State-of-the-art website, crystal clear offer, promises of the highest quality – this is how many carriers advertise their services. While choosing a transport company, it is advised to verify the reliability of a potential business partner. The market is full of fraudulent companies that break the law and commit scams, this is why it is crucial to optimally minimise the risk and derive information from a reliable source.
How to verify a carrier?
The use of false documents, impersonation of another company, fabricating false references, or online word-of-mouth marketing are a powerful weapon in the arsenal of fraudsters that prey on customers that are too trusting or those who really are in a hurry.
Here’s a basic set of tools that will ensure the effective verification of any carrier:
Thorough documentation check
The first step is to see whether the carrier has solid documentation, that is, to take a closer look at the documents, which entitle them to conduct business activity in the transport, freight forwarding and logistics industry.
How to do this?
In particular, check:
- mmthe entry in the register of business activitymmm
Do not skip the comparison of data with the Companies House database.
- certificate of tax identification number assignment
Verification of the tax ID number is time-consuming, yet very important. Keep this in mind, especially when you start working with a new counterparty.
- licence for providing intermediary services in the transport of goods
It is important to additionally check the licence against external databases and verify whether it was actually issued by the specified institution.
- bank details
Different bank details on the documents should be a trigger for a more thorough verification of the transport company.
- vehicle registration certificate
Verification of the registration certificate should be done each time during loading.
The convergence of data on different documents is very important. Attention to details often allows for eliminating the risk of cooperation with a questionable counterparty. It is also worth checking whether all the documents are originals, or at least notarised copies.
Carrier’s liability insurance coverage
Always check the insurance policy coverage, as in case of failure to meet the terms of the contract by the carrier or any unforeseen circumstances, this is the document that in fact protects the counterparty.
While verifying the carrier’s liability insurance, the following aspects should be taken into account:
- scope of insurance protection (clauses)
- sum insured
- payment of the current premium
In order to get the most accurate information, it is advised to contact the insurer directly.
Recommendations and customer opinions
The choice of a business partner is determined mainly by positive opinions. When analysing recommendations, you should pay attention to:
- the comments published on the Internet
- the opinions on transport exchanges
- order history
- the presence in the registers of debtors
It is important to mind the frequency of cooperation of the counterparty undergoing verification with the entities that submit opinions. Regular partners do not always give negative feedback, which that particular transport company might have deserved.
Checking the driver’s documents
To prevent having a load stolen by a fraudulent carrier, it is advisable to check the driver’s documents during loading, and in case of doubt contact the carrier directly to make sure that you are not dealing with a fraudster. However, these steps are not enough to avoid theft. They will not help if the scammer is a subcontractor, not the actual transport company with which the freight forwarder has entered into a carriage contract.
During the conversation, pay attention to details, as this is how you can easily detect discrepancies between the information obtained from the carrier, driver or job coordinator. These can be the documents that the driver has with him/her.
It should be noted, however, that the choice of a carrier should only be made upon verifying all the elements, since only the complete subcontractor verification allows for minimising the risk of theft or fraud.