July 10, 2019

What is My Buyer’s “Rejection Window”?

In most scenarios, when a load of produce arrives at its destination by truck showing signs of a breach of contract related to quality and/or condition issues, the receiver has the right to reject the load if the product has not yet been unloaded from the carrier. However, the receiver must first obtain a USDA inspection to support that the load does not meet the terms of the contract and is a rightful rejection.

As defined by PACA for fresh produce shipped by truck, the reasonable time in which to reject is not to exceed 8 hours after the receiver is given notice of arrival and the load is made accessible for inspection. If the receiver cannot obtain an inspection, the period will be extended until such time as an inspection can be made, plus two hours after either an oral or written report of the inspection results is made available to the receiver. It is required that the receiver notify the shipper that the load has arrived at contract destination and is awaiting inspection.

What happens if the load arrives on a non-working day, holiday or after the close of regular business hours? Keep in mind that the rejection window is extended in these types of situations and the time between arrival and restart of regular business hours IS NOT counted against the 8-hour rejection window.

Do you have any questions, comments or concerns, or would you like guidance on any issues? Please feel free to contact Western Growers Trade Practices Department’s Bryan Nickerson at [email protected] or 949-885-2392.