"Legal reversal of freight charges"
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  1. #1
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    Some time ago, I purchased a bandsaw on eBay from Bay Machine tools in Florida. I asked them for a price delivered, and paid them the total with PayPal. A couple of weeks ago I get an invoice from Central Freight, wanting payment for the freight charges. In it is a photocopy of the bill, clearly showing the "Prepaid" box checked.

    So I called them and they said that it was a "legal reversal of freight charges": because the seller had not paid their bill, I was responsible as the consignee. They offered to let me talk to the collection department (but I got an answering machine).

    Now, I have no intention of paying this, and will not. I have no contract - written, verbal, or implied - with Central Freight. I did not co-sign on the promissory note that Bay Machinery made to them, nor am I their guarantor in any respect. Had I been asked to be, I would have checked references at least, or would have paid the freight charges from my end, and not given it to them.

    How common is this? Does Central Freight just hope I will pay without question? I have nothing but sympathy for them, having taken a promise from what turns out to be dead beats, however, "I have nothing but sympathy for them", no freight charges. Those already got paid to Bay Machine.

  2. #2
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    Did you sign something when they delivered? I would sure want to read the fine print on whatever you might have signed. I sure hope they don't have you on that.

  3. #3
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    they do have you but it is some what of a sucker deal, just bitch at them and the shipper. Theaten the shipper with a hex and maybe they will at least pay your invoice.

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    did you pay with paypal?

    stop the payment

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    In any event try to get it straightened out, don't just hope it will go away. If not in 6 months you'll be trying to get it rectified and getting it off your Credit History. Uncrichie...

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    Don't even give them any sympathy. They don't deserve any. This is just another example of how morons from coast to coast today spew out credit with the attitude that "If we don't let them charge it, they'll buy from someone else". People who operate like that deserve to get their asses burned often....and they do. Any "fine print" on a delivery reciept would carry about as much weight as a couple sheets of used toilet paper. As far as making any effort to "straighten it out" is concerned, your best bet when dealing with people like this is to tell them up front to go fu*k themselves. They know full well that you're not the debtor and that they don't have a legal snowball's chance in hell of collecting from you. If someone reports you to a credit agency for your refusal to let them scam you into paying an illegitimate debt, that action is called fraud in most jurisdictions.

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    Tell you what, Central SUCKS. I will say it over and over again. Nothing but billing problems, Damage, and BAD customer service.
    They cannot turn you into collections. Maybe their collections, but they don't have any right to collect the charges from you.
    The shipper had an account, its their problem. I agree with telling them to F*** off, and while you are at it give them one for me too.
    I will say anything I can about them, I have been to court with them and lost a lot of money and time from them.
    Actually the charges are probably paid already, and they screwed up. I had been double billed with almost every shipment I sent with them. They are terrible.

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    I am sure I have the shipping receipt I signed somewhere, but I doubt it has anything on it other than "received in good condition". What amazes me is that they seem to think it is legitimate to try to collect the debt from me. And that they transfered me to a collections answering machine asking me to leave my number so they could call me back!

    I doubt any complaint to PayPal will have an effect. I already called the phone number of Bay Machinery, it is now being answered by an unrelated party. They have apparently skipped town. This is one of the many reasons I do not trust PayPal. They aren't like a banking institution. No skin in the game. I use PayPal, but I keep them at arms length from my financial information.

    I have no intention of paying. I doubt they can do any damage to my credit, if so they risk a libel tort action.

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    swarf, here is some interesting reading regarding shipping charges and bills of lading. Go to part II for the bills of lading part. The entire thing is lengthy but interesting reading and facts. It may of involved the railroad, but some good ICC law.

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...=456&invol=336

    Les

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    Good link, Les.

    It would appear that the Supreme Court doesn't have any misunderstandings as to who makes up the contracting parties to a uniform bill of lading, and any mention of the consignee is conspicuously absent.

