Shipping company reneged on contract for package delivery

Dear Mrs Macaulay,

I used a prominent shipping company to ship items to Jamaica; however, the package has been with this company for over six months with no clear communication as to when it will be received. Please advise what next steps can be taken in terms of seeking reimbursement for the items as I believe this has surpassed delivery within a reasonable time frame.

I note that you say the company has had the package, but as you have not related any facts to support that statement, I have translated this to the actual fact that the company has not informed you when it will make your package available to you as it seems that you do not really know whether your package has been lost, misplaced, misdirected, or stolen. In other words, you do not really know what has happened to your package; the company has not told you anything and six months have passed.

You have asked what next steps you should take to ensure reimbursement for the items you shipped, and I'll add your expenses for the shipment and expenses which you had to meet in making enquiries of the company about your package, which would be "specific damages", and then "general damages" for the breach of your contract with them and for them to pay the costs of your pursuit of your legal claim.

So what should you do? You should retain the services of a lawyer to prepare your claim. The lawyer may first send a letter — before action to the company — with the details of the total special damages, and stating that you are also going to claim general damages for breach of contract and also the legal costs of the claim. It would state that if they do not pay the total claimed and make a reasonable offer for general damages before the expiration of 30 days after the receipt of the letter, the claim would be filed in court, which would mean the costs would be higher and the general damages would be determined by the court. In such circumstances, the company may decide to settle your claim rather than go to trial, which would expose them to publicity which may adversely affect their business. It would be very important, if they wish to settle your claim, for your lawyer's negotiation skills to be extremely good so that you can get your just damages.

The long and short of it is that you have to sue the company for all that you have lost because of their breach of contract and probably their negligence by not properly securing your package and ensuring that you got safe delivery of it.

So please go and retain your lawyer and pursue your claim in court, which is why laws exist for those kinds of failures or intentional breaches of contracts.

All the very best.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.

Margarette MACAULAY

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