I had a call from a carrier last week. He was asking how he should deal with the situation where one of his drivers did a delivery to a company who did not have a pallet account. The receiver did not have any empty pallets to exchange and now the carrier is having difficulty getting back his pallets.
His driver originally did a pickup from a 3PL warehouse. He contacted the 3PL and they said they didn't have any dealings with the receiver and could not help him. The 3PL said they would contact the company they were storing the goods for and see if they could help. The owner of the goods did have a trading relationship with the receiver as they had sold them the goods but they said it was the responsibility of the 3PL to manage the pallets.
Obviously it would have been good if all parties had written agreements where their position in this situation was clear.
The carrier wanted to invoice the receiver for the pallets but the chances of getting paid would be next to zero. The pallet hire companies could also see this as a breach of their terms for you cannot sell their equipment.
Some would say that the driver should not have dropped off the pallets. He cannot undo what he has done so how can he resolve this common problem?