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Customers Fed Up With UPS & FedEx After Failed Christmas Deliveries

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Outraged customers are calling for action after UPS and FedEx fail to deliver. The companies are working overtime in Maryland to correct the problem.

Mike Hellgren has more on the frustration.

The problems boil down to increased demand and weather issues. UPS caught some criticism for not forcing drivers to work on Christmas Day. Things got rolling again Thursday.

UPS and FedEx drivers fanned out across Maryland and nationwide as both companies worked to make up for missed deliveries on Christmas that outraged customers.

“I paid extra delivery costs to guarantee by Christmas Eve, and it did not arrive,” Kelly Gallagher said. “Santa was way more organized this year than UPS.”

They blamed bad weather and a surge in online orders that overwhelmed their systems.

Anirban Basu is chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, an economic and policy consulting firm in Baltimore.

“One of the things that happened during the week preceding Christmas is that mall traffic was down in many instances because people were ordering online in greater volumes,” he said. “FedEx and UPS were simply not ready for that, and so what has happened has happened.”

The shipping problems hit UPS much harder than FedEx. Both companies have apologized.

Basu says the companies should hold managers accountable, hire more seasonal employees and perhaps ask that people place last-minute orders earlier.

“When the kids don’t have presents under the tree on Christmas morning, that’s a big deal,” said Basu.

CBS was recently granted rare access inside both FedEx and UPS operations centers.

Even with high-tech networks, weather problems are still the enemy. Steve Merchant is a UPS troubleshooter.

“It’s not ‘Merry Christmas.’ It’s usually a problem, saying ‘Hey, I’ve got additional volume, I’ve got 40 more trailers, I need an aircraft, I need 20 minutes of time,'” said Merchant.

And when deliveries don’t happen, it tarnishes reputations, moving some customers to tears.

“I couldn’t wait to see her face, and it didn’t happen,” a parent said.

While UPS and FedEx have been apologetic, they say the total number of missed deliveries was only a small portion of their total volume.

Both companies will likely do a full evaluation in January to asses what exactly went wrong.

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