• QA 014
    If a container is formally opened and resealed, can a receiver reject it ?
    General concern regarding food security has reached a level where some roasters may perhaps refuse to accept containers that have been opened and resealed, irrespective of by who this was done. If so then this puts the exporter in an untenable position.
    Asked by:
    A grower cooperative in Papua New Guinea

    There have been instances reported where receivers have refused to take delivery of containers whose seal is not intact, considering such containers to be suspect. That is to say, irrespective of whether the goods are damaged/contaminated or not. This is a serious issue.

    As yet there is no established pattern as to responsibility.
    If the coffee was bought from an importer then the importer will have paid for the coffee and would have to try and claim any loss from who-ever: the shipping company, the underwriters, the shippers themselves….
    If a shipper had sold this coffee direct to a final receiver (for example basis FOB) then, again presumably, he or she would have been paid for it and would then be faced with a claim for refund of that payment, together with all other charges.

    These are questions for which there are no immediate answers - some might have to be resolved through arbitrations of principle (*). The best advice we can offer is that you discuss this issue thoroughly with your insurance company and shipping agents.

    Posted 16 February 2005

     (*) Both parties to a contract jointly seek an answer to a fundamental question of principle.
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    QA 012