Your freight company will claim immediately that they are ‘Common Carriers’ and that they are not responsible for the condition of the goods when getting your goods from A to B. But what happens when they arrive in less than perfect condition? Damaged goods can create massive headaches for you, impact your business bottom line and cause rifts with your service provider, especially when it comes to deciding who is financially responsible for the damage.

It makes common sense that if your delivery was signed over to the freight company, inspected and the quantity and condition of the goods was verified at that time, that you should be able to claim for the costs from your freight company. The question of who is responsible for damaged goods should be something you discuss upfront and get clearly communicated in writing whenever you sign on with a new freight service. Dependent upon your freight expenditure and company size, you may get a credit for the goods or the cost of the actual connote at least.

Unfortunately, claiming back your costs from your freight company can be a lengthy and stressful process, and many freight companies may try to place the responsibility on you by claiming that your packaging was inadequate or the goods were already damaged before they were signed over.

If you want to avoid a drawn out battle with your freight company over your damaged goods, here are a few tips:

• Get an agreement in writing stating who is responsible for your consignment at different stages.
• Make sure that when you hand over a delivery, it’s inspected by the freight company and they sign to say that the goods are intact.
• Ensure you follow best practices when it comes to packaging your goods, especially if they contain anything delicate or breakable. Don’t forget that your goods may be sitting outside in direct sunlight for lengthy periods of time and protect temperature sensitive goods appropriately.
• Ask your freight provider what policies and systems they have in place to ensure the quality of their deliveries. There are industry wide stacking and palletising procedures that are designed to ensure the chance of breakages and damages are limited. Make sure your provider is using these procedures, and their employees are adequately trained.

If your goods are constantly arriving at their destination with damage this could be due to the way they’re being treated during the transportation process. If you regularly transport delicate or sensitive goods that are prone to damage you will need to take extra care when choosing your freight service to ensure they take all reasonable precautions to ensure your delivery arrives in perfect condition.