I thought I would share a story that happened to me regarding shipping gas pumps.
Last October I had a pump restoration company from the Atlanta Ga area contact me and bought a couple gas pumps. They sent the payment and all is good there. They next made all the arrangements with the freight company to pick up the pumps, I did not have anything to do with those arrangements. My only involvement was to open the door and roll the pumps out to be loaded by the freight company. They loaded them and left, all done story over.
No the story is not over and the following actually happened to me. Last month I got a call from a company that specializes in debt collection for freight companies. They stated that the person in Atlanta failed to pay the freight bill and after months of trying to collect from him they turned their sights on me citing Shipper Liability Laws.
Let me make this story brief since I laid out the background. Read up on shipper liability laws. The laws are written to protect freight companies. Basically the law reads "the freight company will be paid either by the consignor or the consignee". Even thou I had no involvement in making arrangements with the freight company I did become involved when I signed the Bill of Lading releasing the pumps, in essence when I signed the BoL I agreed with the contract between the freight company and the consigner. A Bill of Lading is a legally binding contract and there is a section #7 in most BoL that would have offered me some protection had I known about section 7. I write this to offer some education and opinion when it comes to shipping.....handle all the arrangements and pay the bill yourself!
As a side note I spoke with several lawyers and every one said don't pay it because the dollar amount was not enough to make it worthwhile to take me to small claims court, at worst they might hit my credit score. One thing about me... I always pay my bills no matter what but I am not a charity for deadbeats. However in this case the law was not on my side and I was able to negotiate a token settlement to clear the matter up. In the end I chalked it up to a learning experience and it's nice not having a collection agency hounding my *****.