Receiving Merchandise: A Simple How To

April 28, 2009
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Internet shopping has revolutionized the way companies do business. You can buy almost anything under the sun and have it shipped to your doorstep. It’s important to take a few precautionary steps when you do receive merchandise shipped via FedEx, UPS, and other freight carriers because some items will inevitably be damaged in transit. Below are some tips for receiving large equipment and smaller packages.

RECEIVING LARGE EQUIPMENT: Before you purchase your equipment ask the sales person if the freight carrier will call you before delivery so you’re present upon the arrival of your merchandise. It isn’t always a standard service so it’s good to ask just in case. Once your item or items arrive, look at the pallet or skid that’s attached to the bottom of your package. A good indicator of damage is a crushed pallet! Also, look at the shrink wrap or box surrounding the merchandise. If there are noticeable holes, rips, or tears then further inspection is a must. Don’t take up too much of the driver’s time but don’t let their schedule keep you from thoroughly inspecting your shipment; after all, you paid for it! If you have multiple items on one pallet make sure you accurately count everything to ensure you aren’t missing items. Visible damage, no matter how slight it may be, and missing merchandise are automatic grounds for refusal. Once you sign for a package “free and clear” without making note of damage or loss on the delivery receipt it’s up to you to file a concealed damage claim with the carrier. Unfortunately, you only have 15 days from the delivery date to file a concealed damage claim. Make sure you’re as specific as possible about notating damage on the delivery receipt. Once you’ve made note of damage or loss on the delivery receipt then you have nine months from the delivery date to file a freight claim with the carrier. Freight damage shouldn’t deter you from placing online orders but it’s something everyone needs to be aware of and prepared for.

RECEIVING SMALL PACKAGES: The most common problem with receiving small packages from FedEx, UPS, and USPS is not being available to inspect and sign for the package upon delivery. When you make an online purchase that requires delivery from a common carrier make sure you request a “signature required” service so you have the opportunity to inspect your package or packages. Requiring a signature upon delivery is especially important when you’re ordering fragile or expensive items. If you do receive a damaged package but you weren’t available to inspect it and sign for it, call the carrier and the shipper immediately and make them aware of the situation. No two companies or carriers will have the same solution to your problem. Shippers and carriers have a tendency to blame each other for damaged packages, so it might take a few phone calls before a resolution is clear. Hopefully, you’ll receive a call tag from the carrier at the request of the shipper to have the damaged merchandise picked up and sent back. Other times you’ll have to deal directly with the carrier to resolve the claim. The longer you wait to make a claim the less likely it will be resolved in your favor.

Shopping online is a fast, convenient, and often inexpensive way to make purchases. A few clicks of your mouse and your order is on its way! Unfortunately, shipping can lead to damages and the loss of valuable merchandise. Don’t let the risk of freight damage deter you from enjoying the convenience of eCommerce. Make sure you know the shipping policies of the companies you’re ordering from to avoid unnecessary headaches and confusion. It’s also a good idea to check the websites of carriers like FedEx and UPS so you’re aware of their responsibilities as well as yours. For more helpful information take a look at Mission Restaurant Supply’s shipping policies!

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