I would need your opinion and any piece of advice would be welcome.
We have an LC for which we had to present among other documents:
1 original BL through the banking chanel and
2 original BLs to be sent by courier directly to the applicant ( this was also stipulated in the LC)
The BLs were TO THE ORDER OF THE ISSUING BANK.
We presented docs with discrepancies (discrepancies unfortunately inevitable, but not referring to the quality of the goods or amount, or quantity,or required docs but though, discrepancies) and we instructed the confirming bank ( which was not in our country) to send further the docs to the issuing bank,while we were trying to take some safety measures: as the applicant was having 2 BLs by envelope and 1 original BL sent to the issuing bank,we instructed the shipping company not to release the containers unless they got our ok that we had been payed, and to release the containers only against full set of endorsed BLs.
The applicant got 1 BL endorsed by the issuing bank EVEN BEFORE the issuing bank received its set through banking chanel and he went to the shipping company to take the goods (without giving us any message through the bank that he had accepted the documents. The shipping company refused so the applicant comunicated us that he will not accept the documents unless we unblock the containers and claiming that he was said that even the BL was stating freight prepaied, the shipping company said the freight was not actually paied and that he should clarify this with the supplier .
The applicant also motivated that the bank keeps original BL for their file (!) so he can't go to the shipping company with the full set. I said "ok, get the full BLs set endorsed and show it to the shipping company and then you can take back 1 original or even 2 to return to the bank, no fuss". The shipping company got caught in the middle of this dispute, the containers are already on demeurage and they said they can't refuse the applicant ad infinitum, as he is having 1 BL duly endorsed by the bank...
My questions are:
1.How is it possible the issuing bank to endorse 1 BL without giving us the confirmation that we are going to be paied? It is not normal that the applicant got the possibility of taking the goods before giving us the confirmation that he accepted the docs, by me.
2.Is it possible that the applicant finally refuses to pay(but keeping the goods) and the issuing bank sends us back the docs with the 1 BL kept without endorsement? Don't they bear the responsability of endorsing that 1 BL, though? I mention also that it's a big and well known bank, not a corner bank...
3. For the future, as a similar situation might happen again ( it is a custom in the applicant country to get a set of docs by courier, so he could prepare the importation file), can we stipulate in LC that the goods will not be released provided the full set of endorsed BLs is presented to the shipping company? Or something similar?
4. How long could take till we get a reply from the issuing bank concerning the payment or non-payment of our presented docs? We have repeatedly sent them messages from our bank through the confirming bank and they haven't replied.
Thank you in advance for any oppinion or suggestion.
Sorry for the long post but I wanted to make the things as clear as possible.