How to Inspect a Freight Shipment for Damages

Mattress Freight ShipmentYour mattress shipment has arrived! The delivery truck pulls up to your warehouse, and your team unloads the bags of mattresses, covers, bunk beds and furniture from your manufacturer. Now you're ready to sign off on the freight shipment and move on with your day.

But wait. Don't get ahead of yourself. Did you inspect your shipment for damages?

Hadn't thought of that? No problem. Here's how to get started.

Survey before you sign.

Timing is everything. Check your shipment before the driver leaves. Once the driver is gone, getting the product back to the sender is your responsibility. If you later find damages that you did not note on the delivery receipt, you'll need to reorder replacements for the damaged products.

Because freight companies don't cover anything that wasn't noted on the delivery receipt, neither do most supply companies. The reason for this is that if damages weren't noted on the delivery receipt, it's impossible to prove whether the damage was done by the carrier or the customer.

Pro Tip: Generally, packages are only insured while they're inside the truck. If any damages occur during transit from the truck into your facility, that is your responsibility.

Take notice and make notes.

While it would be ideal to open each box individually and confirm you received the right items in perfect condition, you can't expect the driver to wait while you do that. He has places to go and products to deliver! 

However, here's what you can do:

  • Inspect the outside of each box/bag. Note on the bill of lading which boxes are damaged and how. Be specific with descriptions like "box has crushed corner" or "bag has hole on long side".
  • Look at the stretch wrap. If stretch wrap was used to package the boxes on the pallets, look to see if there are any places where the stretch wrap was torn or pulled away. These could be signs that part of your shipment is missing.
  • Count. Make sure the quantities delivered match the bill of lading. If you received a pallet shipment, don't just count the pallets. Count the boxes on each pallet.

If there is a problem with your shipment and you need to file a claim with your supplier, do so in a timely manner. Most companies have some sort of grace period when they will pay for damages or misshipments.

If you find damages to your delivery after the driver leaves, submit your claim as soon as possible. Shipping companies have varied windows of opportunity for filing claims, but sooner is always better for all parties involved.

If you have specific questions about the shipping and receiving processes at American Bedding Manufacturers, Inc., let us know! You can call us at 1(800) 203-2507 or send an email to

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