How to manage the weight adjustment process.
November 2, 2015
Though we provide the most accurate information possible on the bill of lading (BOL), freight shipping adjustments happen on occasion.
A freight shipping adjustment occurs when the carrier corrects shipment specifications, resulting in additional charges due to the inaccurate information. Freight shipping adjustments most commonly are a result of:
- Oversize shipments
- Lift-gate requirements
- Limited delivery access
- Residential vs. business locations
- Bill of lading changes
Ensure an accurate BOL.
Weight disputes are some of the most difficult adjustments to get corrected. Before shipping, verify the shipper did in fact weigh the freight as packaged for shipment. This will help ensure the BOL is accurate and if faced with adjustments, you can show the weight variance is inaccurate.
When a carrier weighs a shipment, they complete a Weight Inspection Certificate, commonly called a WIC. This is the official document of the weight of the shipment in transit and the basis of any weight adjustment.
Tip: If disputing an adjustment, request a copy of the WIC to see what the weight is recorded at on the document.
Weigh shipments by pallet.
It’s common for shippers to calculate weight by weighing one item on the pallet and multiplying that weight by the number of items to determine the total weight of shipment.
Be aware, this is not a foolproof method of determining freight weight and it leaves you vulnerable because you don’t have a recorded weight of the items as prepared to ship. If the only party to weigh the freight “as shipped” is the carrier, it’s nearly impossible to convince them of an error because your weight calculation was not “as shipped.”
If you feel you did provide an accurate weight, you first must provide an invoice or packaging slip, proving that the freight that was shipped was the freight listed on the BOL, as noted above.
Print your documents.
Next, you’ll need to prove the weight of the shipment. You may be able to prove it with certain pre-printed documents including manufacturer specifications, catalogs, or potentially web page showing weight of the item. Using one of these documents to show the weight of your item can possibly help you resolve your dispute favorably.
Not all documents are considered acceptable forms for determining the weight of a shipment. The following are examples of documents that carriers will not accept as proof of weight, but by no means is this a comprehensive list:
- Copies of past Bill of Ladings
- Prior delivery receipts
- Any documentation of other shipments
- Import documents
- Hand-written documents
- Documentation typed on letterhead or a fax cover sheet
- Emails (including emails from the manufacturer)
- Weight listed on invoice to customers.
Handling a dispute.
If you do have a weight dispute, look to Freightquote’s in-house disputes team to help you manage the process with the carrier. We can help you identify the information you will need and hopefully get your issues taken care of.
All of that being said, the best way to manage weight disputes is to avoid them all together. Make absolutely sure that the height, weight and class of your shipment is as accurate as possible on the BOL.
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