What a mess! Have you read the story about David Chu's 'auto transport nightmare?' He hired an auto broker, that hired a transporter, and when that transporter broke down during the trip, the broker hired another transporter to pick up and deliver David's two vehicles. Upon final delivery, David discovered new damage on both of his vehicles and reported it to his insurance company.
David had to pay out of pocket for the repairs, and when he went to collect the money for reimbursement, nobody would take full responsibility. In addition, there appeared to be no proper condition report to prove when the damage occurred or even who caused it. So the number of problems that could have been prevented with proper documentation and a good condition report before, during and after the transport is staggering. Here are the 10 ways a good inspection report could have saved the customer thousands of dollars.
- Number one, if the first trucking company had simply completed a condition report before pickup and after they unloaded when their truck broke down, and if the two reports matched, then they could have shown David they had nothing to do with the damage to either of his vehicles.
- If the first transporter had simply taken photos before loading in New York and after unloading at the rest stop where they broke down, they could have proven to him and all parties that they were not the cause of the damage.
- Even if that first carrier had created illegible yet identical inspection reports without taking photos, but had obtained signatures from the second company at the rest stop location before the vehicles were loaded the second time, then they could at least argue the second carrier was at fault. A simple signature could have been enough to shift the blame!
- Since the first transporter didn't have the condition reports, surely the second transporter would have completed a condition report before loading two damaged vehicles at a highway rest stop. After they were delivered in Florida, simply ensure the two reports were identical, thereby removing any consideration that they had played a part of any mishandling during transport.
- If the second carrier had simply taken pictures of the damaged vehicles before loading and shown them to the customer at delivery, then they could have easily proved they had nothing to do with the damage.
- Even if the second transporter had no pictures and very minimal information recorded on their condition report, but had obtained a signature from the first carrier, then clearly they would have sufficient documentation to reject a claim against them. Unfortunately, they stated they were unable to get that signature.
- If the contract between the customer and the broker removed all liability from the broker or its contracted carriers, then the customer should not have accepted the damaged vehicles when they were delivered. Instead, the customer should have immediately begun taking pictures and obtaining statements from everyone involved, just as somebody would after a car accident. Calling the police and filing an accident report might have also been helpful.
- It is difficult to believe that an auto broker is entirely free from all liability even in the absence of two contracted carriers and no proper documentation. Auto brokers have a surety bond and this issue should have been pursued further to prove liability.
- The first carrier said they were willing to reimburse the customer for half of the full amount to repair the damages. But if they had simply done a proper condition report, they would either be off the hook, or 100% liable. This would be an open-and-shut case.
- The second carrier states the vehicles were damaged when they picked them up and that they could not obtain a signature from the first carrier. That actually does happen all too often in auto transport, which is why all drivers should always take pictures and communicate with the broker anytime there is damage prior to loading. Had the second transporter taken those proper steps, they could have been free from any claim of liability.
Yes, that's a lot of jargon and a lot to consider! But when something becomes a legal matter with monetary damages at stake, there are many fine points to separate, examine and argue as a complainant, or in one's defense. If you have an opinion, suggestion, or otherwise, please feel free to comment below. And if you need more information about how to generate perfect condition reports, please click below. Thanks, and keep on trucking.
- Super Jay