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Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays

Update at 8:20 p.m. ET. Amazon, UPS, Offer Refunds:

The Washington Post reports:

"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."

"Customers who failed to get their deliveries by Christmas Day will get $20 gift cards and refunds on shipping charges, Amazon said. UPS also offered refunds on shipping costs. FedEx did not promise refunds but said it would work with individuals who faced problems."

Our original post ...

Two of Santa's biggest helpers — UPS and FedEx — are offering apologies, calling in additional workers and renting extra trucks after packages that were supposed to be delivered in time for Christmas didn't make it to their destinations.

Neither of the delivery companies is offering numbers about just how many good little girls and boys were disappointed Wednesday morning. As a percentage of the hundreds of millions of packages handled between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, it's thought that the number not delivered on time was small.

But The Associated Press reports that "the problems appear to have affected many parts of the country." The wire service says its reporters "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."

In a statement, UPS says "the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas." Both companies are also blaming bad weather for some of the backup, CBS News adds.

And the companies are apologizing. "We're sorry that there could be delays and we're contacting affected customers who have shipments available for pickup," Scott Fiedler, a FedEx spokesman tells the AP.

According to CBS, FedEx and UPS are "calling in extra drivers and even renting U-Haul trucks to hit the road Thursday to deliver packages. ... The companies say they expect most of the delayed packages to arrive Thursday." They didn't make deliveries on Wednesday.

Some disappointed customers are telling news outlets that their Christmas just wasn't very jolly. "My kids and the rest of my extended family have no presents," Jill Amaya of Houston told NBC News. Others have taken to Twitter to register their complaints, with language that might land them on Santa's naughty list.

Not surprisingly, there are also tweets suggesting that "maybe the people who didn't get their stuff in time from FedEx or UPS should plan better?"

Amazon.com, which had promised its Prime customers that packages would arrive on time even orders were placed as late as Sunday, is refunding shipping charges and giving $20 credits toward future purchases, the AP says.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.