What is The Bill Of Lading And How To Deal With It?
The bill of lading is a document issued by the moving company or carrier to the home owner who is also called the shipper. This legally abiding document is a contract between the two parties an also a receipt to show that the carrier has accepted the goods and will deliver them to the destination.
What is contained in the bill of lading?
Among the items contained in a typical bill of lading include;
- names of the shipper and carrier
- names of the port of departure and destination
- dates of departure and arrival
- description of the goods being transported
- marks and numbers of the items
- weight and volume of the entire cargo
- rates and amount of the shipment among others
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How to deal with the bill of lading
Of all the documents you will be dealing with in the course of the move, the bill of lading has to be the most important. That means that you need to have it with you throughout and ensure that you are taking care of everything. Part of your role when you receive the bill of lading from the carrier is to;
- Confirm that the details of names, destination, time and the rest are correct.
- Fill in your part where required.
- Be present to check off the items as the carrier loads your items into the truck and also when you get to the destination.
- Check everything when its being offloaded to ensure it is in the same condition it was when it was loaded.
Before the movers start packing and loading your stuff in the truck, you should take photos of everything from furniture to valuables. Be sure to label everything correctly and advice the movers on what is delicate and how to handle them.
In the unfortunate event where the movers break or damage anything on the way or during loading, the photos will prove that you gave them items in good condition but they have delivered damaged items. In that regard you must sign the bill of lading before the truck leaves to confirm that everything you have given them is in great condition.
Similarly, when they arrive and start off-loading, check every piece and sign off besides the description of that item on the bill of lading. If the item is damaged, you should indicate that on the document instead of signing. However, if everything seems okay, you and the driver of the truck should sign your copy and his copy the document to show that your contract has gone well.
The bill of lading will be part of the evidence required when you need to file a claim against the carrier or the moving company. You therefore must ensure that you indicated everything on the document before signing it so that you can be compensated for any damage or delay on your belongings.
Handling the bill of lading is serious business that should not be taken lightly. If the movers do anything contrary to the terms of your contract, you have the right to file a complaint or even sue them if you have your details correct in the bill of lading. Do not allow anybody to coerce or manipulate you into signing the bill of lading if you are not satisfied with the job done.