Adam once encountered something that made him worry about it. At that time, a US order was not only unprofitable, but also faced an additional compensation of 70,000 yuan. This is an order from a major customer in the United States. Originally, the two sides cooperated very happily, but because of his unprofessionalism, he caused losses and faced painful lessons.
Ben had a similar experience, and it was something that happened recently, which has not been resolved so far. He is seeking help everywhere through various foreign trade forums.
In fact, there are still many foreign trade professionals who have encountered the same situation as Adam and Ben, and it can be said that cases of compensation from customers due to damage to goods in the process of international trade are not uncommon.
The damage of the goods may be caused by the negligence of the staff during the shipping process; or the supplier may not be careful when loading the goods, and the customer may not be careful when unloading the goods.
In the face of various situations of cargo damage, who should be held accountable? How can companies prevent problems before they happen? Some professionals introduced their experience and ideas to C Weekly.
Case 1: Adam's loss
In 2008, Adam exported a batch of chairs to a buyer in the United States. However, when the customer received the bulk goods, he informed Adam that the chair he received was partially damaged.
After investigating the reasons, Adam regretted it.
He told C Weekly, 'I can only blame myself for being not professional enough. At that time, I thought the stacked chairs were very safe, so I added a shelf under each stack of chairs to fix them when loading, and they were on the outermost side of the container. Pull the rope, cross it twice, and fix it. I thought it would be fine. Who knew that after the big cargo arrived in the US, I was told that several stacks of chairs had turned over, and the paint on the chairs was naturally scratched.' Adam said.
He revealed that the value of the damaged chair at that time was actually only 10,000 yuan, but he lost 70,000 yuan to the customer.
'Supplied to such a large buyer, the compensation is not as much as your goods are damaged. The goods are shipped from the factory to the United States. In this process, part of the inland freight charges from China and the sea freight from China to the United States, U.S. customs clearance fees and tariffs, as well as inland transportation fees from US ports to customer company warehouses, etc. All freight and tariffs must be compensated by me.' Adam said helplessly.
He compensated not only for the freight, but also for the American workers to take the bad goods out of the container, and the garbage disposal fees incurred in it would also be borne by him. What is even more depressing is that the part of the profit that the customer did not sell the goods, as well as the customer's apology to the buyer, must also be compensated.
Case 2: Ben’s confusion
Ben has the same experience. Unlike Adam, Ben is confused about how to deal with such things.
He told C Weekly that in early March of this year, an old customer of his company sent an email to inform that many boxes of goods at the cabinet door had fallen down during unloading, and then attached pictures and quantities of the damaged goods, and sent them to his company. Half the value of the damaged quantity claimed.
'But the boss thinks that this is not our responsibility, because we are dealing with FOB. The picture sent to the customer when loading the container is good. If the container is collapsed, the customer's own freight forwarder
should also be asked to make a claim... Now it is deadlocked. How to proceed?' Ben said.
It is necessary to see 'who is responsible'
Foreign trade expert Chen Yibing told C Weekly that what Ben encountered was actually easy to handle. Under normal circumstances, both the freight forwarder and the supplier need to bear the responsibility, but who should bear most of the responsibility depends on the specific circumstances.
'From a legal point of view, Ben’s boss understands that it is correct. FOB means delivery on board at the port of shipment. According to international law, FOB is defined as cargo passing the ship’s rail for risk transfer. But does the boss have evidence that the cargo is being hoisted? The moment before the ship’s rail, is it intact? In fact, it is difficult to obtain evidence.' He said.
Chen Yibing gave an example to further illustrate: If a crane hoisted a container from the dock to the ship, and the container fell down and fell on the ship, who is responsible? The supplier is exempted because it has passed the ship’s rail. But if it is not hoisted to the ship, and it falls off when it is just hoisted, who is responsible? It can be understood that it is a supplier, a freight forwarder, or a port, but the customer is not responsible. At this time, what the supplier has to do is to compensate the customer for the direct loss of a whole cabinet and all indirect losses. As for how the supplier, the terminal, and the freight forwarder will fight a lawsuit, this is another matter.
'The responsibility of freight forwarding I said is actually asking customers to find freight forwarding theory. Because of FOB, freight forwarding can share part of it. But to put it bluntly, this is a disgraceful means to shirk responsibility.' He said.
According to reports, the supplier is responsible for everything from packing, to the production of the outer box, and to the packing. Under normal circumstances, if the container is full, the entire structure is stable, and there will be basically no damage to the goods; when the container is not full, the supplier is responsible for taking protective measures. This is a question of whether the supplier is professional.
'Causing the rollover damage of the boxes and goods. Obviously, when the supplier loaded the cabinets, they did not professionally stack them, or the cabinets were not full, and there was a large gap. This is a core problem. In Ben's case, the supplier obviously It is responsible.' Chen Yibing said.
'Leave a tail' to make customers miss you
Regarding Ben’s problems, Chen Yibing suggested that Ben’s company should take the initiative, but try to negotiate with customers to see if they can make up some goods to customers without losing money, and promised her to ship them together in the next order.
'When negotiating with the customer, you can talk slowly and find a point where both parties can compromise. For example, if the customer wants to claim 5,000 US dollars, if you say no, then there is no need to talk. Or if you say there is no problem, you can compensate you , But the customer’s next order will definitely not be given to you. Because after paying him, you have cleared both of you, and the customer is not satisfied with your quality and service. Although you have lost, in their thinking , I will not appreciate you, because this is your responsibility. Therefore, when paying compensation to the customer, you must leave a tail, but the tail must not be too long. It must be within the acceptable range of the customer and be given elsewhere Customer compensation.' Chen Yibing said.
He believes that an excellent supplier must strengthen its own capabilities and improve the quality and level of employees. These seemingly simple little details not only affect the overall situation but also avoid potential risks.
'Professional salespersons should anticipate all possible situations in advance and take preventive measures. If the salespersons can design the cabinet loading method and renderings, and measure the loading volume of each layer, the outermost layer will also use rope Reinforce the outer boxes with straps, and take all the pictures of the loading. In this case, if something similar happens again, the supplier can pay no money. Because there is clear evidence that you have done everything The details of the loading are completely perfect, and the customer can’t catch a little pigtail. When the customer receives the goods, they have to take photos and collect evidence to prove whether the goods are damaged. When the loss is confirmed, it is necessary to understand and investigate the loss The reason for this, so as to minimize the loss.' Chen Yibing said.