UPS and FedEx Freight Claims: Avoid Costly Mistakes

How to choose the right transportation company and avoid claims altogether

If you're shipping freight and something goes wrong, like your shipment is damaged or lost, you may have to file a freight claim. But how do you choose the right transportation provider that can prevent these types of setbacks from happening? Here are tips to help you get started.

What are freight claims and why do they happen?

A freight claim is a formal request for reimbursement of freight damages or lost packages from a freight shipper or consignee of goods to the freight carrier. The claim must be filed within a set time frame and include evidence such as a bill of lading, insurance policy, and pictures of the damage.

Freight claims happen when goods are damaged or go missing while in transit. This can be a costly and frustrating experience for businesses, as it can delay shipments and disrupt operations. In addition, cargo carriers may not be liable for the damages or loss if the shipping contract does not specifically mention cargo insurance. So, it is important for businesses to understand their rights and responsibilities when shipping goods.

The Causes of Freight Claims:

There are many potential causes for claims, from damage during transport to goods going missing in transit. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Improper packing or handling by the shipper
  • Improper securing/handling of freight by the carrier
  • Poor weather conditions that cause damage to goods
  • Transport by unauthorized carriers
  • Theft or hijacking of the cargo
  • Inaccuracies between the invoice and shipment
There are a number of reasons that freight could get damaged in transita

The different types of freight claims

In logistics, there are typically four types of freight claims that you will come across. These include damage, loss, shortage, and/or concealed damage or shortage. Let's take a more detailed look at each type of claim.


The most common reason for claims to the product. If upon receiving the product, you notice damage that wasn't there when it originally shipped, you may have a damage claim. A damage claim can be filed for various reasons, such as if the carrier didn't secure the cargo properly or if there was already debris in the trailer from a past shipment. In order to file a damage claim, though, you must have visible evidence of the damage upon arrival and document it on the proof of delivery form.


When this type of claim occurs, it means that all or some of the product hasn't reached its final destination. The receiver files an easy, official claim with the proper documentation and original bill of lading. If you have irrefutable evidence that the product was shipped with the carrier and there is no unsigned proof of a delivery document, then it's a straightforward claim to substantiate. Conversely, if accurate records are not kept detailing what goes in and out of a facility, then any loss claims become much more difficult to prove.

Freight claims could result from vehicle accidents


A human error in logistics can often cause an error on the bill of lading with the number of pallets or product quantity. If this happens, it is possible to file a shortage claim. The number of pallets, sacks, or individual pieces that were shipped with the carrier must be noted on the original bill of lading in order to file this claim. In order to file an accurate claim for a shortage, you need to know the exact number of products that were shipped and whether or not that same amount was received.

Concealed Damage or Shortage:

If you're not careful, it can be easy to miss damage done to a product that's under shrink wrap, in boxes, or covered up. Whenever you receive freight shipments, double-check the condition of the items against the bill of lading. Always inspect your cargo when it arrives, box by box and shrink-wrapped pallet by pallet. Check for damages before you sign the proof of delivery. Although it may be tedious, diligently inspecting freight as soon as you receive it is crucial; if you catch any damage, the carrier will likely give you a full refund. If not, good luck trying to prove the carrier's responsibility--you'll probably only get one-third of the value back, at best.

What to do if your freight is lost or damaged

Now that you understand what a freight claim is and how to determine who is at fault, what's the next step?

Don’t Ignore It!

If you don't respond to a freight claim as the carrier, you are agreeing that the mistake was on your part. You would then be legally required to pay the entire claim, deny it, or come to a settlement agreement. Although they may differ, typically freight claims process needs to happen within 9 months of when the product was delivered. If a claim exceeds the nine-month time frame, liability may not be enforceable. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the documentation so you can respond to claims in a timely manner.

Ensure you have all the required documentation for a freight claim.

You need to have all the proper documentation showing that you weren't at fault in order to file a claim. If the shipper doesn't have things like an invoice or bill of lading, then you might not be able to prove that they were negligent.

Two shippers double-checking a shipment

Communicate with your customer.

Caught between you and the shipper, your customer is in a difficult situation. Be sure to act diplomatically so they don't take their business elsewhere. After a complaint is filed, it is important to be communicative with your customers about how you plan to fix the problem and the claim status. Be transparent about any mistakes that were made and honest about what solutions will be put in place to stop them from happening again in the future.

Call your insurance provider.

If your cargo is lost or damaged during transport, most cargo liability insurance policies will cover the costs of the damages. Always contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after a freight claim to check that it is covered under your policy.