    In reading that decision, its hard to imagine what sort of attorneys (for the shipper) would have recommended taking a case to the Supreme Court based on an affirmative defense when the amount in contention was only $13,000. That is a very risky route to take, and is considered the defense of last resort. Since the legal fees for the defendant could have easily topped a quarter million, it would appear their main loss was not to Southern Pacific, but rather to some group of attorneys who milked a case they should have known they would probably eventually lose. ICC cases are automatically referred to federal court, and it would be doubtful that the defendant's legal costs even at the first (district) level would have been less than the amount in question. In other words, if they won at the district level (which they did), they would most likely have still had a net $$ loss as compared to just paying the RR's bill.

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    As for "fine print" on the back of a document...

    Many federal rules requires a minimum of 8-point type. Anything smaller and the drafter of the document just might lose their position on any "contractual" clause in smaller print.

    Not a lawyer, subject to local validation, your milage may vary, etc., etc.... usual pussy-footing phrases.

  13. #12
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    Freight laws can be pretty funky. In running a business, I have seen a few things happen that I didn't think were possible, but my lawyer told me different. For example, if a trucking firm offers you a super deal on freight, and you sign up, and
    he goes bankrupt, the courts can come back on you if he offered a rate below the tarriff, and you can be charged the difference by the bankruptcy trustee. Had this happen. Here's another, this time UPS. We were making parts for a West coast electronics assembler, fob our dock. They gave us their UPS number to ship against, a standard practice in our industry. They went bankrupt. UPS sent us the bill for their freight, claiming that as the freight originated with us, we were liable. It is in the fine print on your UPS account contract, so be careful. They froze our
    account, we couldn't get them to pick up anything and our other customers were affected. After a lot of legal wrangling, (damage due to lost business, back charges from customers for late deliveries,etc. etc. etc.,) we worked out a payment plan. Seems UPS had known for several months the account was bad, but didn't let us know. In the meantime, several thousand dollars in shipping charges built up on this bad account, and we were tagged.
    The moral of the story is that the freight business has been legislated near to death by the railroads, trucking interests, and the government, and the rules that have resulted bear no evidence of common sense or morality. When the average guy uses this system and expects "fair play", he's already "bent over" before the game begins, so be careful.-JM

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    I suspect the $13,000 suit that Les referred to was more about establishing the principal than the $13,000. Probably a lot of other unpaid bills in their files and a decision in their favor might help collect them. And prevent some future defaults.

    But, what does it say about our legal system when a $13,000 dispute is too small to economically even go to the district court for review? No wonder we have TV courts.

    Paul A.

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    Les,

    The reference is interesting, but a bit the reverse situation. In that case the consignee was supposed to pay the charges but defaulted, and SP came after the consignor. I suppose I need to delve into the peculiarities of ICC bills of lading, however the Contracts clause of the Constitution guarantees the freedom to make contracts (if I recall correctly). This would be meaningless without also presuming the right NOT to make contracts.

    The shipper had a contract with the carrier. I did not. Central Transport apparently uses the VICS standard bill of lading, it is available for download on their website. There is nothing on it to remotely suggest that anyone but the shipper is responsible for charges, indeed, it states, "The carrier shall not make delivery of this shipment without payment of freight and all other lawful charges." They delivered it. They left. It seems like my involvement with them is finished.

    **On further review, the "carrier shall not make delivery" clause appears to be invoked by the shipper's signature, and applied to a COD or consignee paid shipping situation. It is the failure to invoke this clause that was sited by the Supreme Court as the reason the consignor is the responsible for the charges. Signing would have prevented the carrier from collecting from the consignor, therefore the requirement of being paid before delivery.

    In my case, this clause is not signed (nor would that have made any difference). The prepaid box is clearly checked, and on the reverse side the Freight Terms are listed as "Freight charges prepaid". My signature appears in a box that only specifies "received" not even necessarily in good order.

    It appears to me they haven't a leg to stand on. If I could speak to someone in their legal department I would, just to try to understand the legal theory they are using. But I doubt I could get such a person on the phone.

