Surge of holiday packages delays UPS shipments

NEW YORK Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:05pm EST

UPS delivery man Vinny Ambrosino prepares to deliver packages on Christmas Eve while wearing a Rudolf nose and antlers in New York, December 24, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

UPS delivery man Vinny Ambrosino prepares to deliver packages on Christmas Eve while wearing a Rudolf nose and antlers in New York, December 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A high volume of holiday packages overwhelmed shipping and logistics company UPS, the company said on Wednesday, delaying the arrival of Christmas presents around the globe and sending angry consumers to social media to vent.

Amazon.com responded with an email to affected customers offering shipping refunds and $20 gift cards to compensate.

A convergence of factors, including higher volume than expected and recent patches of bad weather, caused the delays, UPS spokeswoman Natalie Black said.

The company projected 132 million deliveries last week "and obviously we exceeded that," Black said, without disclosing how many packages had been sent.

"For now, UPS is really focused on delivering the remaining packages," Black said. "You might not see trucks, but people are working."

Customers awaiting deliveries should expect packages on Thursday or Friday and those with delivery guarantees will get appropriate refunds, she said. Amazon.com's email said credits were applied directly to user accounts.

Packages shipped via UPS for Amazon.com by Prime customers, who pay $79 a year for two-day shipping, may be eligible for additional refunds. Amazon's stated policy for missed deliveries is to offer a free one-month extension of Prime.

UPS has not yet coordinated with Amazon, nor has it determined what percentage of the undelivered packages were from Amazon, Black said.

Amazon also did not disclose how many of its shipments were affected or how many users got the email about delayed orders.

"If customers from Amazon were impacted, we'll work with Amazon to resolve that," Black said.

Amazon processed customer orders on time for holiday delivery, company spokeswoman Mary Osako said. "We are reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers," she said.

Frustrated consumers took to social media, with some complaining that gifts purchased for their children would not arrive in time to make it under the tree by Christmas morning.

"Really @UPS would have been better had you delivered our package yesterday like it was scheduled," tweeted a user named Heather Bender, who added the hashtags #UPSFail and #NoSantaGiftForMySon.

"Package was delayed in transit & not received as guaranteed. Disappointed 9 year old," said a Twitter user named Jennifer Marten.

Others on social media urged shoppers to be more appreciative of the delivery company's work during the holiday season.

"While others take vacation and time off in December, remember we aren't allowed ever to be off in December. Ever," Donny Ratcliffe, who identified himself as a UPS driver for the last 20 years, said on the UPS Facebook page.

"So when you see your family and complain that your package is held up, everyone who moves your package is working and doesn't get the Xmas experience you get," he said. "Be thankful for that."

(Editing by Edith Honan, Leslie Gevirtz and Leslie Adler)

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Comments (31)
ArghONaught wrote:
Donny Ratcliffe, People work at UPS by choice, and they and you should understand the business and work requirements including holiday duty. UPS stuffed up in their estimation of shipments and got hit with the weather whammy. Simple as that. Unhappy customers are unhappy regardless of circumstances. It is the 2013-way. Most companies have a glitch from time to time, and when you do well 99.999% of the time, people can be unforgiving that last 0.001%. If UPS was only 80% reliable the public reaction would be “well, it is UPS.” Try winning either way ;)

Dec 25, 2013 3:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Whiskey1027 wrote:
CNN reported: “The company considered Christmas Day deliveries as an emergency measure, but ‘after much thought and consideration’ decided not to ask drivers to work on the holiday.” Here’s a thought… why not send the corporate management team out to make deliveries on Christmas Day?

Dec 25, 2013 4:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
woodhaven1 wrote:
Why didn’t the complainers just place their orders a few days earlier instead of waiting to the last moment?

Dec 25, 2013 4:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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