HOUSTON - Many people are still waiting for late holiday gifts, cards and online shopping orders, as shipping companies have been overwhelmed this holiday season.
ShipMatrix, a software company that tracks shipments, says more than one million orders were not likely to make it before Christmas.
Many shipping companies added staff, hours, planes, trucks, or facilities, but were still overwhelmed by record online shopping. Plus, UPS and FedEx are rushing COVID-19 vaccines across the country.
"One was Coach, one was Ashley Stewart, and the other was from eBay. They said they were delivered, and somebody had signed for it. I was at home, sitting in my living room. Nobody even knocked on my door," said Cynthia Pharms.
Pharms says after waiting weeks, she never received three different UPS deliveries.
"Coach has sent me this package three times. I haven't gotten it once," she said, referring to boots she ordered.
Pharms says she contacted UPS but the problem was not resolved. So we did. She says UPS immediately sent her a $176 check refunding two items, and Coach sent those boots a fourth time. And she finally got them.
We asked UPS, the United States Postal Service, and FedEx where they stand today on delivering the onslaught of holiday packages. None of them got specific.
UPS pointed us to ShipMatrix data that shows they've been leading in on-time deliveries over USPS and FedEx since October 1, with 96% delivered on-time the week before Christmas. In fact, ShipMatrix data shows U.S.P.S. ranged from about 88% to 97% in on-time deliveries, and FedEx ranged from 94% to 97% over that time period.
UPS sent us the following statement:
"UPS has been delivering one of the best peak seasons of the company’s history, providing industry-leading on-time delivery service to customers, while delivering vaccines at the same time. We expect a successful finish to the peak season, which runs into January as consumers make Returns."
UPS says ahead of the peak holiday season, it did the following:
• Hired approximately 100,000 seasonal employees.
• Hired 39,000 permanent, new employees between April and June.
• Built 20 new facilities and brought on 14 additional aircraft for the peak season (in addition to the approximately 500 owned and leased aircraft in the company’s global fleet).
• Expanded weekend operations – only carrier to provide both commercial and residential pickup and delivery on Saturdays.
• Significantly improved the speed of the UPS ground delivery network – UPS is now at parity or faster than FedEx in 22 of the 25 most populated areas of the U.S.
And UPS points out it did not cut off delivery service to retail customers. "When our customers ask to tender volume to us that is beyond what we have agreed upon and they have forecast, we are working with them to pick-up and deliver unplanned packages as quickly as we can align it with available capacity that opens up in our network," the statement reads.
The United States Postal Service also sent us a statement, reading:
"The Postal Service delivered a record amount of packages this holiday season in the midst of the pandemic which significantly impacted our workforce availability. Capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail also lead to temporary delays. These challenges were felt by shippers across the board. We are accepting all volumes being presented to us, which adds to the challenge of the workload. We are proud of the hard work and dedication of our employees, and will continue to work around the clock to deliver all packages and mail entered into our system, including returns. We thank our customers for their continued support and understanding."
And FedEx's statement reads:
"Delivery drivers, warehouse employees, and support staff across the globe have been tirelessly and safely working to meet the surge in demand this holiday season on top of volume increases created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these unprecedented challenges, our networks have been flexing as designed to provide the best possible service to our customers. We have implemented a number of measures to handle this surge in volume, including hiring more than 70,000 seasonal workers, moving to seven-day operations and accelerating Sunday delivery capabilities and adding additional delivery resources. As always, we encourage customers with questions about their packages to visit fedex.com or contact customer service for more information."
If your packages have not been delivered, use the tracking numbers to track them on either the seller's or shipper's website.
Check with your neighbors or property manager to see if they intercepted your delivery.
Most shippers say you can file a claim for a missing package 24 hours after the most recent, expected delivery date.
Here are links to the claim forms: