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What is this you ask? Well many smart, well meaning exhibitors, in their rush to save a few dollars, plan ahead and line up their own freight company to take their trade show merchandise back home, which most of the time, is at a much lower rate than using the “official show carrier.”

In the show rules, it will state that if the carrier that you’ve selected doesn’t show up before a certain time, then the show decorator can return it to you (that’s the good news) via any method he chooses. (that’s the real bad news) In the line up of trucks waiting at the end of the show to gain access to the show floor to pick up your freight, often times they’re a few minutes late, more recently show contractors ask that the carriers sign in by 8 am even though they don't pick up till noon or later. 

What has happened here is a conspiracy between the decorator, a.k.a. the show contractor, and the air freight company. To be selected as the “official show freight carrier” the air freight company agrees to rebate back to the decorator, a percentage of all shipping charges they collect. So what’s their incentive to find the most economical way to return your property you might ask? None!

The decorator will hand over to the official air freight carrier, all your show material and ask that it be delivered back to you via “2nd DAY AIR,” even though your own carrier was going to take it back via “economy ground” service.

What you thought was going to cost you $1,200, ends up costing over $3,000. Now, that’s real pain! Yes, it happened to me in Philadelphia years ago. 

Written by Lowell Nickens  Google + profile