Who Issues Rebills?
Due to the complexity and precision involved in LTL shipping, rebills are a reasonably common occurrence in the LTL industry.
Rebills, also known as adbills, are billing adjustments that can occur in LTL freight shipping for a variety of reasons, but they all result in charges added to the original carrier quote. Rebills are determined and issued by the carrier that is transporting the goods. Shippers who work with a 3PL provider to obtain freight quotes and manage their shipments are sometimes under the impression that rebills come from their 3PL. This is not true. 3PLs never handle the actual LTL shipment and instead are simply an intermediary, relying on the information provided by the shipper to obtain a quote from a carrier and billing the shipper on behalf of the carrier.
The carrier handles the shipment from pickup to delivery and determines if additional services were required that were not initially indicated at the time of the quote. Misrepresentations of a shipment’s weight, dimensions, or description, unnecessary delays in loading or unloading, or any other special delivery requirements necessary to complete a shipment can all result in rebill adjustments made by the carrier to the final invoice.
How Do Carriers Determine Rebills?
In the past, carriers did not have the time to check and make sure every shipment matched the information provided for the original quote. Instead of weighing and measuring each shipment to ensure information was accurate, carriers would look to find obvious discrepancies or take a sample of shipments to check, so many inaccurately weighted or classed shipments would slip through the cracks.
Today, with the advent and implementation of various freight technologies, the percentage of shipments checked against the information provided on their bills of lading is nearing 100%. The ubiquity of warehouse scaling technologies, dimensionalizers, and automatic billing software have made getting away with a few inaccurate details nearly impossible for shippers, and more often than not, if the wrong information is provided, a rebill will be issued.
What Technologies Do Carriers Use to Check LTL Shipments for Inaccuracies?
Most carriers have invested in cutting-edge technologies to determine what rebills need to be added to shipments. Freight costing has long been a challenge in the industry, and carriers operating on thin margins rely on accurate freight data to maintain efficiency and profitability. The good news is that the cost of many of these technologies is going down, and smaller to mid-sized shippers can now take advantage of them as well to ensure they have the most accurate information possible with which to obtain a quote. This benefits both shippers and carriers, as carriers are not losing money on incorrectly billed shipments, and shippers are avoiding unexpected surcharges added to their freight bills. Here are some of the technologies carriers are using to check the weight, measurements, and class of a shipment in seconds.
Forklift scales provide a continuous means of collecting freight data while minimizing operational downtime. Forklift scales integrate warehouse production and data management into one motion, allowing carriers to lift, weigh, record, and move a shipment at once. Forklift scales consist of a scale unit bolted onto the forklift carriage that utilizes electronic weight sensors to record accurate weights, even when the forklift is in motion or the pallet is off-center. This piece of equipment has allowed carriers to gather precise weight information for nearly all shipments without sacrificing efficiency.
Dimensionalizers are weight and volume measuring devices for measuring three-dimensional or cube-shaped objects such as boxes, parcels, cartons, pallets, or packages. Dimensionalizers run on automated systems that scan the weight and dimensions of an object in seconds using laser sensors, removing the possibility of human error and calculating shipping rates quickly and efficiently. While dimensionalizers have been used in parcel service for decades, the equipment has only become common in LTL in the last 8-9 years. Using dimensionalizers in freight terminals has allowed carriers to scan nearly every shipment that passes through their doors, cross-reference the information with the digital bill of lading (BOL) to determine any discrepancies, and issue rebills to shippers automatically.
Automatic Rebill Software
These days, any piece of equipment used to gather information about a shipment will automatically record that information and store it. Shipping software is then used to create a complete shipment profile for nearly every piece of cargo that comes through a carrier’s transit hub. Often, that same software is programmed to automatically check a shipment’s real-time information against what is on the shipper’s paperwork and add rebills to the final invoice.
The bottom line for shippers? Be sure to accurately record the weight, dimensions, and NMFC class for all of your shipments if you want to avoid rebills. Contact the shipping experts at Koho for advice on how to take down accurate measurements for your LTL freight and fill out your paperwork correctly to avoid unexpected rebills on your freight invoice.