[posted May 7, 2012]
Fine Print - Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities
While everyone wishes to believe that they are perfect and free of faults, the simple truth is everyone has their own flaws. Whether we choose to admit it or not, none of us are perfect and accidents may get in the way of our everyday lives. We at Ice Machines Plus want to educate our customers about their right to refuse a damaged or malfunctioning product, and provide the proper procedure to follow to assure they receive a fully functioning, well-designed ice machine, free from flaws - whether they are aesthetic or operational.
It can be a helpless feeling. You ordered a new piece of equipment, waited one to two weeks for it to arrive, and found that there was a large hidden scratch or dent in it (called concealed damage) or that it did not operate correctly, but there is nothing the seller will do for you because you signed for it. We do not want you to feel helpless. But you should understand the following prior to delivery: By signing your name, you are not only saying that you received the product, but you are stating that you accept the product in its current state and condition.
Your signature should not meet the paper until a complete and thorough inspection is performed on the entire product. That cannot be stressed enough. Once you sign the Receipt of Delivery or Bill of Lading without noting any problems, you are stating that the product has been delivered and is in acceptable working condition. With your signature, the product becomes your property and so does the responsibility for addressing any problems caused during shipping.
For argument’s sake, we will assume that during your inspection you found a scratch or dent that ruins the aesthetic appeal, but is simply minor cosmetic damage. In this case, Ice Machines Plus can assist you in ordering new or replacement parts for your product. It is recommended that you accept the delivery and take pictures of the affected area and of any damage to the box or container of the product. You must note on the Bill of Lading or Receipt of Delivery that there was cosmetic external damage to your item so that you can pursue a claim with the freight carrier for reimbursement for any replacement part.
For more serious damage, or for a product that requires full replacement, you will likely need to submit a claim for the full value of the item to the freight company if you accept the shipment and they will conduct an inspection of the damaged goods. Your better action would be to refuse the delivery entirely noting that the goods are damaged. This will be noted on the shipping documents and the item(s) returned to point of origin. In the meantime, as you will need your product, you must let us know immediately so we can get a replacement to you. IF you accept the damaged shipment and sign for it, you must separately order a replacement and you will be hopefully reimbursed for the value of the original by the shipping company. This can be a hassle, but it is the fastest, most efficient way to get you a proper working ice machine if you sign for damaged items. Therefore, it is important to note that if you sign without inspecting the product, you will eliminate your opportunity to replace the product and to file a freight claim. Why cause yourself this headache when a simple inspection can alleviate potential frustration?
In another instance, you may find damage after the freight carrier has left. In this case of concealed damage, you must contact the freight carrier immediately and notify them in writing about the damage found. You should follow the same protocol as above for ordering a replacement, calling us to see if we can provide you with better assistance related to the non-functioning product. The steps will be the same and involve placing your order again while your freight claim is processed with the carrier. All damage must be reported to Ice Machines Plus within two days of the delivery for it to be acknowledged.
It is also the customer’s responsibility to make sure that they have received the correct item and the correct number of items, with all parts present at delivery. For any error made on Ice Machines Plus's part, or if any item is lost in transit, a full replacement or reimbursement of the product will result. The customer will also not be charged any restocking fee for returning an incorrect item. However, a refused shipment for any other reason will result in the customer being charged shipping and delivery fees both ways, and will be subject to a minimum 25 percent restocking fee. A redelivery fee will apply if a customer controlled issue arises and you cannot be present at the time of delivery.
In the simplest language possible, you should carefully look at everything you receive BEFORE the freight driver leaves. A total inspection of the delivered item(s) is really a required step if you want to prevent frustration or confusion later. You should look at both the packaging and the product. You should thoroughly search for any dings, dents, abrasions, cracks, or punctures that the product may have incurred during shipping. You should check the product internally and externally to the very best of your abilities to assure you are not signing to receive anything less than what you ordered. If you own a business and one of your employees will be accepting the shipment, it is imperative that you teach them how to correctly inspect a product for errors and imperfections. If you are not present at time of delivery, this does not waive your responsibility for the inspection and the signing for the order in acceptable working condition. Whoever is receiving the ordered items is acting as your authorized agent. They are thus responsible for conducting the delivery inspection. Their signature acts the same as yours and accepts the product as is.
No one enjoys going through this process, but it is in place to acknowledge the fact that accidents inevitably do happen, and we wish to resolve them in the fastest, most pain free way possible. You deserve to know that you have the right to refuse a product that does not arrive as advertised or that will not work properly. Be sure you do not sign for a product unless you are willing to accept it in its present condition, and it is completely free of faults and measures up to your standards.
This article was meant to shed a bit of light on your rights as a customer, and highlight what can be considered the “fine print” that often goes overlooked. At Ice Machines Plus, we are not satisfied until you are, when you receive the correct, fully functioning product that you had expected to receive.
Ice Machines Plus