As a reminder, the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) changed its guidelines regarding concealed damage claims. It reduced the amount of time in which LTL carriers should be notified of concealed damage from 15 days to 5.
This change went into effect on April 18, 2015. The result is that both LTL shippers and receivers now have only five (5) business days to provide verbal and written notification of any LTL concealed damages to the respective carrier, without additional substantiative burdens.
What is a Concealed Freight Damage Claim?
Concealed damage claims are typically filed when the damage or shortage was not immediately recognizable. The damage or loss is discovered after the delivery note has been signed and the driver has left the premise.
How can I prevent a Concealed Freight Damage Claim?
Customers should follow best receiving practices as outlined below:
- Count the number of pieces received and compare to the number of pieces listed on the delivery receipt and the number of pieces expected.
- Notate the number of pieces received on the delivery receipt.
- In the event of a shortage, clearly notate the shortage on the delivery receipt before returning a signed copy to the driver. Ask driver for an exception code if possible.
- Inspect the condition of the merchandise.
- Review the condition of pallet/skid.
- Ensure the integrity of the pallet/skid is intact including shrink wrap if applicable.
- Review the condition of individual packages.
- Ensure no individual packages are open.
- Ensure that packages are not dented or crushed.
- Review the condition of exposed merchandise.
- Ensure that merchandise is received in apparent good order.
- Ensure that any special instructions listed on the Bill of Lading or provided to the carrier were followed.
- Notate any abnormalities found in steps (3) a, b, c, & d on the delivery receipt before returning a signed copy to the driver.
*** Notating “Subject to Inspection” is not a valid exception notation. Ask driver for an exception code if possible.
What do I do if I have a concealed loss or damage claim?
- Notify the carrier within 5 days of delivery and request an inspection of the freight from the carrier.
- Hold all materials and packaging in the receiving location for the carrier’s inspection.
- If the carrier does not complete the inspection in 5 working days or the carrier waives their right to inspection in writing, the consignee’s inspection report will be recognized as verification of the damages by the carrier.
- Ensure only facts, no opinions, are listed on the inspection report.