How to Avoid Rejected Freight
Let's face it: no one likes rejection. Whether in your business or personal life, being rejected is never fun. And your freight feels the same way! Every time freight is shipped, there's a possibility that the consignee (receiver) will reject it.
Fortunately, there are some ways for smart businesses to be proactive against their freight being refused, and also ways to minimize effort and expense if their freight is rejected.
Let's take a look at the most common reasons freight is rejected, how to minimize the risk of rejection, and what you should do if your freight is refused.
Common reasons for rejected freight and how to avoid them
Reason: An inaccurate bill of lading (BOL)
Receivers check the BOL to ensure that everything is accurate, including the purchase order number, case count, weight, etc. Any discrepancies are cause for rejection.
How to avoid it: Take a few extra minutes to make sure all information on the BOL is entered correctly. A little extra care goes a long way toward avoiding rejected freight. Check out our article on inaccurate BOLs and how they can affect your shipment.
Reason: Damage due to improper packaging, shifting pallets or accidents
Insufficient padding and packaging, poor pallet stacking, and wrong or missing labels are common causes of damage.
How to avoid it: Use the right materials (as well as the right amount) to protect packages. Carefully stack boxes on pallets, distributing weight as evenly as possible and minimizing overhang. Label each box in a shipment individually (1 of 3, 2 of 3, etc.) in case a label is lost. See our freight packaging guide for more tips.
Reason: Compromised perishables
Temperature-sensitive items that do not arrive unspoiled may be rejected by the recipient.
How to avoid it: Speedy shipping is one of the best ways to keep perishables from spoiling. Adding extra packaging to minimize shifting during transit and adding insulation and cooling packs if needed will also help minimize the chances of a spoiled shipment. Learn more about shipping perishable goods.
Reason: Late or unscheduled delivery
A shipment that arrives after the agreed-upon timeframe is subject to refusal.
How to avoid it: Many customers operate on very tight schedules and won't make exceptions for late deliveries. For especially time-critical shipments, consider using a faster freight shipping speed or shipping the items a day or two early, if you can.
Reason: Incorrect products
This one is pretty self-explanatory: if the customer receives an item they were not expecting, they will likely reject it.
How to avoid it: Proper procedures in your fulfillment/shipping department, smart SKU management, and overall improved inventory control will minimize the chances that the wrong product is shipped to a customer.
What to do if your freight is rejected
Sometimes, despite all your best efforts, you may still have rejected shipments. Often accompanying rejected freight are dissatisfied customers and financial loss.
If the rejection was caused on your end, immediately reaching out to the affected customer and apologizing will go a long way. Sharing with them your determination to make the situation right and ensure that it never happens again can help restore lost trust and confidence. Constant communication throughout the process and ensuring that the situation is fully resolved will usually close the rejection loop and result in a positive outcome and a retained customer.
If the shipment was rejected due to an issue you believe to be the carrier's fault, you may have a basis for a freight claim. Consult our claims guide for details on the basics of determining if a claim is needed and how to begin the process.
You have a 3PL partner the entire process
Worldwide Express can be your ally in all things freight shipping, including helping your business avoid as many rejected shipments as possible. Additionally, if you do have to deal with rejected freight and the claims process, Worldwide Express will be at your side every step of the way. Get started with a custom shipping consultation today!