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Aquatic Plants & Animals for Your Pond & Aquarium.

Greenhouses & Hatcheries at 7125 Tanglewood Dr, Independence OH. 44131 1-800-524-3492

How to Receive Large Items Shipped by Freight

What is a freight shipment?

First off, be assured that your shipment is insured during transit. What happens during delivery depends on the service. If you have lift-gate service or curbside delivery (see below), then your merchandise is insured until the trucker off-loads the merchandise and sets it on the ground. If you don't have lift-gate service, then you are responsible for off-loading the merchandise and you take possession on the truck. If you damage it while taking it off the truck, then the insurance won't cover the damage. Take photos before you take possession.

A "freight" shipment doesn't go by UPS, FedEx or the like (called "common carrier"). These companies have a limit on the size and weight of the boxes.

When your order is too large or too fragile for UPS, FedEx, etc. then it'll ship via "Freight". Bulk orders might ship freight if it's more economical than shipping several packages.

A freight shipment can arrive by an 18-wheeler semi truck or a 40-ft truck. If you live in a gated community it may not allow semi trucks to get to your home. You'll have to let us know or the shipper when you get the email about it shipping so that we arrangements to deliver your goods with an acceptable truck can be made.

Unloading with a lift-gate in residential area.

A "lift-gate" is the elevator at the back of the truck. It lowers your crate or pallet to the ground. It's about 4-feet from the truck bed to the ground. This is also referred to as "curbside" delivery because the trucker is not required to move the merchandise beyond the curb. They are not to leave it in the street.

Some truckers carry a pallet jack to move your crate beyond the back of the truck. We always request this but cannot promise it as it is not a service the trucking company offers. The driver may or may not have a pallet jack. You can rent a pallet jack for the day from a local rental center.

A ramp is not good for crates or pallets because the goods can easily topple over crashing to the ground.

Thus, "freight" shipments are all about scheduling so that the truck making your delivery is properly equipped.

Sometimes your shipment may go via rail (train) and can be delayed. Rail or highway delays can happen due to unforeseen events such as floods wiping out major bridges, hurricanes, or earthquakes.

What should I expect from freight shipments?

The receiving depot near you won't schedule delivery to your home until it arrives at the receiving depot and they have the right truck scheduled. When they call you, confirm that the truck will have a lift-gate if you ordered one. Confirm absolutely everything with them and ask questions so that you know what to expect. Please have patience and understand that delays can happen.

Expect an 18-wheeler or a smaller 40-ft truck to pull up to deliver your merchandise. If you live in a restricted/gated community that limits trucks, please notify the shipper when it ships and you have the tracking information.

The great majority of orders arrive intact without damage. However, once in a while, items are damaged during transit. We note here some of the more common issues so that you are prepared just in case.

Replacement items cannot be sent to production or authorized to be shipped until the damage is confirmed by the manufacturer and shipper. Tricker's "Value-Added Program" ensures that your replacement is put into production right away if you follow our instructions. Otherwise it can take up to a month or longer for the shipper to confirm the damage and honor the insurance, and your order cannot be started until then. Photos are valuable in this process. You may be sent a repair kit or only the damaged parts may be replaced if your claim is approved.

When your freight shipment leaves the factory, you'll receive an email with the tracking number (PRO) and shipper contact information. A link to this page was included in your order email so that you can refer to it. You can follow your shipment at their website. They will not notify residential deliveries until it reaches the receiving depot.

Residential deliveries will have a "scheduled delivery" where the freight company will phone you to schedule delivery (this does not apply to commercial or construction zones). That will be the time to clarify any questions that you may have about the delivery process.

Damaged or Not Damaged

Keep Tricker's phone number available in case there are serious problems that need to be remedied during delivery. Don't let the truck driver try to rush you. Generally, you have about 20 minutes to inspect the shipment and decide to either accept it or not. Do not refuse it unless there is major damage. See below for more information.

In case of damage or if you refuse the shipment, you will need to document the damage and send us the documentation (e.g., photos) to file with the freight company for insurance purposes. Your help is greatly appreciated.

NOTE: Damage is not scruff marks or minor chips. It is not damage to the packing material, either. You will be able to repair scruff marks or minor chips with a kit that will be supplied to you. Look for large cracks and severely damaged (crushed) packing material. You can accept a questionable shipment and file a claim later only if you write on the receipt "subject to inspection", "trucker will not wait", and other observations that you have made. After the truck leaves you can unpackage it for a more detailed inspection.

