UPS package delivery holdups leave some a little less merry on holiday
Little Sophia Rich waited all year for a new toy train table, styled after her beloved “Thomas the Tank Engine” animated cartoon series.
But when Christmas arrived without United Parcel Service delivery of the toy, Sophia, 3, collapsed in tears, said her mother, Joanna Rich of Neshannock in Lawrence County.
“I told her that I got a call from Santa and he wasn't sure if he was going to have it, that he was still working on it,” said Rich, 26, who was among UPS customers across the country waiting for Christmas deliveries on Thursday. “You pay extra to make sure it gets there on time — and it wasn't.”
UPS spokeswoman Natalie Godwin was quick to apologize but said she could not comment on how many packages missed their delivery dates. It wasn't clear how many Western Pennsylvanians were affected, though Godwin said the package delivery giant — the largest in the world — projected an 8 percent increase during the holiday period from its average 16 million daily deliveries.
UPS expected most late packages to be delivered by Thursday evening, she said.
“The volume of air packages in our systems exceeded the capacity of our network as demand was much greater than the forecast,” Godwin said.
She blamed a combination of bad weather, a boost in online shopping and a surge in last-minute orders shipped through UPS, headquartered in Atlanta.
Rival FedEx Corp., based in Memphis, reported 99 percent of its ground packages met their delivery dates. FedEx said it would work “directly with customers to address any isolated incidents.”
“Overall, we did not see the service delays that were being reported,” said FedEx spokeswoman Erin Truxal.
She said she did not have reports specific to Western Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Postal Service reported no widespread delivery delays, only limited problems in regions experiencing severe weather, spokeswoman Karen Mazurkiewicz said. She said the Postal Service anticipated a 12 percent jump over typical delivery volumes during the holiday season.
“You had a perfect storm of events from the consumer side, the retailer side and the shipping side,” Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners LLC in New Canaan, Conn., said of the UPS shipping delays.
He said some retailers extended the cut-off dates for delivery by Dec. 24 to compensate for a “mediocre” holiday shopping season.
“Normally, those kinds of schedules are all kind of prepared or coordinated with the carriers,” Johnson said.
A 10 percent increase in online shopping over 2012 led to an overall uptick in holiday spending, which climbed 3.5 percent, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse and research firm ComScore. UPS brought on 55,000 part-time workers for the holidays and leased 23 planes, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
Godwin declined to say whether UPS might change its approach next year.
Online retail behemoth Amazon.com is reviewing the performance of the delivery companies, providing some shipping refunds and granting $20 gift cards to those affected, spokeswoman Mary Osako said.
“I think these businesses will be going back after UPS for this stuff. Logistics is their business,” said Rocco DeMaiolo, 48, of Center.
His daughter's priciest Christmas gift — Ugg boots — showed up on Thursday after he paid an extra $15 to have them delivered on time.
DeMaiolo wants a refund for the extra shipping cost but isn't turning his back on UPS.
“This is the only time I've ever had a problem. I'll give everyone one shot to make a mistake,” he said.
The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report. Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- $11.13M project to close section of Pittsburgh’s Mifflin Road
- 2 boys who received transplants at Children’s Hospital progress to sunnier days
- Plum school board berated for pulling back on new school
- Children’s Hospital’s top doctor leaving for Washington University School of Medicine
- Film shares tale of Pittsburgh man who turned disability into career
- Carnegie man sought after hammer attack, police say
- La Scuola d’Italia Galileo Galilei touts Pittsburgh’s Italian heritage
- Newsmaker: Jeff Pollock
- Count of Three Rivers Regatta visitors could top 500K despite race ban
- Bookings for August Wilson Center climb, but permanent board yet to be set
- PennDOT team decides what spells trouble on vehicle license plates