The wrath of COVID-19 continues to blur the lines between buyer and seller liabilities, so it is important to know how to properly handle a buyer’s order cancellation. In the last few weeks, I’ve received a handful of phone calls from shippers wanting to know if it is permissible for their buyer(s) to cancel orders that were in transit since the load had not yet arrived at contract destination. After I climbed back into my chair, I explained that whether the truck has arrived is a moot point; your buyer cannot unilaterally cancel a confirmed order at any time without your consent.

Bryan Nickerson

I receive daily inquiries from our shipper-members concerning problems on sales transactions happening on a real-time basis, or after the fact, and the member is endeavoring to arrive at a resolution. On such occasions, the inquiring-caller tells me that a federal inspection for condition and quality was secured at contract destination and he/she has granted the buyer Protection. My immediate follow up question is always to ask the caller what Protection means to them. Needless to say, I receive many unique explanations.

Bryan Nickerson

In a non-COVID world on a monthly basis, I conduct sales workshops/seminars for our regular members of Western Growers to discuss and educate on various claim issues that a sales organization would encounter in their day to day experience on the sales desk. One question that is commonly raised pertains to the importance of evidence in a temperature related problem. What takes precedence in a potential abnormal transportation claim? Is it the timely USDA inspection pulp temperatures, the portable temperature recording device, or the TRU (Trailer Refrigeration Unit) download?

Bryan Nickerson

As a produce salesperson or manager in accounting for your company, I can appreciate the many daily challenges you face that tug and pull for your priority and attention. With that said, the very last thing you want to deal with is payment term inconsistencies within your sales documentation that may put your company in harm’s way while securing every dollar that is owed to you on successful sales transactions.

Bryan Nickerson

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