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Avoiding Billing Adjustments: Pt 5

April 26, 2022 by FreightCenter
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So far in our series, Keys to Shipping Happiness, we’ve dug deep into ways that you can improve you shipping and become a happier shipper. Paying close attention to weights and measures, freight class, and packaging have proven to be the catalyst in improving your overall shipping process. Saving money is a top priority for all shippers. Avoiding billing adjustments is the easiest way to save when shipping. Before we get into the details of easily avoidable billing adjustments, let’s discuss who is responsible for issuing them and why they do so.

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The Carrier Issues Billing Adjustments, Not FreightCenter

As a shipper, receiving a billing adjustment after your freight has shipped is a nuisance. You thought you’d paid the full bill when you booked your shipment. Now, it seems you did not. How did that happen? Billing adjustments result from missed details during the booking process. It is the customer’s responsibility to answer all questions from FreightCenter shipping agents correctly in order to avoid any billing adjustments after the fact. FreightCenter is a third-party logistics (3PL) provider and never physically handles any shipment. For this reason, the information in the bill of lading (BOL) is provided exclusively by our customers. When shippers give us the wrong information, we have no way of knowing. Eventually, the carrier informs us by way of a billing adjustment. As the middleman, FreightCenter bills the customer for the billing adjustment and pays the carrier on the customer’s behalf.

How to avoid billing adjustments when shipping freight.

Common Billing Adjustments that are Easy to Avoid

While reviewing some of our customers’ most recent billing adjustments, we found that many were due to a wide variety of reasons beyond weight and freight class. In many cases, these billing adjustments would have been possible by thoroughly examining shipments before pickup.

Avoid Billing Adjustments with Inside Pickup/Delivery

Shipping freight is a commercial enterprise. Freight is intended to be picked up from a loading dock and delivered to a loading dock. No loading dock? Freight is then picked up from the curb and delivered to the curb. In other words, if there is no loading dock, the driver’s responsibility ends at the curb. Drivers will not always pick up if the package is in your driveway or the front of your store. If the driver agrees to move it, there will be a billing adjustment for inside pickup. This is the same for delivery.

Do note that not all carrier services will offer free volunteer service. Drivers may ask whether you’d like to have the package picked up from your garage, rather than left on the curb. The driver is not volunteering to do it for free. By accepting the driver’s offer, you will be liable for any billing adjustments for inside pickup.

If you can’t get your freight to or from the curb on your own, have no fear. Avoiding billing adjustments is possible by requesting inside pickup/delivery when booking your shipment.

Liftgate at Pickup/Delivery

You should add the liftgate requirement when you book your shipment. If you do not, you will receive a billing adjustment.

A liftgate is a hydraulic platform that lowers heavy freight from the truck to the ground, making it possible for one person to load or unload without assistance. How do you know if you need a liftgate? Easy! If the shipment weighs more than you can lift into the back of a semi-truck, it will require a liftgate. Sometimes carriers will deliver using a truck with a liftgate even if there is no request for one. You may believe you’ve lucked out of a billing adjustment. But not so fast. Billing adjustments will still occur if it turns out that the liftgate is necessary for the pickup/delivery. Remember, there are no free carrier services. Determine your need for a liftgate at pickup and delivery. Book it ahead of time to save money and aggravation.

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Residential or Limited Access Pickup/Delivery

Commercial locations are easy to access and have loading docks. Every other type of location is either residential or limited access.

Home-based businesses are residential, despite what many may think.

Limited access locations are locations that put restrictions on how and when trucks can enter the area. Examples include:

  • Airports
  • Construction sites
  • Churches
  • Government
  • Facilities
  • Mini-storage facilities
  • Farms
  • Hotels/Motels
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Military installations
  • Prisons
  • Schools

It is up to the customer to notify the carrier whether the pickup or delivery location is commercial, residential or limited access. Failure to do so can lead to a pricy billing adjustment. Learn more about accessorials and optional shipping services.

Avoiding Billing Adjustments in 30 Minutes or Less

The process of avoiding billing adjustments can be as easy as selecting the appropriate accessorial charges when booking your shipment. Determining which accessorials you’ll need should take you no more than 30 minutes, tops. Just review the accessorial charges and do a little research about the pickup and delivery locations. If you are unsure about the delivery location, call and ask. Then, when you run your instant freight quote, you can select which ones you need.

A Case of Shippers Whoopsies!

Three common types of billing adjustments that can occur when customers don’t pay enough attention to the details include:

Redelivery Fee and Appointment Fee

These fees are typically an adjustment of $140 or more and occur when the consignee (recipient) is not available to take delivery of the shipment when the driver arrives. In addition, it could also mean that the driver arrived for the pickup to find a loading dock full of packages but had no way to tell which items were scheduled for pickup. In either case, the driver has no option but to leave and try again the next day, thereby triggering a billing adjustment.

Mishaps like this occur due to a lack of information. Providing FreightCenter with complete details can help customers avoid these pesky fees.

  • Tell your shipping agent about any reference number (such as an RA number) associated with the freight. This will help the driver easily identify the package in need of pickup. Any identifying factor will help.
  • Sometimes people forget that their loading dock is not open at the same hours as the business. Be sure to let us know if availability at the pickup and/or delivery location is different from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Always be specific about times and days.

Handling Unit Not Labeled

You did a great job packaging your shipment, but you forgot to attach the shipping labels FreightCenter emailed you along with your BOL and Terms and Conditions. This will end up costing you $80 or more because that is how much the carrier will charge to create and affix accurate shipping labels from the information on the BOL. How can you solve this problem? When you receive your email from FreightCenter with your paperwork, add all shipping labels to your shipment.

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FreightCenter-Provided BOL Not Given to Driver

When the shipper doesn’t provide the driver with the BOL provided by FreightCenter, all hell breaks loose.

Some drivers will just leave if there is no paperwork. Some drivers will hand the shipper a BOL to complete, but either the consignor (shipper) or consignee (recipient) will be the billed party and your FreightCenter discount will not be included. Plus, the carrier will assign a freight class to the shipment (usually 175) regardless of what the actual freight class is. This can lead to even more chaos for your shipment. To get all this straightened out, FreightCenter needs to jump in and issue a Letter of Authorization (LOA) requesting that the carrier bill FreightCenter at the originally contracted rate. This needs to happen before the delivery of the shipment. Then, someone (consignor or consignee) will pay the carrier the full price they’ve quoted.

Moral of the Story

Getting the overpayment back isn’t easy once the carrier has received more than they would have from FreightCenter. No matter how you resolve all of this, there will still be extra charges to pay. All due to failing to hand the driver the paperwork you received. It’s hard to believe that this ever happens, but it does. Always make sure you have the BOL when the driver comes to pick up your shipment.

Keep Shipping Successful & Simple

By avoiding billing adjustments, shippers can rejoice in knowing they kept their costs as low as possible, Additionally, you’ll improve your shipping success and be one step closer to becoming a happy shipper. Ready to go with your next LTL shipment? Get an instant freight quote or call one of our shipping experts at 8007167608.

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