So, you order a product online, exciting! The carrier (Roadway, Conway, FedEx, etc.) is going to deliver it and all is well that ends well! Well, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
Taking time to research the company’s shipping and delivery conditions is the key to a good buying experience. If the instructions are unclear always call the company and ask.
Having placed, paid and shipped the order does not guarantee transit times or delivery to your actual location, where on your property the order will be placed or who and how it will get off the truck.
If you live in a remote area or even a small street, imagine yourself driving in a large truck getting to your location and delivering the order within a given 15-20 minute time line.
The most important questions to ask are: Is the transit time guaranteed? Will the carrier call before they deliver? Where on my property will the carrier deliver my package? How will it get off the carrier truck? How do I check for damages? Who is responsible for damages?
Is the transit time guaranteed?
Most freight companies set an internal goal to achieve their stated transit times and strive to get it there in the allotted time. They will tell you that they can deliver a certain size package within so many days from point A to point B.
There are different levels of service depending on the urgency of the delivery and have various price tags attached to those services. Most often that works out. But, even if you have paid for the fastest service, bear in mind that transit times are never 100% guaranteed.
Weather, Customs or destination location challenges can always delay transportation and delivery and your money paid or lost contractor times will not by reimbursed. Before ordering, check the transit services offered with the seller, discuss a realistic delivery date and most importantly order with plenty of time to spare!
Will the carrier call before they deliver?
The seller should offer a tracking number for your shipment which can be tracked online and find out when the actual delivery will occur. Motor freight carriers are asked to make an appointment day and 4-hour time line with you. Make sure to offer the phone number you can best be reached at, at the time of ordering your product. This way if the driver runs into any problems they can reach you immediately and get further instructions.
Where on my property will the carrier deliver my package?
Carriers are not obligated to deliver anywhere on your property unless a specific delivery service is paid for at the time of ordering. However, if the driver and crew are not able to proceed onto your property due to safety, city bylaws, street size or possible damage to your property, they are not obliged to do so.
Make you have a clear path for the truck and driver to manoeuver your package onto your property. City street constructions and weight restrictions may not allow the driver to enter your local. You are responsible for the hefty re-delivery charge and possible storage at the carrier’s dock. Be aware what day your shipment will arrive and communicate with the carrier.
How will it get off the carrier truck?
Many of us order items online and expect them to be ‘just delivered’. Unfortunately not every delivery is the same. When ordering your product check the ‘shipping/delivery’ and clarify the fine print of the service offered or included. Also, find out the how many pieces are included, weight and size and how it is packaged. Most big items only include the shipping to your curbside, and you are responsible for taking it off the truck within 15-20 minutes.
Different paid services are available such as tailgate delivery, white glove delivery or you can choose to ‘handbomb’ if you wish. Now if you have a friend with you and the packages weigh less than 60 lbs, it may be possible to offload individual boxes or pieces in the allotted time span.
The next level would be a tailgate delivery, if the pallet is a certain size. The driver is able to lower the whole pallet to the ground on your curbside or your driveway. The white glove service offers the product to a designated location on your property, garage or possibly inside the residence, but bear in mind the size of the product.
A 1000 lbs swim spa may not fit through your front door without altering your door size and how many people are needed to carry 1000 lbs? Always find out the skid size and ask for a picture of the product, explain your property restrictions and ask for advice from the seller before placing the order.
How do I check for damages?
Be sure to check all the address label and confirm that the shipment was truly intended for you. Count the boxes and make sure you received all the packages included with your shipment. Most often it will say Box 1 of something. Walk around the packages, check for corner damages, dents, rips and most of all are all the staples and tape still secured tightly to the package. Turn the package over and repeat.
Take pictures, make notes and copy down the tracking number. In the case of damages, call the carrier, give them the tracking number on the boxes and advise them that you have found damages. Call the seller next and advise them of the same, offer them pictures and ask them what the next step is.
Who is responsible for damages?
That is a good question to ask when placing the order. Every carrier has a different shipping agreement and insurance values with the seller. A good seller will require the notification damage and take care of the claims process themselves. You should be sent replacement parts or a new product free of charge as you have done your due diligence.
You open your package and it is damaged
Now you have done your due diligence in receiving the product. You open it excited to enjoy and the contents is damaged. Call the seller and tell them what happened. If it is a reputable company, they will do their utmost to rectify the situation.