Received Damaged Freight? Here’s What to Do:

box damaged in transit

Example of a mishandled box with the chair legs poking through the bottom of the box.

So, your order looks damaged and you don’t know if you should refuse it, sign the Bill of Lading (BOL), or just wing it and hope for the best! Here we will go over what to do when your package or freight appears damaged, so you can safely receive your order and get replacement product quickly and easily (if necessary).


Almost all of our 3rd party trucking shipments arrive in great condition and with no damage, but it is important for you as the receiver to be aware of your responsibilities and what signing the BOL actually means.


It is important to use good judgment and be reasonable when inspecting your freight. If the shipment looks like it arrived in good condition, then you can accept the freight and sign the BOL. However, if there are obvious signs of damage and mishandling, this must be noted on the BOL before you sign off on your order.


This is for your protection, so you can file a claim on damaged products and get them replaced, if necessary. Signing the BOL without any notes of damage leaves you susceptible to not being able to prove that your freight was mishandled and delivered damaged. Which means you might not being able to get the carrier to cover the cost of the damaged goods.


Tips for Handling Obvious Signs of Freight Damage:

  1. If your order does not arrive on pallets this may mean that the third-party trucking company broke down the pallets to fit more cargo into their truck.  Taking apart the pallets can cause damage while shipping. If your order does not arrive on pallets you must note this on the BOL and check your chairs for damage before signing off on the delivery. (Keep in mind that if your chairs are being delivered in Vision Furniture Trucks they will be in shrink wrapped stacks, not pallets. This packing method is for shorter distances where packing on pallets is not necessary for safe transit.)
  2. Do NOT reject delivery if boxes appear damaged. Call us first at 215.695.3300 and let us know what condition your order is in. Most likely there are very few, if any damaged chairs and it will be easier to accept the delivery and note the damage on the BOL, than to reject the entire order. Then open any damaged cartons, inspect chairs for breakage, and note any problematic chairs or cushions on the BOL before signing off. Make sure you have a copy of the BOL where you can clearly read the notes on the damage. TAKE PHOTOS of any damaged pallets, boxes, cartons or products and send them to us via email. With the notes on the BOL and the photos of the damaged packaging/product a claim can be filed with the trucking company and we can quickly get any damaged or broken items replaced. If a delivery rejection is absolutely necessary, we can give you recommendations on how to do so.


pallets fall over when not properly strapped into truck

Pallets that were not properly strapped into the truck.

Please note: On rare occasion, damage to product does occur in transit and it is your responsibility to inspect the exterior packaging for damage, rips, tears and to check if the packaging has been broken from its original configuration BEFORE signing the BOL.


The driver cannot leave until you sign the Bill of Lading.


Please instruct your staff that if damage exists to the pallets this must be noted on the BOL. If broken product is obvious, then you should open the damaged pallet to find the damaged goods which also should be documented on the BOL.


FAILURE to notate damages on the BOL tells the freight company that you accept full responsibility for the freight and accept it as is and THEREFORE you waive your rights to any claim for freight damages. Therefore, please read our instructions for receiving freight so you are familiar with our packaging and pallet configurations. And if you are concerned that the freight is damaged, please call our company at 215.695.3300 and we will walk you through the steps.


If you would like more info or if you need to Request a Quote, call us at 215.695.3300 or Fill Out This Form.

Want More Details on How our Order Ship? Read More About Receiving Freight and Packages from Vision Furniture Here.

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