Shipping Damage - What to Do When A Product Is Damaged During Transportation?

Rail freight, Truck freight, Sea freight, Air freight, Insurance

You send your freight and find out at the point of arrival that transport damage occurred during shipment via freight forwarder. But what does that mean for you? What steps do you have to take and who assumes liability?

Transport Damage Insurance by Freightfinders

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What Is Transport Damage?

Es gibt viele Arten von Schäden, welche während des Transports passieren können. Selbst, wenn Ihre Ware zu spät am Wunschort ankommt, haben Sie theoretisch einen finanziellen Schaden erlitten. Doch als Transportschaden gilt in der Regel nur ein tatsächlicher Schaden an der Fracht. Dabei kann es sich um Dellen, Bruchschäden oder auch verdorbene, nicht fachgemäß gekühlte Ware handeln.
Es gilt hier jedoch zwischen zwei Optionen zu unterscheiden. Es gibt den sogenannten den „offener Transportschaden“ und den „verdeckten Transportschaden“.

Open Freight Damage

As the name suggests, obvious transport damage is damage that is directly recognisable. Be it that the container or the packaging is damaged, or even that the freight itself has suffered unmistakable damage.

Concealed Freight Damage

Concealed transport damage usually presents customers with a more serious problem. This is because it is usually not immediately recognised that there is any damage at all, as this transport damage is "concealed". This means that the customer usually only notices it much later and after accepting the damaged goods. As a result, the transport damage cannot be claimed immediately and the damage cannot be recorded for the burden of proof.

The 4 Most Common Reasons for Freight Damage?

There are countless things that can happen to your freight. Most often, however, they are errors that occur due to improper handling and thus lead to transport damage. But which errors are responsible for this?

  • Accidents during handling
  • Wrong temperature
  • Improper loading restraint
  • Improper packaging

Delivery Damage – Who Will Assume Liability When Freight Is Damaged During Transport?

A topic that is always important in the case of transport damage is liability. Who takes over when or does my company have to bear the costs? In B2C business and the so-called purchase of consumer goods, the seller is usually always obliged to assume liability.
There are several ways in which transport damage is regulated in trade between two companies. Who actually assumes liability is enshrined in law, but can also be determined by other options.

  • Liability is transferred from the seller to the forwarding agent/carrier in accordance with BGB §447.
  • Sections 425, 426, 427 of the HGB describe who assumes liability during transport. Here it is particularly important where the damage occurred and who is responsible for it.
  • Incoterms and contractual agreements are one form of clarifying the question of liability.
  • The ADPS can also be contractually stipulated in the case of culpability for transport damage.

The most important point here is to clearly establish with the buyer/seller which specifications you will follow. This saves unnecessary complications and an expensive legal dispute.

You want to know more about the Incoterms? Then take a look at our article on Incoterms 2020!

What to Do When Shipping Damage Occurs

The damage has happened, but what to do now? It is especially important to document everything and be very thorough. This is the only way to avoid additional costs.
Follow the steps below in case of transport damage!

  • You should immediately report any open damage to the carrier, in writing and ideally also document it with photos in the carrier's presence. If the carrier does not follow this procedure, do not accept the goods if necessary.
  • To be sure that it is not a case of concealed damage, you should open and check the goods immediately.
  • If you discover any concealed transport damage, report this to the supplier without delay.
  • Leave the delivery in the condition received and document accurately.
  • Do not send the freight back without a response from the freight forwarder.

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