted as an offer of assurance. You say "I'll help you" and the carrier hears "I'll pay you"...

    If I have a good relationship with the carrier, as I do with most, I'd expect them to understand why I'm removing myself from the situation. It's not that I want to wash my hands of it...but why involve 3 people when only 2 of the people have any vested interest in the resolution?

    just for the record; this isn't just my "broker viewpoint"'s also my carrier viewpoint...we own our own trucks & I had a consignee (again not the customer) damage one of them with his forklift while offloading. I didn't threaten my customer, or expect him to cover my repair bill...I didn't ask my customer for a damn thing...I gave the guy who damaged my equipment the option of paying for the damage or going through insurance...
    TransAction and Freight Broker like this.
  16. whatiship

    whatiship Well-Known Member

  17. TransAction

    TransAction Active Member

    It sounds like the bottom line here is that everyone feels there is some sort of moral liability here but no real legal liability. Thanks for all the feedback!
  18. loaders

    loaders Site Supporter

    By all means, a broker who finds himself in this situation, should offer whatever assistance he/she can. By this I mean, providing contact names at the shipper if he has them, but other than that, what or even why, should he get involved in a motor vehicle accident? The carrier has insurance for his equipment, the shipper has property and liability insurance for his facility, what in heavens name can the broker provide to resolve this besides providing a small amount of directional assistance to the carrier? I don't believe Busterknoxville was suggesting anyone "wash their hands", but more like, merely step aside and let the correct parties to the accident sort it out. I mean how far do you want to carry this? What if a piece of concrete falls off an overpass onto the carrier's trailer just as he's pulling into the shippers yard? Is the broker who sent him there to pick-up responsible for the damaged trailer? is a motor vehicle accident, where it happens doesn't matter, even the details of how it happened doesn't change the way it should be dealt with. So unless the broker was driving the truck or operating the fork lift, or throwing the chunk of concrete, don't look to him for anything more than information.
  19. AccountsReceivable@DRC

    AccountsReceivable@DRC Moderator Staff Member


    If that is your broker viewpoint on the situation...I guarantee as a carrier - that would be the last time we'd ever haul a load for you. And I'd bet money that other carriers out there would follow suit.

    There are instances where you can simply "wash your hands" of the situation - and others you simply cannot...

    Staying involved till the end...well that's just good business.
    Igor Galanter and hauling_ass like this.
  20. As a broker I had this happen about a year ago...forklift driver who didn't realize how long his boom was...poked a hole in the trailer. The shipper wasn't my customer.

    I advised the carrier to call his insurance company, and also to get the name of the shipper's insurance company before leaving...told him I couldn't give him any "advice" but that I would assist him in communicating with the correct parties at the shipper if it would help.

    He decided it was easier to leave the shipper's facility & then hold the load ransom until I prepaid him an obviously inflated repair bill. After a few days of BS he decides he now wants to be prepaid the repair bill, freight cost AND storage!! I told him he had the night to think it over otherwise the next call he received would be from the Police. He called my bluff so I called the cops.

    The cop tried valiantly (but fruitlessly) to resolve the issue without he finally just told the carrier that if the load wasn't delivered at 8am the following morning he'd be charged with extortion.

    I disagree with everyone here that thinks the broker should do his best to help out the carrier etc. Involving yourself or offering to help just sends a message that you can impact the final resolution...and unfortunately you can't! Remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible & advise both parties that you ONLY want to be notified if the resolution (or lack of) impacts your load.

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