Finding ways to reduce concealed damage is a major source of frustration for customers and shippers alike. It can easily bring about a plethora of issues such as angry customers, profit loss, service disruptions, and problems fulfilling future orders.
Filing a concealed damage freight claim may cover the cost of some of those damaged goods. However, there are also multiple ancillary costs associated with concealed damage claims. And these costs go much further than merely a financial impact.
But concealed freight damage is not some elusive thing that lies just outside a shippers control. On the contrary, there are multiple methods many proactive shippers employ to reduce the potential of damage occurring during transit.
To help you through this often too stressful process, we’ve outlined 3 important steps that all shippers should follow. These tips may seem simple, but the effect they have is profound. Follow these 3 tips if you want to reduce the potential of freight damage and eliminate the need to file those frustrating concealed damage freight claims.
How Does Concealed Damage Occur?
Concealed damage is any damage that your freight suffered in transit but not documented on the invoice or POD (proof of delivery). Most of the time, the damage happens while the freight is in transit. This type of damage is usually due to shifting or poor packaging and stacking.
Ideally, when damage occurs en route it is documented by the driver and covered by the shipper’s insurance. It is when the damage is not documented that it becomes "concealed damage". Most of the time, concealed damage is the result of an accident.
However, there are times when a carrier may try to cover up the damage intentionally. This is usually out of fear of repercussions. If it is determined that it was intentionally concealed, it can carry a whole slew of ramifications with it.
So, how does a shipper reduce concealed damage?
Here are a few of the best ways...
Improve Your Freight Packing Process
Obviously, the best way to reduce concealed freight damage in the first place is to secure your shipments better. Most freight damage occurs due to commodities shifting around during transit. This can be directly attributed to boxes or commodities on pallets or skids that are not fully secure.
Simple measures such as correctly palletizing products (check out the Safe Stack system) go a long way. Using high-quality shrink wrap is another proactive step that many shippers tend to overlook.
Contact the Carrier Immediately Upon the Discovery of Damage
As soon as you or your customer discovers there is damage to the freight, contact the carrier immediately. When there has been no damage cited on the POD, it is the responsibility of the shipper to establish contact and discuss the matter.
However, every company has different or unique processes for accepting concealed damage freight claims.
As such, it is always a good idea to ask them about their concealed damage freight claim process before sending out the shipment. If you work with a 3PL or freight forwarding company, contact them first and have them handle the situation.
Document the Damage and Take Several Pictures or Video
Most carriers want you to prove that they were the ones responsible for the damage. This is a fair request and you should immediately take as many pictures as possible. By doing so, you leave no room for doubt about whether the freight was damaged before or after delivery.
Send these Instructions to ALL Customers or Anyone Receiving Your Products
The best way to reduce concealed damage is to keep your customers informed of these procedures so that you can resolve these situations properly together. Documenting the facts about your concealed damage is the key to getting your claim processed sooner rather than later.
Working with a 3PL is a great way to reduce the stress of these situations. Of course, we recommend that you reach out to a proven 3PL like Redwood Logistics.