LTL carrier rebills: Documentation errors

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LTL Carrier rebills: Documentation Errors 

One of the most common reasons shippers receive a rebill from a carrier is due to shipping documentation errors. Because of how complicated LTL freight shipping can be, it is critical to have all relevant documentation filled out correctly so that shippers, carriers, and consignees are on the same page regarding the details of a shipment. The shipment’s description, special requirements, time frame, and status must be clearly indicated on the proper documents to avoid miscommunications that can result in missed pickups and deliveries, delays, or additional charges added to the bill. In addition, all pertinent information regarding the shipper, consignee, and carrier must be filled out accurately, as well as the shipping dates and the condition of the items before and after transit. Let’s take a look at the most common shipping documents and how to avoid some of the mistakes people make when filling them out.


BOL (Bill of Lading)

A BOL, or bill of lading, is arguably the most important shipping document in the LTL world. The BOL is a document that performs multiple functions, serving as a contract between shippers and carriers, a receipt for services, and a title document. The bill of lading contains all the information necessary for the carrier and driver to execute the freight shipment and invoice it correctly, including the name and address of the consignor and consignee, a detailed description of the goods being transported, and the terms of the LTL contract between shipper and carrier. The BOL should be provided to the carrier upon pickup, and a copy should be attached to the shipment itself. 

Some of the most common errors shippers make when filling out the BOL:

  • Incorrect name and address of shipper or consignee
  • Incorrect scheduled date of pickup
  • Incorrect number of units listed in shipment
  • No description of items being shipped
  • Incorrect freight class
  • Inaccurate weight or dimensions (length, height, width) of the shipment
  • Missing special delivery instructions for the carrier (accessorials)
  • Unlabeled or mislabeled hazardous materials


POD (Proof of Delivery)

POD, or proof of delivery, is a document presented by the carrier to the consignee (receiver of the shipment) upon delivery that includes information such as time of delivery, delivery address, the name of the consignee, and the signature of the person receiving the shipment. The consignee must inspect all the items in the load to ensure they are accounted for and have arrived without visible damage. If damage or loss is present, the consignee should document it on the POD and with photos for use in carrier or freight insurance claims. Once the POD has been signed, ownership and any subsequent damage to the goods become the consignee’s responsibility. 

Some of the common errors consignee’s make when filling out the POD:

  • Failure to match the number of items in the shipment to the number of items listed on the POD
  • Failure to inspect items in the shipment for visible damage
  • Failure to document any damage in detail on the POD and take photographs for evidence
  • Failure to use the POD to make carrier or freight insurance claims on damaged goods


 Cargo Claim Form

A cargo claim form is a document that shippers, consignees, or owners fill out if there is any damage or loss to a shipment. The claim form should outline the exact nature of the damage or loss and the precise dollar amount of the value lost. The form should also provide sufficient evidence alleging that the damage or loss occurred while the shipment was in the carrier’s possession during the transportation time frame outlined by the BOL. For this reason, it is helpful to take photos of a shipment before and after it has been shipped. Cargo claims are subject to a time limit, usually within nine months of damage or non-delivery, and can be filed by the shipper, consignee, or the owner of the goods.

Some of the common errors made when filling out a cargo claim form:

  • Failure to accurately describe the nature of the loss or damage to the items in the shipment 
  • Failure to record the monetary value of the damage or loss
  • Failure to take and provide photos of the damaged goods with the claim form
  • Failure to file the claim form within nine months of the damage or non-delivery date, after which reimbursement is prohibited by law

Accurate freight documentation will help facilitate efficient shipping, keep costs down, and improve your chances of receiving reimbursement in the event that your shipment is damaged or lost. If you are diligent and follow LTL documentation best practices before a shipment ever leaves the dock, it can save you a lot of time and resources on the back end. One way to make sure your freight documents are filled out properly is to utilize a 3PL with an online shipping platform. Koho’s online platform automatically generates bills of lading and other relevant documentation for shippers once they receive a quote, speeding up the process and avoiding human clerical errors that can occur when filling out the documents by hand. Contact the LTL shipping professionals at Koho for your next LTL shipment.

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