Always inspect the product you are receiving prior to signing the delivery receipt.

Remember that failure to note obvious damage at the time of delivery will guarantee a declination by the carrier of any claim arising from that damage.

Inspect each piece or pallet looking for evidence of damage or pilferage to the product. Crushed, torn, punctured, broken, wet, or rattling packages on pallets are an indication that interior damage may exist.

The delivery receipt, which should be co-signed by the driver, should contain factual and precise notations concerning exceptions. If a box is broken, say so. Don’t merely say “damaged.” Use descriptive terms that report THE FACTS! For example, if a leaky drum is “defective,” as distinguished from being “damaged by rough handling,” take an exception by writing “defective drum, leaking at bottom rim,” or “cover loose,” drums dented, cracked and leaking on side,” etc.

Always state the location of the damage, and describe in detail the nature and extent of damage. Identify the precise part or piece damaged and indicate its location in relation to other parts of the shipment (last row, right side, top layer wet, etc.)

Examples of types of damage incurred in transit are:

  • Banding damage
  • Bent
  • Broken
  • Bruised
  • Burned
  • Chafed
  • Clamp truck damage
  • Collapsed
  • Contaminated
  • Creased
  • Crimped
  • Crushed
  • Cut
  • Decomposed
  • Delaminated
  • Dented
  • Dirty
  • Discolored
  • Dissolved
  • Flat roll
  • Flattened
  • Foot marks
  • Forklift damage
  • Frozen
  • Gouged
  • Holes
  • Infested
  • Melted
  • Mildewed
  • Nail Damage
  • Odorous
  • Oil saturated
  • Oily
  • Out-of-round
  • Pierced
  • Pitted
  • Punctured
  • Rattling
  • Ripped
  • Rotten
  • Rusted
  • Shattered
  • Shrinking
  • Soiled
  • Soot-covered
  • Stained
  • Starred
  • Swollen
  • Telescoped
  • Thawed
  • Tire marks
  • Torn
  • Unraveled
  • Water damaged or wet

It is suggested that an inspection form be created to help the receiver look for problems that are usually encountered in transit with your specific products. This form should include a check list for the items you wish the receiver to report on the delivery receipt. As an example:

  • On metal products, the inspection report should have check boxes for reporting rust, dents, moisture, bent corners, torn protective wrapping, etc.
  • On refrigerated perishables, the report should have check boxes for recording both the temperature and condition of product in several portions of the vehicle. The condition of the refrigeration devices should also be recorded. In addition, the report should have a space for quality control personnel to report their findings.

Write complete description on material as shown in the following example:

Item Example of Entry
Date Received 12/12/94
Net Weight 10,124 lbs. .94
Purchase Order Number P.O. 82654
Or Customer Material (name) Cust. Mat. Joe’s Co
Material Type T-304 #4 polish
Heat Number Ht-213213
85 51.90
92.5 55.89
100 60.27


Record all exact measurements, weights, and the condition of the material on the Receiving Report.

    ” Concealed damage” is when a shipment is delivered in apparent good order. The delivery record reports no damage at the time of delivery, and the consignee subsequently discovers damage.Sound receiving and inspection practices will substantially reduce the possibility of a concealed damage claim. When they do occur, however, they present the problem of establishing that the carrier is liable for the damage to the product and ultimately, getting a motor carrier to pay a cargo claim will be difficult.Make a concerted effort to open ALL the shipments you receive as soon as possible. All concealed damages must be reported to the carrier within 5 days of delivery. Remember, the presumption is that you caused the damage if it is not reported to the carrier within this time frame. When damage is discovered, stop unpacking the shipment and call the carrier immediately.Giving the carrier an opportunity to see the damaged goods exactly as you have discovered them in the original container and packaging can greatly improve your chances of recovery. Take pictures of the damage and the related materials and fax it to the carrier immediately.Confirm your request for an inspection in writing! A telephone call is fast and simple, but provides no record of notification. Therefore, confirm the request in writing.

Insist on more careful inspections by your receiving personnel of each piece on delivery. Listen for rattling, loose articles, etc. Insist on opening any package with evidence of damage in the drivers’ presence.

Carriers will generally not allow you to open each piece of a shipment at the time of delivery, however, when damage is suspected because of visible evidence, you should make sure to open those packages so that the driver can record the information on the delivery receipt. Call the delivering carriers local terminal manager if the driver refuses to permit you from opening damaged shipments under these circumstances.

    First, verify that the shipment being delivered is yours by reviewing the bill of lading or delivery receipt and by inspecting the packages. Note the number of packages and the weight of the product.Visually inspect the shipment before unloading!Photographs should always be taken at the first sign of visible damage before proceeding to receive the delivery. Leave all straps, wood, or wrappings intact and try not to move any damaged item unless absolutely necessary. This is the best way to avoid a dispute over who is responsible for the damage that has been incurred to a particular shipment.After inspecting the shipment with the driver and noting the condition of the load on the delivery receipt, unload the items and visually inspect all sides of the vehicle. Look for defects in the vehicle performing the delivery, such as holes in the ceiling, walls, or floor, cracked door seals, broken floor boards, wet sports or stains, contamination in cracks, patch jobs, flat tires, etc. and make sure to take pictures and to note your findings on the delivery receipt.

When sheet material is delivered, pay special attention to edges, corners, top, and bottom sheets! Make a notation if any item is wet, rusty, egg-shaped, telescoped, etc.

Any damage or adverse condition must be noted on Delivery Receipt and verified by driver and receiver signature!

Count the number of pieces received and compare your count with the number of pieces noted on the receiving document. Then, record the actual number of pieces received on the trucker’s delivery receipt and sign and date the document. Where there is evidence of pilferage, a joint inventory must be taken with the driver present and the results listed on the delivery receipt.

All the preceding steps must be taken and any Damage or Condition noted before signing the delivery receipt.

The delivery receipt serves as the carrier’s primary control document.

The delivery receipt will be the primary document in establishing carrier liability in the claim process and should not be regarded lightly. The information you insert on the delivery receipt should merely be a report of the facts, not conclusion of law. Do not give opinions as to the possible causes of the damage. That is the responsibility of the claims investigators.

After delivery, open your packages as soon as possible and conduct a more complete and thorough inspection of the goods. This should be accomplished within 5 days of the delivery, if possible.

Carriers have an arbitrary rule which creates a presumption that if a damage is not reported to them within 5 days of the delivery, then the damage must have occurred while the shipment was in your possession and not theirs.

Locate the packing list and product tags. Count all the items and be certain they conform to the shipping document. Are they the same identical model numbers, color size, length and width, etc.? If not, itemize the items received in error, and those that are correct, on the delivery receipt.

Remove the packaging or wrappings and visually inspect for quality (i.e. surface condition, finish, rust, moisture, etc.) and for concealed damage (see above). If damage is found, save the wrappings to prove that it was concealed.

If you have any questions, please make sure to contact your Diversified Transportation Services sales professional.