skip to Main Content

Ask the Expert: How long do I have to file a claim?


How long do I have to file a claim, and how fast does the carrier have to pay me?


According to the Carmack Amendment, you have 9 months to file a claim, from the date that the shipment is delivered. For lost shipments, you have 9 months to file from the date that the shipment was reasonably expected to arrive.

For concealed damage, you have 5 days to file. (You can technically file a concealed damage claim later than this, but it becomes much, much more difficult because after the 5 days, the onus falls on you to prove that the damage did not happen after delivery.)

The carrier has 120 days to either pay or decline to pay your claim. They also must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 30 days.

Note that these dates apply to the United States, other countries will have different deadlines.

Disclaimer: The above information is not legal advice; neither CDS, Dick Lucarelli, nor TranSolutions Inc accept any liability for its content.

Ask the Expert: Can I Recover Freight Damages due to Irma & Harvey?

I have about $8,000 worth of paper products that sustained water damage during Hurricane Harvey. Is this claim recoverable? Won’t my carrier just deny it using the Act of God defense since it was damaged during the hurricane?

The Act of God defense doesn’t automatically absolve a carrier of all liability. This defense can only be used when there was nothing that the carrier could have reasonably done to prevent the damage.

Of course, it all depends on the circumstances of the claim. For example, let’s say your carrier decided to send your shipment into the path of a known hurricane. Instead, they should have chosen an alternate route or held it at the pickup terminal until the hurricane had passed. In this case, the Act of God defense is easy to disprove, because the carrier’s actions were negligent. However, suppose your product was already sitting in a Houston terminal. At some point the carrier would know that the terminal would flood – would that timeframe give the carrier ample time to move the products to a dryer city, or were they prevented by gridlock? This is where the Act of God defense is harder to refute.

However, even if your carrier has a valid Act of God defense, they’re still responsible for mitigating the loss once they become aware of the Act of God. Take the example of the flooded Houston terminal. Maybe heavy traffic prevented the carrier from moving your product to a different terminal. But in the terminal itself, was there free space on higher racking? Did your carrier move the products to all available top racks, or did they just leave everything on the floor? If they failed to take reasonable actions to mitigate the loss, your carrier would still be partially liable, and they would need to pay at least part of the claim.

Need help with a tough claim? Contact us here.

Disclaimer: The above information is not legal advice; neither Dick Lucarelli nor TranSolutions Inc accept any liability for its content.

Are You Ready for Dimensional Weight Pricing?


In January 2015, shipments in both Canada and the US will be subject to new dimensional weight pricing. The pricing change will affect bulky but lightweight packages. Traditionally, as long as these packages were shipped by ground, and had a volume of less than 3 feet cubed, these packages were only charged by weight. However, with dimensional weight pricing, the volume of the package will also be taken into consideration, with larger packages being charged at higher rates, regardless of their weight.

The price change will occur across the board, with carriers such as FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Canada Post implementing the new pricing methods.

This will be a drastic change, with shipping prices for small and bulky items expected to increase by 20 – 60%. Therefore, it’s time to change your shipping practices.

Here are some tips for reducing shipping costs under the new dimensional weight pricing.

Stock More Box Sizes

It has been typical for small businesses to only carry a few sizes of boxes. The extra cost for shipping and void filler has been so minor that it was far lower than the cost of ordering and managing extra box sizes. With dimensional weight pricing, the reverse is true. Now it makes sense to keep extra sizes of boxes in stock in order to avoid increased shipping charges.

Build on Demand Boxes

Simply stocking a few extra sizes of boxes is the simplest and easiest solution for many small businesses. However, depending on the amount of parcel shipping you do, it may make sense to custom build each box to fit each product being shipped. Companies like Box on Demand
and Packsize are making this possible with machines that make custom sized boxes in-house, as they are needed.

Split Up Packages

Under the new shipping fee structure, it may be cheaper to ship 2 smaller packages instead of one large one. Be sure to create a chart or spreadsheet, or invest in software to help you determine your most cost-effective shipping option.

Zone Skipping

Zone skipping allows shippers to reduce the cost of parcel shipping by shipping several parcels by the truckload (or even by LTL) for the first part of the journey, and then finishing the journey via parcel shipping. For example, if you were shipping from North Dakota to several Southern states, you could ship a truckload of packages to Texas, and from there, utilize a parcel service such as FedEx or UPS to ship the packages to their final destinations in Arizona, California, and Louisiana. This solution is only possible if you are shipping high volumes of products.

In Conclusion

Whatever strategy you use, make sure to keep an eye on your shipping methods and costs in the new year, or else you could see your extra shipping costs add up.

Back To Top