Damage To Trailer By Shipper - Who Is Liable?

#21
busterknoxville,

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.
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"...it'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...
 

lowmiler88

Site Supporter
#22
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!
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.
 

chica123

Site Supporter
#23
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.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#24
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.
 

MikeJr

Moderator
Staff member
#25
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,
Mike
 

Michael Ludwig

Well-Known Member
#26
busterknoxville,

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.
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.
 

bubba-one

Site Supporter
#27
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.
 

loaders

Site Supporter
#28
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.
 

AccountsReceivable@DRC

Moderator
Staff member
#29
All the broker can and should do, is facilitate the communication between the parties.
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?
 

loaders

Site Supporter
#30
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.
 

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
#31
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.
 
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MikeJr

Moderator
Staff member
#32
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,
Mike
 
#33
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
 

chica123

Site Supporter
#34
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.
 

RK in AB

Site Supporter
#35
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!
 

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