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Amazon and Walmart Will Offer Store Credit for Late Christmas Deliveries

While UPS and others scramble to complete all those backlogged deliveries, some retailers are attempting to make amends with customers.
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Despite adamant claims that gifts would arrive in time for Christmas, it appears that many people were left empty-handed for the holidays. UPS was reportedly unable to deliver a substantial number of packages in time for Christmas, while Fedex claims that it only experienced "isolated incidents" of missed deliveries. According to NBC, "weeks of bad weather and higher demand from soaring online sales," as well as a shorter holiday season, are the main causes for the delivery backlog.

BusinessWeek suggests that no one should have been surprised by the influx of online deliveries this year, since in-store shopping overall has trended down while online sales have continued to increase. Moreover, Amazon reported that "more than 1 million new people signed up for [Prime] in the third week of December," meaning a huge surge of customers were demanding the benefits of 2-day delivery immediately before Christmas.

It's unclear how many retailers were affected by these delivery snafus, although we know that Amazon contacted affected customers to apologize; the retailer offered a $20 account credit to be used on a future purchase, in addition to refunding delivery fees. Prime customers might want to further inquire about receiving an additional month of services for free. (That said, one of our staffers reported that he was asked to choose between a credit or a shipping extension, in which case the $20 is the better value.) Walmart is reportedly also offering gift cards, although there's no word on what the amount is. Kohl's and Groupon also experienced delays.

Regardless of the retailer, if you didn't receive a guaranteed package in time for Christmas, it's worth contacting a customer service representative, either by email or phone. There's a good chance that the retailer may extend a similar voucher or refund offer in order to maintain your business.

Readers, did any of your guaranteed packages arrive late this year? Did you receive an apology from the retailer in question? Take our poll below and leave us a note in the comments section.


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Lindsay Sakraida is the DealNews Features Director. She specializes in writing about shopping trends and lifestyle subjects. She's also obsessed with music, movies, and tennis. Follow her on Twitter at @LinSakraida.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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12 comments
JC769
Most of my packages were delivered on time. One wasn't. It wasn't a huge deal as it was a gift for someone at work and that person ended up leaving before I got there on the 24th.. but I was refunded the shipping fee and given an extra month of Prime.
JManTX68
One of my Amazon prime orders did not arrive in Tuesday. The crazy part was it shipped from Fort Worth, TX and I live in Dallas, TX.
BboJim
I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I ordered 2 last minute gifts on Saturday the 21st from Amazon, with Prime 2 Day shipping. They arrived as promised on Tuesday the 24th via UPS.
vwoom
Well, I got my gift orders on time. If the delivery time frame on an item is "iffy" by X-mas Eve, I just get it local or if via online (mostly) which is obviously almost always cost effective, I have it delivered for pick-up "In-Store". Ordered early, it's Amazon. Walmart, Sears or K-Mart ("Blue Light" is surprisingly quick for item availability,
msmjones
Good preparation helps to lessen this worry. But At least vendors are willing to help compensate. I know that I could deal with receiving a package a day later versus wondering how much of my information has been hacked through a major company. I'm just saying.
chedder42
I make sure I order enough in advance to compensate for weather or overload from shipping companies (usually 10 days before I want it to arrive).
Greg the Gruesome
I ordered something for myself from REI.com on Sunday afternoon, December 22. Since I didn't need it for Christmas, I figured I'd give REI's staff a break and have it shipped to the nearest REI store. (I also figured that if I pick it up at a store, I'll be able to return it right away if it doesn't fit.) The confirmation e-mail said it would be ready for pickup on Saturday, December 28 but then I got an e-mail at 2:25 AM EST on Tuesday, December 24 saying it was ready for pickup. Maybe the item was already in that store's stock, though.
ski522
I give myself till the 15th of December to order stuff online, after that I go brick & mortar, just had way too many problems past Christmas' with getting packages on time after the 15th regardless of the promises made by the likes of Amazon, etc.
jbwhite99
Amazon kept pushing the boundary for things - I bought an Amazon gift card advertised as next day delivery on Monday, and it arrived GROUND on Tuesday. Didn't think you could get a truck from Louisville, KY (HQ for UPS shipping) to Raleigh that fast!

I hope that all of this falls on Amazon and the like - it isn't fair for UPS to take the fall if Amazon didn't forecast this uptick in demand.

Read this weeks' cover of BusinessWeek - how UPS makes the holidays. They plan for December 11 months out of the year.
funkadelic
I had 3 missed deliveries: 2 from UPS (1 amazon overnight, 1 pottery barn kids 2 day shipping) and 1 from FedEx 1 day shipping. Props to FedEx on delivering the late delivery on Christmas morning. Sucks for the FedEx drivers that had to work on Christmas day, but they generated a ton of goodwill from that. As for UPS, they suck donkey balls. The worlds largest shipping company cannot handle logistics and I will do all I can to avoid using them for my own personal shipping
Pandp
I kept printed backup of the where the package was. Ordered before the last minute too. UPS really messed up as packages sent ground from same( Memphis)showed up on Monday. 2nd day air still not here as they sent the packages back to main terminal from local terminal. Dumb
chocolatedeath
Some of mine never showed up at. Contacted Amazon and they shipped replacement.
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