It often happens that the carrier does not agree with the terms of the transport order, which are provided to him by the contractor. Sometimes they are controversial or even unrealistic. You don’t have to agree with them!
Below are just a few examples of the provisions in the orders that I encounter on a daily basis, and with which the carriers have the greatest problems. These are our clients, who experience such situations on a regular basis, and we help them to deal with them.
- Contractual penalty if you do not send the documents in 7 days.
- Contractual penalty for failure to neutralize CMR.
- Contractual penalty for lack of information about unloading 15 minutes after its execution.
I am often asked if there is anything you can do to defend yourself against such provisions. The answer to this question is YES.
Conclusion of a contract and amendment of terms and conditions
Using the example of the Trans.eu platform, the procedure for concluding a contract for transport services is as follows:
– it begins with an instant messenger/email/phone conversation about a specific order.
– After discussing the terms and conditions, the contract is concluded.
– In addition, the client sends an order document via e-mail, which, in addition to what was discussed during the negotiations, contains additional provisions – including those listed above. This is the moment when you have to be most cautious.
After receiving an e-mail order, it is worthwhile reading its contents to avoid any problems at a later stage. The easiest way to amend the terms of the transport order when they are unfavourable is to remove them from the contract and send them to your contractor with the information “attached signed order with changes/reservations”.
If the substantial part of the quotation/order (date of loading/unloading, place of loading/unloading, height of freight) has not been changed, the agreement with the changes shall be binding unless it is clearly indicated in the content of the order that it can be accepted only without reservations, or the other party immediately objects to the changes.
General Terms and Conditions of Contracts – act on your own terms
It may also be useful in practice to create your own General Terms and Conditions of Contracts/General Terms and Conditions of Service. The name of this document may vary – it is important that it contains the most important conditions under which you provide your services. While formulating the content of the General Terms and Conditions you can indicate that in case of cancellation of an order 24 hours prior to loading, a contractual penalty of a specified amount is due – this is only an example.
In the case of this solution, it is important that your contractor has the opportunity to familiarize himself with this document. It is worth to inform him during the conversation that such a document exists and where he can read its content, e.g. send a link to a website.
To sum up, there is no need to give in to the conditions imposed by the client. Unfortunately, changing the content of the order requires more time, and I know that in the transport industry time is a rare commodity.