Timely request for an inspection


Q, We bought a load of watermelons under FOB DRC Good Arrival terms. The load was received on a Thursday evening and on Friday morning we contacted the shipper to let him know that we were requesting a CFIA inspection. The CFIA inspection was performed on Monday. The results of the inspection show the product failed to meet DRC Good Arrival by 1% and we have already sold a portion of the product. After several discussions with the shipper, they are only willing to offer a small price adjustment. What would be DRC’s advice on this matter?

A.Jaime Bustamante: First of all, you took the correct actions by informing the shipper and requesting the inspection in a timely manner and proceeded in accordance with DRC Trading Standards. While we understand that you are not in control of how long it takes to get the product inspected, as a FOB buyer, this time delay falls under the buyer’s responsibility. Unfortunately, you have three elements against you in trying to claim damages against the shipper:

  1. Timely Inspection – The inspection was performed four days after arrival.
  2. DRC Good Arrival Guidelines- The inspection report indicates the product failed only by 1% which could mean that if inspected upon arrival, the product could have met DRC Good Arrival tolerances.
  3. Representative Sample – Because a portion of the product was not available for inspection, it needs to be determined if the amount of product inspected is considered a representative sample. The rule of thumb for product inspected to be considered a representative sample is: “more than 75% of the load needs to be available for the inspection”.

As a side note, by receiving product and selling a portion of it prior to getting it inspected, you have lost the right to reject that product. You can offer the shipper to move the product out but, they will be under no obligation to accept it. Unloading the product for any other purpose than an inspection is an act of acceptance.

We would also like to point out that, in our experience, a lot which fails DRC Good Arrival Guidelines by 1% four days after arrival would almost surely have made good arrival if inspected the day it arrived.