Let’s say you’re a well-to-do truck driver — if you’re reading this, chances are that you are — and you’re delivering another load of heavy hauls. You just crossed a thousand miles and don’t expect an amazing amount, but still look forward to getting paid. (Your wife wants you to start saving up for the Summer vacation she’s forcing you to take.) But what should happen, when you arrive at the drop-off location but… Nothing! Turns out your Freight Broker not only has no moolah, but additionally, he wasn’t anticipating on paying you in the first place. Supposed it could just be a favor. Right, well, try explaining that to your higher-ups. Point is, you haven’t gotten your money and now there’s an unpaid freight bill. Whatever to do… Luckily, there’s some troubleshooting you can follow if you ever find yourself in such a smokey pickle.
Freight Broker vs. Freight Forwarder
To address this problem, you might need to know stark differences first. Both of these entities have to be registered with the FMCSA. They operate similarly, but their legal responsibilities are very different. A broker is able to serve as an intermediary in between the shipper or receiver. They aren’t liable for any loss or damage occurring during the shipping. Pretty much signifying that they don’t carry cargo insurance.
A Freight Forwarder, on the other hand, is held responsible for whatever happens to the freight. They’re essentially a carrier, minus the trailers or trucks.
We bring this up, because if the freight forwarder is spent, the motor carrier in question isn’t really able to ask their customer for payment. Managerial roles may have to step in.
What About The Broker’s Customer?
Depends. Sometimes, they can pay, if only the broker took on the role as an agent for the receiver. But when scrutinized in the courtroom, they’ll inspect the degree of which the shipper delegated such responsibilities to the broker. If the broker acts as the transportation department for the shipper, there’s a higher likelihood then, of the cort finding the shipper liable to pay the unpaid freight bill.
Is it important to determine who’s liable with contracts involved?
If you have to ask, then sure. Of course, it’d be pretty significant. After all, the smartest brokers go about drafting master hauling contracts with specific statements. An example: “the carrier agrees to look only to the broker for payment of freight bills.” When you associate with a bill of lading, that is a contract of transportation. Look carefully. If it has your name on it, you’ll be able to have your legal entitlement on paper.
For more info. on how to deal with these type of problems check out TruckersJusticeCenter.com.