Since I started working at National Event Supply in 2010, we've shipped products across Canada and the United States. We've shipped tables and chairs to Nunavut in the North, and Aruba in the South. We've shipped dinnerware and cutlery to Vancouver, BC and St. John's Newfoundland. Most of the time, there are no problems. The products arrive on time, with no damage. On other occasions, products are lost or are damaged in transit.
When we find out that products are damaged in transit, we typically file a claim with the shipping company. As part of the claims process, the shipping company will refer to the bill of lading. If the customer has signed the bill of lading and has not indicated that there was any damage, the shipping company will typically deny the claim, as there was no damage indicated. This is why skids that ship from our warehouse in Toronto now have stickers on them that read "Inspect for Damage Before Accepting". But what should you be looking for?
4 Things to Look for Before Signing for your Order
Is the plastic skid wrap still intact?
National Event Supply wraps all skids in plastic wrap. For orders coming out of our Mississauga warehouse, we use a black wrap. Indianapolis and Vancouver both use clear wrap. The wrap should be tightly pulled around the products, and there should not be any tears or rips.
Is the pallet damaged?
If the pallet is falling apart or has noticeable damage, take a closer look at the whole skid. It could be that the skid was damaged while it was being loaded or unloaded at the shippers' depots.
Are there any dents or indentations on any of the boxes?
Take a look at the boxes on the skid. If there are holes or a corner is bashed in, then the skid may have been damaged in transit.
Is the skid leaning to one side, or does it look like it could topple over?
If the contents have shifted during shipping, there is a chance that the products within may be damaged.
What to Do if Your Order Arrives Damaged
If you discover that your order is potentially damaged in the course of your inspection, here is what you should do:
Take pictures of the damage while the driver is there. If you can take pictures of the skid on the truck that's even better.
This allows us to show the carrier that the product was damaged while they were responsible for it. It is important that the pictures of the skid are taken before the skid is broken down.
Write down on the Bill of Lading the exact damage that you have discovered and that you will be filing a claim
Be as specific as possible. If the corner is bashed in on the box that is third from the bottom, write that down. The more detail that we can give the shipping company claims department the better. Write down all the damage that you document with pictures.
Don't use the damaged product. Leave it in its box.
If the product is damaged, then you cannot use it. Let us know so that we can get replacement product out to you. Also, make sure that you keep the damaged product in its box at your facility so that if the claims adjuster wants to inspect it he can. If you return the product to us, the claims adjuster can dismiss the claim
Let us know and we will start the claims procedure.
The sooner you email or call us and let us know about the damage, the sooner we can get the ball rolling on the claims process. We'll need the photos that you have taken so we can give them to the shipping company and we'll need to know what happened when the shipping company arrived with your product.
As I wrote earlier, most of the time nothing goes wrong, the products arrive on time and in pristine condition. For those times that they don't however, it is important that you know what you're signing for. It's important to "Inspect for Damage Before Accepting".