Santa's sleigh delayed by snags at UPS, FedEx

UPS spokswoman blames weather, volume of packages
Associated Press
Dec 25, 2013

Santa's sleigh didn't make it in time for Christmas for some this year due to shipping problems at UPS and FedEx.

The delays were blamed on poor weather earlier this week in parts of the country as well as overloaded systems. The holiday shopping period this year was shorter than usual, more buying was done online and Americans' tendency to wait until the last possible second to shop probably didn't help either.

Neither company said how many packages were delayed but noted it was a small share of overall holiday shipments. While the bulk of consumers' holiday spending remains at physical stores, shopping online is increasingly popular and outstripping spending growth in stores at the mall.

The problems appear to have affected many parts of the country. The Associated Press spoke to people in Alabama, California, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia who didn't receive presents in time for Christmas.

Many were left with little or no time to make alternative plans.

Jeff Cormier and his Dallas family were among those who ordered gifts that didn't arrive.

He had three separate UPS packages — including two for which he paid extra for expedited shipping — delayed.

"I've had to apologize to three different people when I thought I had everything wrapped up and good to go way before," Cormier said.

He and his wife are celebrating their baby daughter's first Christmas and flew in his grandmother from Ohio to join them. Her gift, a customized iPhone cover with a photo of her new great-granddaughter, didn't come in time for Christmas.

"My wife and I had our presents to open. Our daughter had her presents to open. And my grandma, she didn't have anything to open," Cormier said.

"We apologize that our customers did not receive their packages on Christmas," said Natalie Godwin, a spokeswoman for United Parcel Service Inc.

Godwin said snow and ice in the Midwest last week and an ice storm that hit Dallas two-and-a-half weeks ago were partially to blame. She also said the volume of packages shipped exceeded the capacity of UPS but would not share the number of packages shipped or what the company's maximum capacity is.

UPS did not make pickups or deliveries Wednesday. Extra workers were being brought in Wednesday night to the company's hub in Louisville, Ky., to sort packages for Thursday and Friday delivery, according to Godwin.

Godwin said "UPS will honor its peak shipments commitments" to customers who used its air delivery service. Those shipping by ground have no guarantee past Dec. 11. Godwin said she didn't know if customers would receive refunds.

However, some FedEx customers are able to pick up packages Christmas Day at their local FedEx Express centers.

"We're sorry that there could be delays and we're contacting affected customers who have shipments available for pickup," said Scott Fiedler, a spokesman for FedEx Corp.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, FedEx handled 275 million shipments, according to Fiedler. Those that were not delivered in time, he said, "would be very few."

Three people told The Associated Press that when they tracked their packages online, FedEx said deliveries to their homes were attempted but failed because "the business was closed." During follow-up calls with customer service, they said they learned that the local depot was overwhelmed and didn't attempt delivery.

On Sunday, Eric Swanson ordered a doll for his daughter and a sweater for his wife through Amazon.com and one of its affiliated sites. As an Amazon Prime customer, there was a promise of two-day delivery, getting the gifts to his Carmichael, Calif. home just in time for Christmas. One was shipped via UPS, the other FedEx.

"I thought it would happen," Swanson said. Online tracking tools said the packages would arrive by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Neither did.

"My wife understands but my 5-year-old daughter ... I think we're going to let it be a surprise when it comes," Swanson said. "Next time, if I need to get a gift and cut it that close, I will just have to enter the fray and go to the mall."

 

Comments

Pterocarya frax...

The darn government can't do anything right....Oh wait...never mind. I guess they should have used USPS.

Contango

Re: "The darn government can't do anything right...."

So why does the USPS continually remind citizens that they ain't part of the govt.?

BabyMomma

USPS got a box to Florida Monday at 1:00 p.m. That was dropped in Sandusky at 11:00 a.m. Saturday. I'll take that every time.

mikesee

Yet it took the USPS 17 days to deliver a letter from Clyde to Sandusky! The 82 year old lady could have walked it here faster. Due to that her home insurance cancelled. The company ended up re-instating her coverage however there was a $25 fee. I called and talked to the USPS in Clyde to see if they would re-imburse this lady the $25. "Not our problem" is exactly what the jacka$$ told me. "Once it leaves here we have no control" followed up the first quote.

beepx22

USPS has a box i was supposed to have the 21st, that has now been to Cleveland twice, PA once, Michigan once, and another part of Ohio once...

Stop It

I ordered college school books trough UPS as always.This was 2 quarters ago so I can't say how it is now. BUT it went from Cali to Fla then to Phili then to NY , NJ and finally back to Phili where they turned it over to the USPS and I had a PO box at the time..I asked for it delivered by UPS at home address. I got my books two weeks late. I asked why UPS threw it to USPS at the post office. No answer that made any sense..."next?"

The Big Dog's back

Keep the USPS.

KnuckleDragger

I guess, fossils like you need snail mail.

Contango

No problem here with Fed-Ex or UPS: Ordered early, arrived early.

Privatize the USPS.

FlyBoy86

All USPS mail and packages that are "Priority" or "Express" all ride on FedEx before FedEx freight because of government contracts...so everyone praising the USPS, thank a FedEx driver today. UPS has always been horrible.

SamAdams

Okay, FedEx and UPS had their own weather-related problems. I get it. It's disappointing and frustrating, but I get it. And those who mailed last minute items via the USPS probably suffered the same fate. But what about those of us who mailed things in PLENTY of time?

The USPS hasn't been updating package scans for tracking, and it's managed to deliver most of those things that have arrived so far LATE. There are a few things still somewhere in limbo!

I don't intend to pay extra any more for Priority Mail or anything else. Despite the weather issues, both UPS and FedEx are, in my experience, more reliable and with much better tracking. This isn't a reflection on individual mail carriers or postal employees, but rather an indictment against a behemoth bureaucracy that, while it's not TECHNICALLY a federal entity, is very much a federal entity. Sadly, the inefficiencies (not to mention pleas for more money) show that all too well. Humbug!

Stop It

Again I agree with you, Samantha.I'm sorry, but ordering school books as early as possible and watching the tracking through UPS was like, "WINTF does this crap in the middle of summer? With logistics as they are?

I printed out the entire tracking list as I checked it daily. I was not allowed to take the "borrowed" books from the school, so I had to stay in their stale bright lighted classrooms till kick out time.

That answer from USPS about not delivering it to my door because I had a USPS PO box and "they don't handle that, it won't fit" when I ordered UPS and UPS gave it over? HUH? I have no more USPS PO box. Them
(insert word) gotta deliver it here, no matter if it's freakin' Santa Claus.
USPS is 'sposed to be their own entitny but congress runs it.

Just like congress can give themselves raises and bennies even though it is unconstitutional...

mikesee

Don't blame the drivers! Blame the system.