Carriers have the right to inspect damaged material for which they are held liable. Once the inspection is requested, the carrier has five working days to perform the inspection. Two copies of the inspection report should be filled out and signed by you and the carrier representative. Before signing this report, read it carefully for any missing facts in your favor and make sure the report is factual and avoids expression of opinion and drawing unjust conclusions. One copy will be given to you. Inspection reports are not claims. You must still file a proper claim of which the inspection report is a part. The carrier has the option to exercise or waive the right of inspection. If the carrier does not wish to perform an inspection, they must give you written notification. If the carrier waives an inspection, it will not affect any claim against the carrier. You should perform your own inspection and forward the details to the carrier as soon as possible. Photographs of damaged materials and packaging should be taken when possible. Remember, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
Prepare and file the claim using a form provided by the carrier (see link to carrier web pages) within the period of Statute of Limitations. This form will constitute a demand for payment, which is vital in filing a claim. Other necessary documents for claim filing are:
- Original freight bill
- Original bill of lading or copy thereof
- Original invoice or copy thereof
- Delivery receipt (copy of freight bill) shows loss and damage notation and driver's signature.
- Carrier's copy of inspection report (for claims involving damage or concealed loss or damage).
- Photographs (if possible)
- Itemized statement or invoice covering repairs to damaged material. List material, labor and overhead costs separately. Material costs must be broken down in detail relative to number of pieces and cost per piece. Cost of labor must show number of hours and rate per hour. A realistic figure should also be included for overhead. (This invoice required on damage claims only.)
- Salvage receipt (when salvage is involved).
There may be a situation when it is impossible to file a claim within the Statute of Limitations due to the fact that all necessary repair costs and documents are not available within this period. In this event, you must file a claim with the carrier before the Statute of Limitations expires and state on your claim, “Estimated damage at (number of dollars)", actual costs and documents to follow. This type of claim is legal and protects you from your claim being disallowed under the Statute of Limitations.
When calling the carrier with an inspection request concerning loss or damage, be prepared to give the specifics of the situation:
- Your Name
- Your company's name
- Your address
- Your phone number
- Carrier's freight bill number
- Date delivered
- Shipper and point of origin
- Commodity damaged or lost
- Value of loss or damage or good estimate thereof
Explain why you are requesting an inspection. Be sure to obtain the name of the person to whom you are speaking and make a note of the call for your records. Briefly follow up your verbal notification in writing.
If a shipment is not totally destroyed or worthless, it is your legal obligation to accept it. You must use every reasonable and available means to save the material and minimize the loss. You cannot refuse to accept a damaged shipment when the carrier attempts delivery unless the material is totally destroyed or worthless. Acceptance of damaged material will not jeopardize any claim your company may file against the carrier. However, you must note the damage or loss on the delivery receipt and ask the driver to sign these exceptions. If the shipment is damaged to the extent that it is "practically worthless" (considering the cost of repair or salvage), you are justified in rejecting the entire shipment and holding the carrier liable for the loss.
Depending on the mode of transportation, there are different carrier liabilities and statute of limitations that apply. Refer to individual carrier’s policies to determine their respective statute of limitations. A specific carrier’s policy can be found on their web site or by contacting the company directly. In general, air shipments are governed by the carrier's terms and conditions of contract, which can provide only limited liability. Prior to the ICC Termination Act (effective 1/1/96) less than truckload (LTL) motor carriers provided full value protection. With the passage of this Act, motor carriers can limit their cargo liability.
Claims should be filed as soon as possible while they are fresh in everyone's mind. Claims involving motor carrier loss and damage must be filed within nine months after delivery, or in case of non-delivery, within nine months after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed. For motor carrier concealed loss or damage, the carrier must be notified within fifteen days after delivery.
Some examples of what to check for:
- apparent damage
- concealed damage
One of the most important factors in claims resolution is whether a thorough inspection of shipments received was made before the delivery receipt was signed. Make sure before signing the carrier's delivery receipt that you have the correct number of cartons, pallets, crates, and pieces. If the shipment is short, write a note on the delivery receipt and have the driver sign it. Be specific in noting exceptions: do not just mark the bill "short". Try to determine what is missing and the corresponding weight if possible. For example, "one pallet with four transmissions, weighing 2800 pounds." Also, if a shipment has special markings such as, "top side up" and upon delivery the carton or crate has been laid down, take time to open the carton or crate to visually check the contents for concealed damage before signing the delivery receipt. If the driver refuses to sign the exception, you should make a notation on all documents before signing.
On shipments to your company from a supplier or from your company to a customer, the decision as to who should file a claim depends generally upon who has title to the material in question and not upon the method of payment of freight charges. Unless indicated otherwise noted in the terms of purchase or sale, passage of title and responsibility for insurance usually is determined by the F.O.B. (Free On Board) point as specified on the purchase or sales order.
- Shipment from a supplier to your company
F.O.B. Origin - You file claim
F.O.B. Destination - Supplier files claim
- Shipment from your company to a customer
F.O.B Origin - Customer files claim
F.O.B Destination – You file claim
Warranty & Returns FAQs
If this is an ongoing problem, it is very likely that you are not including pricing on your fax order. When an order is received with no pricing, the customer support center accepts the Vista authorized price. To prevent unnecessary billing claims include all pricing on fax orders.
Contact CORE at 1-800-410-2910.
CORE is our center of return excellence. CORE manages Eaton’s Cutler-Hammer return authorizations, inspects materials, applies commercial return policy in reconciling returns, and orders replacement products as well as enters returns for non-vistaline distributors. CORE can be contacted via phone at 1-800-410-2910 or by fax at 1-888-225-9805.
Report all incorrect or short shipments for standard component products to the customer support center. The shortage will be verified and replacements added to your order if applicable. A proof of delivery will be provided if product has been received. A pre-approval will be noted on the order for a deduction to be taken if shortage is verified.