July 18, 2018

What Constitutes Acceptance of Produce by a Buyer Under Contract Terms

  • The receiver offloads the commodity and releases the trucker is deemed to have accepted the load.
  • The receiver diverts the load (while in-transit) to a destination other than that disclosed and negotiated for in the contract is deemed to have accepted the load
  • Multiple customers (drops): A receiver has multiple customers (drops), the first produce item(s) is tendered for delivery under the contract, which are accepted at the first location (drop), the acceptance functions as acceptance of the entire load under the contract terms between the   shipper and buyer commonly referred to as commercial contract sale. The entire load has been accepted and the buyer waives his/her right to a rejection.  Any subsequent rejection of a portion of the load by any of the receiver’s subsequent customers would not be allowable between you, as the shipper, and your buyer who you contracted with.

Consequences of the buyers Acceptance of the produce:

  • The buyer must pay the contracted price for the accepted goods less any provable damages, if any
  • The buyer loses its right to reject after unloading and acceptance
  • Time sensitive that the buyer must immediately call for inspection to establish a breach of contract, or be barred from any remedy
  • The burden always resides with the receiver to establish a breach of contract

Keep in mind that just because the buyer has accepted the goods and lost its right of rejection, it does not mean that the buyer has lost the right to recover from the shipper any loss suffered due to the shipper’s failure to ship the agreed upon produce, which if handled under normal transit, must meet good delivery.

When the produce has been accepted, they buyer must, within a reasonable time, establish a breach and notify the seller of the breach or be barred from any remedy.  Although “reasonable time” is not defined under the PACA, as a general rule, it is same day as arrival. Delayed notice such as three days after arrival is not considered timely notice and would be considered too remote to provide evidence of what the load of produce looked like at actual time of arrival.

Please consider contacting the Trade Practices Department with any real time dispute issues, or need for guidance with any sales contract.  Email Ken Gilliland at [email protected] or Matt McInerney at [email protected]