7 CFR 46.31 - Duties of shippers.
(a) General. The responsibilities of shippers vary with their contracts with growers to purchase produce or to handle produce on joint account. Similarly, their responsibilities to their customers depend upon their contracts to sell, consign or joint account produce with dealers on terminal markets. Shippers shall pay promptly for produce purchased and any deficits incurred on consigned shipments. They shall fully comply with their obligations in connection with joint account transactions. A shipper who fails to perform any express or implied duty is in violation of the Act and may be held liable for any damages resulting therefrom. The shipper shall prepare and maintain records which fully and correctly disclose the details of his transactions.
(b) Receiving records. Each shipper shall prepare and maintain a record of all produce handled including his own production. This record shall be in the form of a book (preferably a bound book), with numbered pages or comparable business records. This receiving record shall show for each lot the date received, whether purchased or received on joint account, the quantity, quality, and kind of produce, the purchase price or joint account cost, and the name and address of the supplier. Shippers shall issue receipts to growers and others for all produce received.
(c) Disposition records. When a shipper purchases produce from growers or others, his records shall also show the disposition of the produce, whether sold or consigned, date of shipment, car number, or if shipped by truck, the license number, name and address of the carrier, name and address of the buyer, commission merchant or auction, and other pertinent details of the transaction, such as the terms of sale, selling price, and date of payment.
(d) Joint accounts with growers. When a shipper enters into a joint account transaction with growers or others, the agreement between the parties should be reduced to a written contract clearly defining the duties and responsibilities of both parties and the extent of the shipper's authority in distributing the produce. The shipper shall prepare and maintain records to show in detail the actual expenses incurred for the services he furnishes, such as harvesting, grading, packing and selling the produce (unless a fixed charge is agreed upon by the parties to cover the cost of these services), methods of distribution and proceeds received for the produce. If a shipper is at the same time handling similar produce not involved in the joint account transaction, a lot number or other positive means of identification shall be assigned to each lot of produce received in order to segregate and identify the various lots of produce. If a shipper consigns all or part of the produce or employs the services of brokers or terminal market auctions, his records shall show the results of these transactions, including the expenses involved and the names and addresses of the commission merchants, brokers, and the auctions. The shipper shall render a detailed and accurate accounting and pay promptly the net proceeds due the joint partner, in accordance with § 46.2(y), (z), and (aa). The accounting shall disclose the status of all claims collected or filed with the carriers.
(e) Joint accounts with receivers. When a shipper enters into a joint account agreement with a terminal market dealer, the agreement should be reduced to writing clearly defining the terms of the agreement. The shipper's records shall show the expenses which may be properly charged in accordance with the joint agreement, purchase price or joint account cost of the produce, and cost of harvesting, packing, grading, or other expenses. His records shall show the quantity and quality of the produce packed and shipped, the dates and methods of shipment, and all other pertinent details of his operation. At the conclusion of the transaction, a detailed and accurate accounting shall be furnished promptly to the joint partner, in accordance with § 46.2(z). If a deficit results, the shipper shall pay promptly his share of the deficit.