Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/69

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Preventing vs. Paying Claims

require the indignant consignee to pay the freight on all six boxes before removing the other five. The consignee is told to file a claim, which then makes its weary round through the circumlocution office where clerks are called investigators. Such companies say in effect to the agent: “Yes, you are a good fellow; you get us a lot of business; you handle thousands of dollars of our money; you represent us in many things; you must understand, however, that a freight claim is a specialty requiring expert advice; a bad precedent might involve us in the future; you know, too, we might be criticised as opening the way to grafting by some other agents if we let you pay out money without authority from the accounting department; yes, we like your work and expect to promote you in the sweet by-and-by,” etc., ad nauseam. Fortunately, these narrow views are giving place to more enlightened practices. On several railways in Texas most station agents are authorized to settle instanter certain classes of palpably just claims up to $20 or $25.

Among the practical advantages of claim control by the operating department are quicker recognition of lax methods causing claims, better discipline and morals of train