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NMFC changes effective 4/18/15 - Concealed Damage window reduced to 5 days

Apr 20, 2015

Effective 4/18/15 new NMFC guidelines state that concealed damages must be reported to the carrier within 5 days after delivery. Prior to the change to this guideline you used to have 15 days to file a concealed damage claim. The claim must be followed up in writing or electronically.

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What exactly is concealed damage? It is when damage to items in a package is not evident to the recipient until the package is opened. In this case damage is not observed or noted at the time of delivery. Since the time frame to file claims for concealed damage has been shortened to 5 days it is important to inspect all shipments as they come in to confirm no damages occurred.

Here’s a brief review of things to remember about the claims process in general.

Remember…claims start before the delivery driver leaves

  1. Conduct a thorough inspection -- BEFORE the driver leaves conduct a thorough inspection of all shipments and note any visible shortages, damages, or loss on the driver’s delivery receipt (DR). You should not sign any delivery receipts before you have indicated such “exceptions” on the DR. If there are no exceptions simply sign and date the DR where indicated.
  2. Make notations on the DR -- If there are exceptions, make notations on the DR as described above. Be sure to get the name of the trucking company, their address, and their Claims Manager’s name and phone number. You will need this to file the claim.

    Directions to initiate the claim process:

    1. At this point you may want to send a brief letter (via registered mail) to the trucking company letting them know you intend to file a claim. Be sure and give a description of what was lost or damaged and include copies of the DR. 
    2. Prepare appropriate forms in four parts and distribute as follows: 
      Copy # 1 to the trucking company's freight claims personnel (with attached copies of respective packing list and DR's.). 
      Copy # 2 should be sent to your Accounts Payable Department. 
      Copy # 3 should be sent to your Purchasing Department. 
      Copy # 4 should be secured to any damaged product. 
    3. If there are any damage exceptions DO NOT DISPOSE of any damaged product. The carrier may wish to inspect the goods. Moreover carriers retain the right of salvage against any merchandise they may reimburse you for. Disposing of the damaged product before the carrier releases it may void the claim. As the claimant you also have the obligation to mitigate the damages. This means if you can salvage any of the products, you must and whatever you recover is offset against the claim. 
    4. In all cases when damage has occurred we recommend you request the carrier to send out an inspector to examine the goods. The carrier will send an inspector out at their cost, should the claim be above a specific dollar amount, as set by the carrier.
    5. When partial loss or damage is not determined until after goods are placed in inventory, you must immediately notify the carrier in writing. You have 5 days to report “Concealed Damage”. Report the information directly to the carrier!  Concealed damage claims are only paid at the discretion of the carrier and in some cases may not be paid at all. 
    6. Ask your accounting and purchasing personnel to determine the monetary amount of loss or damage to the shipment. You will need them to provide appropriate documentation to support any invoice, repair or replacement costs.
When working with American Group there are two ways to handle claims.
  1. You can contact us at 866-553-6608 to request assistance with filing and processing a claim or...
  2. You can choose to file and process the claim yourself.

For complete information about filing claims see our website,, in the Shipping Tools section.