Is a Truck Dispatcher Responsible For Detention, TONU, and Layover Fees?

Truck Dispatcher Detention

Hello, everyone! Today, we’re diving into a topic that stirs up quite a bit of curiosity and sometimes confusion in the world of truck dispatching. Specifically, we’re addressing whether you, as an independent truck dispatcher, hold any responsibility for securing detention, TONU (Truck Ordered Not Used), and layover fees for your clients.

Many of our students, especially as they begin their journey in dispatching, inevitably encounter situations where a detention fee is due to their client from a freight broker. But here’s the twist—the freight broker isn’t paying up. It’s at this point that we often hear the question: “Am I responsible for covering the TONU, detention, or layover fees?”

First things first, let’s clarify what we mean by detention, layover, and TONU, for those who might not be familiar. These terms refer to various fees that can be incurred due to delays or changes in the trucking services agreed upon. For instance, imagine a scenario where a truck is scheduled to unload at 2 PM, but due to delays at the warehouse, the unloading doesn’t start until 4 PM. The extra waiting time? That’s where detention fees come into play. Similarly, if a truck is ordered for a job but ends up not being used, that’s a TONU situation. And if a driver has to wait overnight before they can load or unload? You guessed it—that’s a layover.

So, back to our main question: Are you responsible for ensuring these fees are paid to your clients? The short answer is technically no. The contract for transporting cargo is between the motor carrier and the freight broker. As a dispatcher, you’re in the mix to facilitate the process—completing paperwork, perhaps negotiating rates, and certainly communicating between the two parties.

However, it’s crucial to underscore that while you’re not directly responsible for these fees, you do play a significant role in advocating for your client’s right to receive them. Your job involves making the best effort to collect these fees whenever possible. But let’s be real—dealing with freight brokers can sometimes be challenging, especially if you encounter one who’s less than honest about fulfilling their financial obligations.

For example, consider you’ve negotiated a detention fee on behalf of your client for the earlier scenario. Despite your best efforts, the broker refuses to pay. While this situation is frustrating, it’s important to remember that unless you’ve explicitly promised your client they would be compensated for detention fees directly by you, your financial responsibility does not extend to covering these costs out of pocket.

Remember those posts we mentioned about detention, layover, and TONU? They’re packed with strategies you can employ to persuade freight brokers to settle what they owe. It’s about being persistent, documenting everything, and, when necessary, knowing when to escalate matters. Keeping your client in the loop throughout this process is vital—they should never feel neglected or out of the loop regarding the efforts you’re making on their behalf.

Let’s face it: not every battle with a freight broker over fees will end in victory. That’s why it’s essential to manage your clients’ expectations from the get-go. Be transparent about the challenges and the reality that, despite everyone’s best efforts, success isn’t guaranteed. It’s a bit like flipping a coin—sometimes you win, and sometimes, well, you prepare for the next round.

In closing, the role of an independent truck dispatcher is multifaceted and, without a doubt, crucial to the smooth operation of the logistics and transportation industry. While you might not have a magic wand to resolve every detention, TONU, or layover fee dispute, your expertise, dedication, and advocacy go a long way in supporting your clients through the thick and thin of trucking logistics.

And there you have it, folks—a glimpse into the responsibilities and challenges of truck dispatching when it comes to detention, TONU, and layover fees. We’ll continue to explore topics like this to help demystify the logistics industry for newbies and veterans alike. Until next time, keep on trucking, and remember, we’re here to support you every mile of the way.

Copyright by Roman Shmundyak March 2024

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