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Making sure bills of lading and delivery receipts are clear and accurate is very important in ensuring proper charges are applied, especially in regard to accessorial charges. To help prevent erroneous accessorial charges, it is important that both shippers and consignees consider the following ideas. For shippers, general notes listed on bills of lading, such as “liftgate approved”, should be used with caution. The interpretation may differ depending on who reviews the note. For a shipper, the note implies “if” liftgate services are needed, the shipper has pre-approved this charge for billing. However, a carrier’s rate clerk could view this as a request for an accessorial service and apply the associated fee. Shippers should consider removing such notation or clarifying further. For consignees, the focus should be to ensure the delivery receipt is marked accurately at delivery. For instance, if an accessorial service—such as liftgate delivery—is performed, then the delivery receipt should be clearly marked, along with an initial or signature. If a service is not performed, yet listed on the delivery receipt, consignees should mark out the verbiage and note that the service was not performed. Furthermore, consignees can contact a shipper about a specific shipment in the case a service was to be performed and was not. Both shippers and consignees must work diligently to ensure that carriers have the most precise information available in order to bill correctly. A little upfront work can result in greater freight cost savings down the road!

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