On the 18th of June 2014, there are some important changes to COGA.
COGA is NZ legislation which binds the seller, the buyer and the transport company, we act on your behalf when issues arise that require claims. That said outsourcing distribution does not mean a clients responsibility under the act diminishes, they still need to be aware of their liability and how to manage the receiver of their goods to ensure there are adequate systems in place to avoid contention and ensure happy customers all around.
Our claims record is pretty good, last year we recorded around 30k of settled claims against 250M of goods transported (.01%, or 1 tenth of 1%) , that said when a misadventure occurs it can cause temperatures to rise faster than the speed of light , Murphies law also dictates that if there is very rarely one claim for a client often they seem to come in lots of three – I have no idea why. The temperature rising is almost always because of a lack of understanding around COGA and who covers what, initially a lot of clients think that carriers cover them for all issues but in reality clients need to (and should) have some commercial consideration built into their margins for loss and damage as they are in the business of moving stuff and things happen that are not always black and white. They also need work with their customers who sign the POD as this concludes the transaction and the legal agreement that exists between you and them. We offer some good advice around this issue in our welcome pack, if you want a copy or have lost yours contact us for an updated one.
Anecdotally it looks like the changes are both increasing the carriers liability whilst concurrently putting more responsibility on to the seller – you.
Of key interest to all of our clients, the 1500.00 liability cap is being lifted to 2000.00 (note this includes GST) so that’s great.
However there is also some wording we are seeking clarification on that I’d like to bring to your attention as well:
Guarantee of delivery
From 17 June 2014, the supplier of goods is liable to the consumer where goods arrive damaged, late or fail to arrive at all – even when the carrier caused the problem. These changes increase your liability to consumers. Make sure you:
- are comfortable with your liability provisions in the terms of your carriage contracts
- have appropriate insurance, particularly if the items you send are valuable
- have good processes for claims and communicating with consumers. The Consumer Guarantees Act requires consumers to bring faults to your attention within a reasonable time, but this might not fall within the time frame you have agreed in your carriage contract.
In the meantime we strongly recommend you
- talk to your insurance brokers to ensure your insurance is still adequate.
- check out this link consumer_affairs_govt_article
Note the contracts we hold with our carriers are Limited Carriers Risk, will update you in due course if we find out any info we think is material for you to know.