UPS: Christmas Delivery Delays Caused by 'Perfect Storm'

"We're terribly sorry," United Parcel Service UPS spokeswoman Natalie Black told CNN.

Black’s comments were made in response to numerous complaints from customers who did not receive packages promised for delivery by Christmas.

Black blamed recent severe weather in the Dallas area, excess holiday volume, a shorter shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and increasing numbers of consumers shopping online, on the creation of what she said was “the perfect storm, so to speak."

Some online retailers, including Amazon, were victims as well.

CNN reported that an unknown number of Amazon customers received email messages alerting them of the UPS delay and offering to refund shipping charges and provide gift cards.

In addition to UPS, FedEx FDX also had problems getting some packages delivered by Christmas, according to The Associated Press. Neither UPS nor FedEx said how many deliveries were delayed but said it was a small percentage of their total overall holiday volume.

Related: Smaller Shippers' Networks Could Threaten UPS and FedEx

FedEx spokesman, Scott Fiedler said that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the company handled 275 million shipments. According to Fiedler, the number of missed deliveries “would be very few.”

Problems did not appear to hit any specific region.

The AP said it spoke to people in eleven states, including Alabama, California, Ohio, and Virginia who did not receive expected deliveries on time.

FedEx did allow some customers to pick up packages Christmas Day at their local FedEx Express centers.

According to The Associated Press, three people said FedEx told them deliveries had been attempted but failed because "the business was closed." However, the customers later learned the local FedEx depot didn’t even attempt delivery.

UPS had its own PR problems. After the company tweeted that it would make "every effort to get packages to their destination," customers learned that “every effort,” apparently, did not include deliveries on Christmas Day.

The company said it considered, but rejected Christmas Day deliveries on an emergency basis, but “after much thought and consideration” decided not to have drivers work on the holiday.

Instead, UPS said, it would conduct a Christmas evening sort so drivers could begin clearing out the excess Thursday morning. The company said it expected all delayed packages to be delivered no later than Friday.

UPS said that after January 2, when the company traditionally processes returns, it would conduct an investigation into what happened to help determine what steps needed to be taken in the future.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.

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Posted In: NewsEventsMediaAlabamaAmazonCaliforniaChristmasDallasfedexFedEx ExpressNatalie BlackOhioperfect stormScott FiedlerThanksgivingUnited Parcel Serviceupsvirginia
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