UPS, FedEx scramble to deliver Christmas-delayed packages

December 26, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Thursday night, a United States Senator is calling on UPS to refund customers.

All day, people have been coming to this UPS customer center to try to pick up delayed packages. And Thursday night, some retailers say they may be the ones left picking up the bill.

Thursday night, Cambridge Darnley is still waiting on UPS.

"It's been frustrating," Darnley said. "I've made promises to customers that I obviously haven't been able to keep."

Darnley is the manager of On the Route Bicycles in Lakeview and says he special-ordered a high-end bike for a customer who needed it for a Christmas cycling vacation.

The tracking info says it arrived in Chicago December 19, but five days later it still had not been delivered.

December 24th, Christmas Eve, rolls around. I see the UPS guy on the block. He's got nothing for me," he said.

Sophie Jaffe of Bucktown also knows the smell of disappointment.

Her family's live lobster delivery, which was supposed to arrive in time for Christmas dinner, instead showed up Thursday.

"They are definitely dead," she said.

Actually, some survived the extended trip, call them holiday leftovers.

For many, the only thing brown could do for you was apologize, in a statement saying: "We are making every effort to get all packages delivered."

FedEx also apologized, saying every package is important. The two companies cited a perfect storm of bad weather, more packages and the shorter delivery season.

"In terms of how it affects the shopper and their trust of the online channel, it definitely could have some psychological impacts," said Chetan Ghai, ShopperTrack.

For Darnley the UPS mystery deepens.

That high-end bike, which had been somewhere in Chicago, was shipped back to Minneapolis, where it came from.

"Shocked, confused, at a loss for words," he said.

Darnley says he may have to refund that customer's money. And he's not the only retailer taking a hit. Amazon is refunding shipping fees and offering $20 gift cards. And Kohl's is offering to pay for the items themselves.

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