Recently, Adam Robinson of Cerasis wrote a fantastic article on shipper misrepresentation as it pertained to the weight of goods shipped. I wanted to take a minute and quickly break down is finer points…
Anyone who has played around with a density calculator has quickly found out if they lower the class of their product, or if they lower the weight (which could then lower the class) their overall costs will go down. This may seem like an easy trick to save a few bucks here and their but in the end it can really cost you.
Carriers more and more are cracking down on this type of behavior. If they see any reason to weigh your product and they find the information is incorrect, they’ll be more than happy to charge you the correct amount. Remember, when it comes to your freight:
- The dimensions of your pallet needs to be as exact as possible. Anything that hangs over the pallet edge also should be to be counted.
- The weight of your pallet should be included in the weight of your shipment. Carriers are concerned over the total weight, not just the weight of your product.
A simple rule-of-thumb: Never list the weight of your shipment in round numbers (ex 500 lbs). Carriers will flag those shipments as it’s unlikely any particular pallet will come in at exactly 500 pounds.
For shippers who do, from time to time, fib on their class or weight there can be real consequences. One such consequence that few think about is the total weight of the truck. If you are shipping, say, 4 pallets and you state the total weight is 3500 lbs and you state the dimensions are 40x48x48 your class will be 70; which is how your rate will be calculated. If, however, the real weight of your shipment was 4200 pounds when the driver picks it up, there’s a chance he’ll be 700 pounds overweight. It doesn’t take too many “weight fibs” for this to become a real safety issue for a driver whose haul is 10% heavier on their brakes than expected! Think about what could happen in that situation and you begin to understand why carriers are so wary of misinformation.
Another good reason to shy away from cooking the numbers is you don’t want to get flagged as a disingenuous customer. Carriers will be forgiving if they see this is the first time you’ve given them the incorrect weight. However, once you become a repeat offender. it’s very likely the carrier will weigh and inspect every one of your future loads. This not only slows down your transit time, but the transit time of all the other product going through that same terminal. This could easily mean and extra day in transit. Talk about bad karma!
We all make mistakes from time-to-time. If something does come back as a higher weight or class it’s no reason to panic. Just learn for the adjustments that come back from the freight carrier, and remember the importance of accuracy with your next LTL shipment.
If you are a shipper who knocks off 50 pounds here and changes your class from 85 to 70 there, understand that it could very well come back to bite you and your business. Dishonest misinformation is a very short-sided business practice when it comes to LTL shipping.
If you’d like to read the full article from Cerasis…