Concealed damage may be the most difficult type of freight claim to deal with. And in the event that your carrier pays your concealed damage claim at all, they will likely only pay a fraction of the usual claim value. Since concealed damage makes it difficult to prove if the damage was the fault of the shipper, carrier, or consignee, many carriers will only pay for one third of the value of the claim.
Of course, the simplest method for avoiding concealed damage is to inspect the shipment before signing the delivery receipt. However, unloading, unpacking, and inspecting every box of a shipment before letting the driver leave is not usually practical. It becomes even more difficult when the content is sensitive electronic equipment that may not show damage until it is tested.
Another method for reducing the risk of concealed damage claims is to use shipping & handling monitors to alert you of potential damage. Here are some of the benefits of using these monitors:
Rather than inspecting the contents of each package before signing off on the shipment, shipping & handling monitors allow you to simply check the status of the monitors. You can then sign the delivery receipt and unload your shipment with peace of mind knowing that your shipment has arrived undamaged.
Shipping & handling monitors typically include some type of warning sticker or label to indicate to the carrier that you are monitoring the handling of your freight. This ensures better treatment and more careful handling by carriers, reducing the risk of damage.
In the event that there is damage, shipping & handling monitors provide clear evidence to help back up your claim. The monitors will be highly useful if you need to take your claim to court. However, when carriers see that you have a good case, they will generally pay your claim without the need for lawsuit.
Many shipping & handling monitors even add time stamps to the traumatic events they are tracking, such as tilt or impact. This allows you to tie the damage to the correct party in the supply chain. No more reason for the carrier, shipper, and consignee to each be responsible for one third of the claim – now the responsible party can pay the entire claim.
While shipping & handling monitors will indicate potential damage, they cannot warn you if your shipment is short, so you will still need to count your pallets and packages. And of course, before using monitors, you need to consider the cost. Prices will range depending on the sophistication of the device. You will also want to consider if you should purchase a single use or re-useable monitor. When deciding if monitors are worth the cost, consider your freight damage rate, cost of replacement, and cost of the device. This will allow you to determine whether shipping & handling monitors will save or cost you money in the long run.