May 9, 2018

What is Considered Timely Notice for an Effective Rejection?

There needs to be timely notification in order to have an effective rejection by your customer, the receiver.  While, you as the shipper, may have an obligation to take back the shipment, keep in mind that if it is later determined the rejection was wrongful, your customer could be held liable for the original contract price and incidental expenses, less any resale proceeds received by you.

So is timely notification an important component in achieving an effective rejection?

  • For an effective rejection, the receiver must give notice within a reasonable time. For truck shipments this means 8 hours after your customer is given notice of arrival and produce is made accessible for inspection.

There are some exceptions to the 8 hour rule, those being, when the shipment arrives after business hours, including non-work days or when an inspector is not available. In the situation where the shipment arrives after hours or a non-work day, the non-working hours are not included in calculating the 8 hours.  If an inspector is not available, the 8 hour period is extended until the inspection is made, plus 2 hours after the report is made available to your customer.

Your customer, however, is not relieved from the responsibility of giving you notification.  Your customer must inform you during the initial 8 hour time period after arrival that:   

  • The load arrived with a problem
  • An inspection has been requested
  • Your customer intends to reject the shipment as soon as an inspection can be made, depending on the inspection results

Failing to notify you of any problems until after the inspection is completed, and following the expiration of the initial 8 hours, a subsequent rejection by your customer would be procedurally ineffective, and as such, your customer is deemed to have accepted the commodity.

As stated in the beginning, however, regardless whether you, as the shipper, has breached the contract of sale, you have a positive duty to take back the rejected goods where there is an effective rejection.

Although an effective rejection may have been established, based on timely notification, it does not necessarily make it a rightful rejection. So in the next blog we will go into more detail on handling a rejection.