You have the option to refuse shipment if you notice any type of damage to either your merchandise or the packing material. However, if the damage could have been remedied with a kit that will be sent to you or by other means, then you will pay the shipping costs again both ways (to return and reship). If you refuse a good shipment, then you are responsible for shipping and storage costs where applicable. If the packing material is damaged, then your merchandise may be damaged or not. The truck driver will not wait around for you to unpack the merchandise and inspect each and every item. They generally give you about 20 minutes for inspection. If there is damage or other issues, keep everything, including packing material until your claim is approved.

Don't fret about accepting the shipment when in doubt. Claims have been issued afterwards depending on the circumstances.

Here are general guidelines for you to consider.

  1. INSPECT IMMEDIATELY and report any damage to us within 2 days. We cannot guarantee any claim will be approved if you wait a week or longer to file your claim because you must be able to prove that the damage occurred during transit to you.
  2. MINOR MARKS-SCRATCHES: ACCEPT THE SHIPMENT. DO NOT REFUSE. Rubbings and scratches in the finish from movement in the packaging can occur. If this is the case, then take a photo and send it to us. The manufacturer will determine whether to repair or replace the item if your claim is approved.
  3. CRACKS and OTHER LARGE DAMAGE: You can refuse the shipment. If you accept and sign for the merchandise, then it will be harder to prove that the damage occurred during transit to you. Thus a camera is highly recommended. Take a photo of the damage with the truck in the photograph.
  4. ANY DAMAGE: Have a camera ready to take a photo of any damaged goods. Try to get a photo of the damaged with the delivery truck in the background. You can refuse to accept the goods.
  5. IF YOU NOTICE DAMAGE, EVEN TO THE PACKING MATERIAL, then write on the receipt (BOL) that there was damage.
  6. IF YOU ACCEPT THE SHIPMENT AND DO NOT NOTICE DAMAGE UNTIL YOU UNPACK YOUR ORDER, then take detailed, in-focus photos of the damaged parts. Send the photos to us and we'll file the insurance claim for you.
  7. Always get a copy of the signed documentation from the trucker noting the damaged packing material, and/or goods. THIS IS YOUR BEST DOCUMENTATION to prove damage occurred during transit to you.

We must be notified within two (2) days of receiving damaged goods. If you don't think you can inspect the goods for a while, then let us know when you expect to be able to inspect your order and we'll ask for an exception from the shipper.

If your order arrives damaged, then follow the instructions here.
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Receiving Instructions

Residential deliveries should expect a phone call in the near future to schedule final delivery to you. Commercial and construction deliveries will show up during normal business hours.

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated to make this a smooth delivery for you. If you are not present to receive the goods, then print a copy of these instructions and give it to whomever will be signing for your order. Keep our phone number available during delivery in case you need to consult with us during delivery.

Have a camera available during delivery to take photos of the damage, even if you refuse the shipment.

IF YOU ORDERED LIFT-GATE SERVICE or INSIDE DELIVERY, THEN CONFIRM WITH THE FREIGHT COMPANY. You can contact them tracking information in your email.

If the truck does not have a lift-gate (the elevator to lower your merchandise off the truck), then you can either help unload the merchandise and get a refund for the lift-gate service or send the truck back to get a one with a lift-gate. NOTE THIS ON YOUR FREIGHT RECEIPT and please let us know this happened so we can issue a refund if you accepted the goods without a lift-gate and you paid for one. A refund cannot be made if you did not note on the receipt that there was no lift-gate.

PLEASE NOTE: Recipient is responsible for damage after freight is signed for. Thoroughly inspect, and get photos, and mark "subject to inspection" on the receipt before signing.

If you received damaged goods, then

  • GET A COPY OF WHAT YOU SIGN, even if you have to photograph it.
  • HAVE A CAMERA available to take photos of the damage in case you refuse the shipment. Do not refuse the shipment unless you have photos.

If you did receive damaged goods and need to file a freight claim, then send us a copy of the signed receipt and in-focus detailed photos of the damage so that your claim can get started right away with the shipper.


When you get notice of shipment, you will have the tracking number and contact information of the shipping company. We won't know who ships it until your order ships. At that time, you generally do not need to contact the shipper especially for residential areas because they will call you to schedule delivery. Check the phone number on your order to ensure it is correct. If not, let us know so that we can notify the shipper of the correct number to call.

When the shipper calls to schedule delivery (residential areas), confirm that there is a lift-gate if you ordered one. You can also ask about and request a Pallet Jack. Confirm the delivery address.

When the truck arrives,

  1. Have your camera ready to take photos of any damage that may exist.
  2. Keep Tricker's phone numbers on hand (1-800-524-3492 and 1-855-222-1001) in case you need to contact us during delivery.
  3. Inspect the goods and note any issues on the receipt.
  4. Get a copy of the receipt even if you have to photograph it.

Remember that the great majority of shipments are successfully delivered.