Making Up for Carrier''s Mistake

Making Up for Carrier''s Mistake

Copyright 2009, Traffic World, Inc.

Q:

Can you help with this? It''s an ongoing problem nationwide.

We are the consignee. We purchased product from a vendor inbound to my company on a "prepaid" basis as shown herein.

The vendor used a major LTL carrier and then went out of business and did not pay the carrier. Now the carrier is asking my company for the freight charges that the vendor was supposed to have paid.

Are we responsible for the freight charges for inbound "prepaid" shipments if a consignor does not want to pay as in this case? If so, what protection does a consignee have if all our "prepaid" vendors (thousands) decide not to pay?



A:

I almost gave you a quick private answer, since this is a question I''ve dealt with quite a few times before. But then I looked at the copies of the shipment documentation and associated internal correspondence at the carrier in question, which you kindly attached.

Somebody at this carrier is trying so hard to cover his or her own behind that he/she is verging on involving the carrier in outright fraud.

Let''s first get the legal answer out of the way. Yes, as consignee you can be held liable for freight charges when you accept delivery of the shipment, even if the shipment was represented as prepaid. See the legal text Corpus Juris Secundum, 13 C.J.S. Carriers