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Charge for a missed appointment

by RF

My trucking company is charging me for a missed load appointment $1600, the load was 7hrs late , but shipper recieved the load and unloaded it, they charged the comany $1600 now there are trying to charge me the $1600(*)

Response from Vicki:

I am sorry that any professional truck driver has to go through the situation that you described but I'm glad that you contacted us. Ever since we read about this type of situation and wrote about a potential financial penalty for missing an appointment, we wondered how long it was going to take for someone to actually be charged.

If you will permit me, I'd like to back up and ask some questions so that I know what we're dealing with and perhaps you can comment below.

1. Are you a company driver or an owner-operator?

2. Did your dispatch include information about the charge for a missed appointment?

3. If your dispatch included this information, did you read it?

4. If you read your dispatch, did you fully understand the risk and formally agree to take the load anyway?

5. Did you do everything in your power to drive in a safe, legal and timely manner to try to deliver the load by the appointment time?

6. When it became evident that you would not arrive by the appointment, did you let anyone know that the appointment needed to be changed?

7. What were all of the factors that caused you to be late? Were any of them circumstances beyond your control?

8. What percentage of the time would you say that you deliver freight "on time"?

9. Have you ever experienced a missed appointment with this shipper/receiver before?

10. Have any of the other drivers who drive for your trucking company experienced being charged for a missed appointment?

Trucking contracts and dispatches can be tricky things. But even more irritating to me is the fact that your trucking company would be willing to haul freight for a shipper/receiver who has such a clause in their contracts. If the terms were fully disclosed, then this matter is not fraudulent, illegal or a racket. A shipper/receiver has the right to include whatever they want in their contracts. And trucking companies have the right to refuse to haul freight under contracts with which they disagree.

However, have you been set-up for failure -- having been "framed", so to speak -- or become a victim of a trucking version of "entrapment"? Have other truckers who have hauled freight to that same shipper/receiver experienced the same thing?

If it was the case that you were "deliberately" held up by the entity that had the freight hauled, there may be evidence of a problem, especially if it has happened more than once. I hope that you wrote down -- or have printed out -- all of your times in, waiting and out at each place you went as proof of your actions.

Even though you may not get legal satisfaction, I think it would be worth your while to consult a qualified and competent trucker attorney -- perhaps one who specializes in contract law -- to see what can be done to keep you from having to pay. Please be aware that should you decide to pursue taking legal action, it may be wise not to say anything at all publicly about this matter until it has been fully pursued.

Only when the time is right do I suggest that you speak up to expose this situation. What I'm talking about is naming the shipper/receiver and sharing the full story. Please let us know if we can help. Please bear in mind, though, that we need full disclosure.

I hope that this situation is resolved in your favor. In the meantime, my husband Mike and I wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

Best regards,
Vicki Simons

* This information was originally submitted by email. The author's name has been abbreviated into initials here.

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May 12, 2015
Were the terms in the dispatch?
by: Vicki

Thank you for your comment. I'm wondering if the driver read the full dispatch and understood everything in it. Perhaps he/she took photos of all the SatComm screens to prove that no such "missed appointment" charge was mentioned?

If it is the case that no such terms were mentioned, then I'd say that the driver would be well advised to get legal counsel to fight the charge (perhaps through a low cost legal service plan). Sometimes, all it takes is a letter from a law firm to get the attention of a trucking company.

We wish the driver great success in getting this issue resolved.

May 12, 2015
Unauthorized Deductions
by: Anonymous

An employer cannot charge his losses unto an employee unless terms were agreed upon before taking the dispatch, i.e. late arrival fees, load shortage.

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