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'Twas The Night Before Christmas...And Not All Packages Were Under The Tree

The Atlanta-based shipping company, UPS, is experiencing a nightmare of a public relations disaster: the packages that it guaranteed customers would arrive by Christmas did not make it under the tree for the big day. UPS blamed the "perfect storm" of events: a higher than expected volume of shipments; a high number of shipments/orders; and bad weather in several regions making deliveries take extra time.

Despite drivers working 60-hour weeks, backlogs occurred in all zip codes. Workers sorted packages through Christmas Day to ensure delivery by the end of the week. However, some packages, Christmas gifts, were weeks overdue from the date they were expected to arrive.

Many irate customers took to social media to vent their frustration over missing Christmas gifts. Some people blamed UPS for not staffing the holiday season correctly; others thought the men and women in brown should have worked through Christmas Day to deliver as many gifts as possible on time. But overworked UPS employees defended themselves and their employer by stating that "Mother Nature, a booming economy, and no one visiting malls cause [sic] this." In response to customers angry that UPS gave its employees Christmas Day off, employees defended the company's decision by stating that "Christmas isn't just about gifts. It is about family."

Individual shoppers were not the only injured parties., the world's largest online retailer, saw many of its goods fail to arrive by their guaranteed date. In response, Amazon has notified some customers that it will refund shipping costs and offer gift cards. UPS, for its part, has stated that it will "work with all of its retailers" to "make good on its service commitments."

What about working with all of its customers? Retailers like Amazon have lucrative contracts with UPS so that it is in the best interest of UPS to "make good on its service commitments" to Amazon. But what can individual customers do to be made whole if their packages were not from Amazon?

One possibility is to work through the retailer from which you purchased your package (gift); if that retailer does enough business with UPS it may have already reached an arrangement similar the one they have with Amazon that compensates customers in some way (refund of shipping costs; future shipping free; gift card at the retailer, etc.)

Another possibility is to talk with UPS directly about compensation for their failure to deliver your package as promised. Although the weather might have been out of their control, it was only one of the reasons that so many deliveries were late. UPS failed to anticipate the volume of packages it ultimately contracted to ship, and therefore failed to staff appropriately.

That failure breached a contract, if you will, between customer and shipper, that if you pay a certain amount for shipping, your package will reach its destination on a designated date, or at least within a designated time frame. A potential remedy could be free shipping for a certain time period or dollar amount, or at a minimum a refund of the shipping cost of the late item.

Of course this sort of hassle is the last thing that anyone wants to deal with during the holidays. However, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact the Thomas Law Firm, your Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer.

Categories: News, Holidays
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Thomas Law Firm
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