Receiver refusing to unload: What can Truck Dispatcher do?

Receiver refusing to unload: What can Truck Dispatcher do?

Hey there, fellow dispatchers! Today, we’re diving into a situation that’s bound to give you a headache sooner or later: what to do when a receiver refuses to unload your client’s truck. It’s a tricky scenario that can throw a wrench in your carefully planned schedules, but don’t worry – I’ve got your back with some practical advice and solutions.

Picture this: Your client, a hardworking trucker, arrives at the receiver right on time, on the predetermined date, at the correct address. Everything’s going according to plan, right? Wrong. The receiver drops the bomb: “Sorry, we can’t take you today. Your appointment isn’t scheduled for now. It might be tomorrow, or maybe even two or three days from now.” Talk about a curveball!

This situation creates a massive headache for your client, the motor carrier. They’re stuck, can’t go anywhere, and you’ve probably already lined up their next load, which now needs to be cancelled. It’s a domino effect of problems, and you’re caught right in the middle.

Now, in an ideal world, this wouldn’t be such a big deal if your client got fairly compensated for their waiting time. If they were paid a decent rate for each day they’re sitting, it would just be a different kind of work – waiting instead of driving. But here’s the kicker: nobody wants to pay a rate that would adequately compensate them for lost time.

As we’ve discussed in our other post about detention and layover, the typical layover rate is a measly $150 per day. Let’s be real – that’s not going to cover your client’s expenses, especially if they’re losing two or three days of work. I mean, $300 or $450 for multiple days? That’s not even close to cutting it.

So, what can you do in this situation? What kind of solutions can you offer as a savvy dispatcher? Let’s break it down.

First things first: Know your rights. If your client has arrived at the destination on the predetermined date, at the right time, at the right address, as outlined in the rate confirmation, and couldn’t deliver the freight, then by law, an “alternative arrangement” has to be made. This means you need to get a new rate confirmation with a new date, a new time, and – this is crucial – a new rate that would fairly compensate your client.

Here’s the important part: until you receive this new rate confirmation and agree to the terms by signing it, there’s really no new arrangement in place. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Now, here’s where it gets sticky. A lot of freight brokers will drag their feet on making any kind of new arrangements because, let’s face it, it’s going to cost them money. No matter what solution you offer, it’s going to hit their bottom line, and they’re not going to like that one bit. So, they might try to string you along, saying things like, “Oh, we’re working on it,” or “Just wait a bit longer, we’ll get you unloaded soon.” Don’t fall for it!

Your job is to demand that new rate confirmation with appropriate compensation. If your client wants to receive $500 for each day they end up sitting, and they have to sit for two or three days, then you need to push for a $1,000 or $1,500 layover fee, and you need to get it in writing on that rate confirmation as soon as possible.

Receiver refusing to unload: What can Truck Dispatcher do?

If the broker is dragging their feet and not giving you that new rate confirmation, it’s pretty clear they don’t want to pay. So what should you do? It’s time to offer this freight broker some alternative options:

  1. Return to a Shipper: Tell them, “Hey, Mr. Broker, if you prefer, we can drive this cargo back to the shipper. They can unload it, and you’ll just need to compensate us for the return mileage. This might be cheaper than paying our layover rate.” This could be a viable option, especially if it’s not a long-haul shipment.
  2. Third-Party Warehouse Solution: Suggest finding a third-party warehouse facility to unload the cargo. Your client gets paid for delivering the load, and then the freight broker will need to find another motor carrier to make a local delivery from the warehouse to the receiver on a rescheduled date.
  3. Push for Same-Day Unloading: Sometimes, the best solution is the simplest. Tell the freight broker that if they can get the delivery scheduled for today, they won’t have to pay any layover fees. This might motivate them to pull some strings and make it happen.

Now, all these options are going to cost the freight broker some money, and they’re likely going to try to wiggle out of paying. So how can you enforce this situation and make them more agreeable?

First, put all your suggestions in writing. Send an email outlining your proposed solutions. This creates a paper trail showing that you’re making every effort to resolve the situation. Use language like, “We’d like to note that we are making our best effort to redeliver this load. We’re providing you with different options, and if you’re not agreeing to any of them, this situation is not our fault.”

If the freight broker keeps denying your requests or not agreeing to any options, you might want to turn up the heat a little. Consider mentioning that you’ll inform their client about the situation. You could also tell them that even if they don’t provide a new rate confirmation, you’ll still charge them for the layover and try to collect it from their client directly.

Now, I’m not going to make any particular recommendations on how aggressive to be, because different clients handle these situations differently. Some are non-confrontational types who might say, “Well, let’s see if we can come to some sort of agreement on the layover amount.” They might end up cursing this freight broker under their breath but eventually wait it out and deliver the load.

On the other hand, I have clients who take a very hard stance. They’ll tell the broker, “Look, if you don’t pay me for waiting here, I’m moving this load to my yard, and it’s going to sit there until we make new arrangements. And I’m going to charge you for each day of storing your freight.”

Now, a lot of freight brokers might respond with threats like, “We’re going to call the police and say you’ve hijacked the load.” The response to that is simple: “No, we’re not hijacking the load. Please feel free to provide the police with my phone number. We’ll explain the situation, show them when we were supposed to deliver the load, and demonstrate that we offered alternative solutions which you ignored. We had to move and store the load until we can make further arrangements.”

Trust me, at this point, they’re not going to be calling anyone. They’re going to be figuring out how to get you paid.

Remember, the most important thing is to try to work it out with the broker first. Offer them those alternative options – taking the load back to the shipper, delivering somewhere else, or pushing them to make more suitable arrangements for redelivery. And always, always get your compensation in writing on the rate confirmation as soon as possible.

Handling these situations can be stressful, but with these strategies in your toolkit, you’ll be better equipped to protect your client’s time and money. Stay firm, stay professional, and don’t be afraid to stand your ground. You’ve got this!

And with that, we’ll wrap up this guide. Remember, every challenging situation is an opportunity to prove your value as a truck dispatcher. Keep trucking, and I’ll see you next time!

Copyright by Roman Shmundyak June 2024

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