Amazon may have had a record breaking holiday season, but United Parcel Service (UPS) clearly wasn’t prepared to handle the last-minute surge in Christmas orders the site saw this week. Numerous items from Amazon, Kohl’s and Walmart failed to ship as promised before Dec. 25. A spokesperson for UPS confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that “last-minute shopping overwhelmed its system.”
Some consumers also noted delayed or missing deliveries from FedEx, though the company wouldn’t confirm it suffered any delays. Amazon declined to say exactly how many customers experienced delays, but Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told WSJ that about 15 percent of online shoppers generally don’t receive their orders in time for Christmas.
In response, Amazon was quick to refund any additional shipping charges caused by the spike in orders, and offered each affected customer a $20 gift card, which we can confirm after receiving one ourselves. It’s nice to see Amazon stepping up when its customers are let down, though $20 won’t make up for those missing presents.
Clearly, both UPS and similar carrier services need to be better prepared for the growing surge of online orders it can expect to receive every year during the last few days of the holiday shopping season. If they can’t, Amazon may be forced to make good on those delivery drones it promised could be available in time for Christmas 2015—though we think that was more of a marketing stunt than anything else.