Tips for avoiding freight claims altogether

It’s no secret that freight claims can be costly and time-consuming. In order to avoid them altogether, it’s important to be aware of the most common causes, and take steps to prevent them. Here are a few tips for avoiding costly mistakes:

  1. Make sure your paperwork is in order. This includes packing lists, bills of lading, and invoices. If there are any discrepancies, disputes could arise down the road.
  2. Inspect your cargo before you sign off on it. Make sure that all the items listed on the bill of lading are present and in good condition. If there are any damages or shortages, take pictures and document them carefully and immediately notify the carrier.
  3. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time for the scheduled delivery date. This will help reduce stress and minimize the chances of missing a deadline, which could result in a claim.
  4. Communicate with your carrier regularly throughout the shipment process. Keep them updated on any changes or delays so they can adjust their schedule as needed.
  5. Choose a company that you can rely on, has excellent communication, and is dedicated to a smooth shipment and expected delivery date process.
Weather playing a role in freight claims

Choosing the right transportation company

When it comes to choosing the right transportation company, there are a few things you need to consider. The most important factor is undoubtedly reliability.

When it comes to shipping, Revolution is the company that businesses rely on for unparalleled speed and efficiency. But our greatest asset is our world-class customer service. Disruptions can happen to any business, but with Revolution's help, you can minimize the chances of them happening. We have the experience and resources to help you avoid disruptions and keep your supply chain running smoothly.

Revolution specializes in safe, secure, door-to-door delivery of your critical freight while minimizing cargo claims. If there is an issue, we manage the claims process from start to finish, reducing your time commitment and stress level. Whether you need immediate pick-up and delivery or end-to-end logistics solutions for your TL, LTL, and parcel shipments, Revolution has you covered.

What to do if you don't use Revolution Trucking and need to file a freight claim?

Filing a freight claim can be difficult and time-consuming. You will need to provide detailed information about the shipment, including the date it was received and the date it was delivered. You will also need to provide an estimate of the damage or loss. If the carrier is responsible for the damage or loss, they will likely want to inspect the damaged goods before issuing a refund, which can take time, therefore causing disruption in your supply chain.

Man counting pieces on a pallet

UPS Claims

To start a new claim about a missing UPS package or one that has been damaged, you first need to log into the UPS claims dashboard. Next, be sure to have all of the pertinent information ready.

Please include the supporting documentation to file your UPS claim. If you do not upload the required documentation during the claim process, your claim might be denied or suffer delays in processing. In addition to the documents listed below, UPS may also request additional ones.

1. UPS Bill of Lading (if necessary)

2. If applicable, fill out the Master Carrier Bill of Lading.

3. Commercial invoices for the total shipment to show the cost of goods being sold by the Claimant to the end Consignee.

4. A list of everything being shipped, with the weight of each item.

5. If applicable, get a signed Proof of Delivery (POD) from the Consignee, or attach another delivery document, or upload payment document link.

6. A survey/inspection report if conducted.

7. If available, pictures of the damaged package, product, or a repair estimate


To start a new claim about a missing ups FedEx package or one that has been damaged, you first need to log into the claims dashboard. Next, be sure to have all of the pertinent information ready.

You can also submit a claim by calling customer service, emailing them your claim, or filling out a physical copy and mailing it in.

After you file add any supporting documentation

Copy of the bill of lading or delivery receipt. Attach all documentation related to proof of value; for example, the original invoice from the vendor or supplier, retail invoice or receipt, proof of payment receipt, itemized repair invoice or statement of non-repair, expense statement, appraisals, or any other documentation that is applicable. While most of these documents need to be the original, when sending documentation, they can be copies as you'll want to keep documentation for yourself.

Next, submit your online claim form

Email the supporting documents and the claim form online, via email, or by mailing them in.

What should you do with the merchandise and packaging?

Until the claim resolution process is finished keep the merchandise and all original packaging (including cartons and content). If necessary, the packaging may need to be available for inspection. You can then track the status of your claim with the tracking number

As long as there is no additional time needed for research into the claim, most cases are resolved in 5-7 business days after the claim form and documentation has been received. Updates to the status of your claim can be found with the tracking numbers online.

Two men shaking hands in front of a freight truck

Revolution Trucking's superior planning process ensures that we have all the information we need to provide the most accurate estimates and timelines for your shipments. We are constantly monitoring and tracking your shipments, so you can be confident that they will reach their destination on time, every time.

This is a testament to our planning on the front end, where we provide pictures and explanations to our drivers about their freight so they can properly prepare. It is common for us to receive only 80% of the needed information about the freight, and it's our job to collect the other 20% to ensure flawless execution. We'll send you all the necessary paperwork as soon as we get it, so you can focus on your business while we handle the logistics.

At Revolution, our experienced Operations Team handles the most complex logistics scenarios. We move your critical freight on time and on target, with no exceptions. Call us when failure is not an option.

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