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    Swarf, the case is still on point since the decision defines precisely who the contracting parties are on a uniform bill of lading. And, FWIW, you ain't one of them parties

    Paul A,
    The problem with this case lies in the fact that the attorneys took it to this level based on an affirmative defense.

    The following would be an example of an affirmative defense, perhaps a bit extreme but the essence is the same...... "yes, your honor, I was driving drunk and I was speeding and I did run a red light when I hit the plaintiff, but he had a headlight out, and since that's a violation of the law, I am not at fault in this accident." In an affirmative defense, you basically stipulate to the charges and then take it upon yourself to prove why you're still innocent, blameless, or not responsible, depending upon the facts of the case. You make the prosecutor's case (or the plaintiff's) for him, and then try to convince the court you're still in the right. All the opposing lawyer has to do is tell the court "yeah, but all that's got no bearing on the question at hand". See what I meant when I said "defense of last resort"?

    There would be little doubt SP appealed and spent a lot of money doing so just to set the precedent. Their cheapest route would have also been to just forget it after the decision at the district level, but the fact that they were beaten there by an affirmative defense made their odds of success much better statistically as they moved on up the chain.

    As regards the defendant in this case, a good attorney has the duty to advise his client when the case doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of ultimate success. Given the amount in question, and the sole line of available defense, an attorney who was far below the rank of "good" would have known this was a loser for the client right out of the box.

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    I realize this was 12 years ago, but whatever happened with the case against you? Central Transport is currently pulling the same bit on me with an eBay purchase. Problem is it occurred 4 years ago and eBay nor PayPal care to help me.

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 04xb12s View Post
    I realize this was 12 years ago, but whatever happened with the case against you? Central Transport is currently pulling the same bit on me with an eBay purchase. Problem is it occurred 4 years ago and eBay nor PayPal care to help me.
    No good advice to give you, but the moral of the story seems to be: "do not use Central Transport".

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    Intresting thought this was a common problem but it seems by what Im reading here apparently not few yrs ago wanted a new hardened/ground one piece 40m/t short arbor think it was about 8ins long. Looked at UK suppliers couldnt find one could have bought a long one and shortened it myself but boy they were expensive.Looked at USA sites and found what I wanted about 1/3rd of what I had budgeted for one a stonking deal so bought it delivery costs doubled the cost so was now a third of my budget still in profit heard nothing and the delivery date came and went tracked it and it was being held at customs and they wanted paid before it would be released when I say customs cant remember but it was being held by someone who wouldnt release it untill I paid and I thought conned again didnt know about this hidden charge all in all the total well exceeded what I wanted to spend.Top it all it ran out and the shaft snapped off after 2wks it was chinese junk didnt check carefully thought I was buying a USA tool,didnt pursue the matter put it down to experience

  20. #19
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    I beleive the same nonsene happened to brian at versamil a few years ago when reliable tool went under. Dont think he posted what happened after all the dust settled.

  21. #20
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    This should be simple.

    2 actions.

    First contact PayPal as you paid and vendor did not sell as described or whatever description so request full credit for sale as in cancel the transaction and seller can pick it up with storage charges.

    If they give any problem then contact bank if you used credit card (always use credit card) and be clear all details are included even your attempt to work with paypal.

    Be sure you make official request for FULL REFUND on the return and that due to the issue being shipping the vendor will need to perform all actions including rigging pickup and payment of shipper in advance as in shipper must arrive with document indicating "paid in full" and most do so within 30 days otherwise considered abondonded.

    Bank should temp credit the amount then after checking with pay pay confirm the dispute and that you tried to return it they should issue credit and call it a day.

    PayPal cannot come back either.

    At day 30 done.

    If vendor wants it then remind them to contact PayPal as it may take awhile for PayPal to get their money back from the vendor and the terms will be in there.

    May not work...but use the tools PayPal and your bank have and get either shipping or total refunded.



    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk


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