Time critical guaranteed delivery service can be an invaluable tool for shippers. Guaranteed service offered through a motor carrier allows a shipper to dispatch freight to a customer who is in need of product quickly and provides a less costly alternative to air freight. Most major LTL carriers offer some type of program for time critical shipments; often, the shipper may choose between morning or afternoon delivery or a specific delivery date or window of dates. Typically, LTL guaranteed delivery service fees are calculated based on a percentage of the linehaul rate, but they may also be a flat fee on top of the regular linehaul rates. But is a shipper responsible for these fees when the delivery is not made by the requested time? That depends.
There are numerous factors which may contribute to a delivery delay. In order to determine if a shipper is still responsible for the extra fee with a delivery service failure, it must first be determined whether or not the delay was the fault of the carrier. If the carrier is given an incorrect delivery address or incorrect business hours, if the unloading process takes longer than anticipated for reasons beyond the carrier’s control or if there is a customs delay, the carrier will typically not be held responsible. In any of these cases, the shipper will usually have to pay the service fee, even though the product was not delivered by the date or time requested. However, if the driver arrives to the consignee location late for reasons that are beyond the shipper or consignee’s control, the guaranteed service fees often may be recouped.
Carriers frequently advertise time critical services as “100% satisfaction guaranteed”; however, there are always caveats to this type of claim. LTL rules tariffs contain specific information regarding refunds for delivery service failures. Carriers often handle this type of overcharge differently than a typical rate error. For instance, a carrier’s tariff may require that a claim be filed within as brief a time period as 15 days, rather than the 180 day typical overcharge claims time window. This makes prompt discovery and filing of delivery service failures particularly urgent.
AMTR understands the importance of timely handling of time critical freight bills. Let us audit your invoices today and we will work to discover delivery service failures, recover the overcharges, and educate you on ways you may protect your company from these erroneous fees in the future.