Do you have the original bills of lading? Can you prove you did the shipment?? Do you now know who the originating load broker is? Do you know if the people that brokered it to you have been paid?? Lots of questions to consider...
I have a related but opposite problem. We tendered a load to a "carrier", I use quotations because we have since learned they are not. Oh how I wish I knew of this forum a year ago.
This entity then brokered the load to Bourassa who in all good faith did the job. We paid the original "carrier"...ahh hell...it was G&B out of Montreal. Last we heard of it until today when my customer informs me Bourassa has had a legal adviser send them a fax indicating they haven't been paid and will be looking to them.
This obviously went over like a ton of bricks. What is our exposure and liability in this matter?
The actual owner of the goods, your customer, is responsible to pay the carrier that actually did the work, Bourassa. SOOOOO...if you want to make your customer happy....pay Bourassa and put the whole issue behind you. Otherwise you and your customer will get into a nasty battle that, by the sounds of it, may/will end up in court.
Referring to my earlier post. It turns out that Bourassa p/u the load from our customer and signed the shipping bill which clearly stated freight charges were to be charged to us. How does that affect your theory that the consignor is ultimately responsible? Is due diligence not at play here?
Loader,et al,thanks for the input. I don't know whether you have missed my point,or are sidestepping it. Why would a carrier issue an invoice to someone when the B/L they signed clearly states who the payor is?
I don't think anyone is sidestepping it. If you are responsible for the freight then contact Bourassa and make arrangements to pay them. If they haven't been paid for the work they have done, they have the right to demand payment from the owner of the goods. (Shipper or Reciever)
You should certainly bring this fact about the notation on the Bill of Lading to Bourassa's attention and have them stop bothering your client. Surely their only concern is to get paid for their service and it will make no difference to them if that payer is you, your client, or the original "carrier" you contracted with. I would assume that Bourassa originally sent an invoice to G&B that obviously went unpaid. Yes, they should have dug a little deeper and examined the paperwork more closely to see that you were responsible for the charges, but once the invoice was seriously past due, they went straight to the shipper.
hehe...forgive me all for being obtuse - I refer to the quoted passage -
"Why would a carrier issue an invoice to someone when the B/L they signed clearly states who the payor is?"
Am I to understand that a carrier has no responsibility to confirm the basic facts of a situation. I am not neccessarily talking about a legal responsibilty but a plain common sense responsibility.
Let's be clear on this point. If it comes down to it, we will work with Bourassa and resolve this. I know they are on here so if they wish to respond I am more than happy to discuss it.
"Why would a carrier issue an invoice to someone other than the party named on the B/L"? Simple, Bourassa made a mistake. As far as they were concerned, you didn't exist. Their deal was with G&B. G&B must have sent them a load confirmation so that's who Bourassa invoiced. Granted, once payment wasn't received, Bourassa should have looked more closely at the B/L and should have seen your firm as responsible for the freight charges. This scenario is a classic example of the dangers and pitfalls of double brokering.....someone gets left holding the bag, or in this case, paying twice.
With loaders here, they have already tried to collect from someone and how long have they been trying that? Sorry but if it was my money out there I would go after beneficial owner of the goods as well, you know if they paid someone already they will be calling you shortly!
I would just want to clear it up as soon as possible. Get my customer out of the picture, call Bourassa and pay them what they are due. Sure, it would have been best if Bourassa called you first but at this point I would just want to keep my customer happy.
I got nailed to pay twice when the "carrier" I booked double brokered.
Should it not be the LAW for the ACTUAL carrier to have his stamp/name on the bill of lading?
I find it pretty shady that they do not.
And if we as brokers are unaware that a carrier is bouble brokering, why should we be responsible to pay?...(Nor my customer for that matter)
I just think it is very unfair that the actual carrier can hide it by not putting his company name on the bill of lading, yet we have to pay even though there is no "due diligence" we can do.
IF I would see who actually moved the goods, I can always call them to make sure they were paid...or pay them directly.
Sorry if this is redundant (I've offered these same thoughts several times):
Continue to do everything you can behind the scenes to know who you are working with, trust long term relationships over newer ones, use this site, etc...
Most importantly: regularly remind shippers and consignees to stop what they are doing and call you if the name on the side of the truck is not who you told them was coming. This is of utmost importance.
There is a box on 99% of the BOL's I've seen, make it the shippers responsibility to input the carrier picking up the shipment into that space for everyone's protection.
I'm sure that all carriers that haul the actual loads, would love to write their name on the BOL, but what about all those instructions that come with the confirmation, that clearly state..."Driver must id as so and so when arriving for picking up or delivering"
Transbrkr, it is the LAW that "the name of the originating carrier issuing the Bill of Lading" be marked on the Bill of Lading. Too many times however, carriers use the shippers bill of lading and do not insert their name in the space where it belongs. A good carrier should always prepare their own way bill if they decide to accept the shippers B/L. This way there is no confusion about who is hauling the load and the carrier has allowed himself some protection in the event the shipper's B/L is incomplete or has terms in it that are unfavourable to the carrier. Having said all that, I heartily agree with Mike Jr. suggestions regarding the shippers responsibilities.
I've worked with Bourassa before and, like Meyers, Vitran and other common carriers, the billers are pretty linear when it comes to billing. Bills come in with driver envelope. If there's no carrier confirmation to be matched up, the biller looks at the BOL, says, "Yep, prepaid...no other special third party billing info..bills ahoy." Blindly will bill anything.
Now, if Bourassa had received a specific confirmation to not ever directly bill any party except the one who tendered the freight per the instructions and didn't follow that, this happens. I've seen Vitran ignore a broker provided BOL that spells out third party billing and use the shipper's BOL, resulting in bills like this or even holding freight because a consignee doesn't have an account...and then demanding COD!
The point is this: however it happened, it will continue to happen as long as billers continue to look at a BOL and do what they do. The only way to fix that is to instruct your shippers to physically write on the BOL "third party billing to...". We used to do that at Firm and it solved those situations where common carriers ignore carrier confirmations and broker BOL's. I realize this is too little too late but something to consider as it really does reduce the occurance of these situations.