Amazon to offer $20 gift cards to people that didn't get packages by Christmas

The good news for Amazon? Lots of people used their website to order last-minute gifts for the Christmas season. The bad news? Many of those shipments did not arrive on time as carriers like UPS were hit with an unexpected spike in deliveries.

According to the The Wall Street Journal, UPS sent out a statement saying, "The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast." A few Federal Express customers also reported they did not get their shipments in time for Christmas, although FedEx claims they did not experience major delays.

The main reason for these problems is a simple one: many more people ordered presents online on the last shopping weekend of the holiday season. IBM Digital Analytics reports that web-based sales of products jumped up a whopping 37 percent last weekend compared to 2012.

Amazon said that people who did not receive their packages before Christmas will get a $20 gift card as well as a refund on their shipment charges. The company did not reveal just how many of its customers were affected by the delays. Walmart and Groupon will also offer $25 gift cards to customers that didn't get their packages in time for Christmas.

It wasn't all bad news for Amazon. In a press release, the retailer said it added over one million Amazon Prime members during the third week of December. It offers users free two-day shipping on all Amazon orders for the price of $79 a year, along with a streaming movie and TV service. Amazon has never revealed the total number of Amazon Prime members.

Source: Wall Street Journal | Shipment image via Shutterstock

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The simple fact is that, UPS was backed up pretty bad from the winter storms in certain areas as well as a larger than projected number of packages sent. They had to clear that back log first. I know for a fact that UPS was hiring extra subcontractors along with more seasonal staff. Our UPS driver for the neighborhood showed up in a Uhaul truck last week and had mentioned the company rented extra trucks and even air cargo. He mentioned that just about everyone was working 10-12 hour shifts. I do feel for the drivers and warehouse workers, because of how hard they work during the holidays.
Now, the problem is the fact that UPS probably wasn't transparent enough with retailers like Amazon in regards to the backups. Amazon can only do so much, even with a guarantee. Its not like you are paying for 2 day or overnight and Amazon is sending it ground. What needs to happen is that the logistics side need to be improved on UPSs part, at least so it can be communicated to retailers and consumers. Those online timetables and guarantees are written way before the backups start and are usually estimates, If there were updates from Amazon and UPS when people order about backups in regions it would help greatly

This is an incredibly insulting offer from Amazon. It does not matter if customers ordered at the last minute if they are guaranteeing delivery before Christmas. Most customers would shop elsewhere if they had known.

Another reason to abandon Amazon.

It was UPS who failed to deliver on time. Happens in a blizzard too. So no, it's not a reason to abandon Amazon. But feel free to abandon UPS and FedEx. Or just plan better and order a little earlier or go to the store and get it.

I would agree that it's the carrier's fault. Amazon is typically on top of things. And what other reasons are there to abandon Amazon? Cheap prices on most items? Great shipping costs with Amazon Prime? Free streaming service with aforementioned Prime account? Constant re-investment in the company to offer even better services and products? Best customer service in the industry? Yeah, all reasons to abandon Amazon.

Another reason to abandon Amazon??? HAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Amazon is amazing, thank you very much.

So they dropped the ball here and promised something they couldn't deliver. I'm still using Amazon for pretty much EVERYTHING!

Reasons to abandon Amazon:

- put smaller retailers out of business due to their economies of scale, hurting the local economy
- treat their staff unethically (see union protests)
- don't pay their taxes ethically

It's not worth saving a few pounds on Amazon, especially if they can't even meet their basic commitment to deliver before Xmas (that's another reason, promising families deliveries but failing to ensure they can back up the promise).

You've got a point with taxes. But they're not the only corporation that evades. That's more of a legal issue. Loopholes can be closed.

Smaller retailers, that's a part of capitalism. You have to weight small retailers, vs. the wallets of consumers. It's a trade-off. Amazon provides a huge market for smaller businesses. You can't ignore that. In fact, over half of what I buy is from smaller business' using Amazon as a storefront.

Unions, that's a whole other story. Unions in the US had a just cause, they've also caused a lot of damage. I'm not in a union so I don't worry about it. It really depends on the specific issue. Unions have positives and negatives like most other things.

londan said,
Reasons to abandon Amazon:

- put smaller retailers out of business due to their economies of scale, hurting the local economy
- treat their staff unethically (see union protests)
- don't pay their taxes ethically

It's not worth saving a few pounds on Amazon, especially if they can't even meet their basic commitment to deliver before Xmas (that's another reason, promising families deliveries but failing to ensure they can back up the promise).

Maybe significantly more people are buying online. And maybe the economy is better than it was last Christmas for a whole lotta folks.

MorganX said,
Maybe significantly more people are buying online. And maybe the economy is better than it was last Christmas for a whole lotta folks.

That sort of data is readily available for anyone who wants it. No excuses.

Goldfire86 said,
"UPS were hit with an unexpected spike in deliveries"

What did they expect to happen?

I was going to say the same thing. "Unexpected spike in deliveries at Christmas" - well yeah.

The spike, so they claim, was caused by the ice storm in TX delaying a lot of shipments, then them finally getting moving again through the backlog right as last minute Christmas spiked too. I can see it, shipping companies are stretched to the limit these times of the year, add another delay in and something has to give.

This whole shipping thing wasn't just people buying stuff for Christmas... we had to order an emergency server replacement that we needed absolutely next day, we sent it next day guaranteed by 8AM... it shipped from the vendor on time, we waited anxiously all the next day it never showed up... they sent the server from New Jersey to Tennessee (instead of straight to Pittsburgh, PA) then it sat in Tennessee for a whole day then it finally showed up at 5PM the next day.... when you buy guaranteed shipping you expect it to be there... especially when you have a major server failure that we didn't have an in stock replacement for in house... just had to be the one server we don't have sand by hardware for.... we also had a Brocade Fiber switch fail at the same time... that STILL hasn't shown up... two weeks later.... at least that was a redundant switch, but when you lose one, you get scared the backup will go too...

Amazon had amazing speed for me. I even ordered something late on the 23rd and was told it wouldn't arrive until the 26th on the order page. It arrived on the 24th...

tsupersonic said,
Nice of Amazon and other online merchants. But come on people, order your gifts earlier!

one of my gifts was supposed to come in the week before Christmas and still hasn't come in. Not all delayed shipments were last minute orders.

Maybe not all shipments were last minute, but I bet at least 95% were.

A whole bunch of people got lucky this year getting gift cards for their own slowness. Hopefully they WON'T be so lucky next year!!

I could say come on UPS don't ask half the price of the item for 2 days delivery if you can't deliver. I ordered a 2 days delivery gift on amazon.ca thursday, december 19. Shipping cost was around 8$ for a 20$ item. I got it tuesday, december 24 at around 6PM. The tracking was not working as it shown my package to be stuck in montreal even after delivery to quebec city. Luckly i got it just in time. But still very bad service by UPS but it's business as usual for them it is the worst carier by far in canada even Canada Post is more reliable.

BTW i ordered another thing from IKEA the same day. I used standard delivery instead of 2 days to save money as it was not a gift. I got it monday, december 23 one day before the gift ordered from amazon and shipped via UPS. I wont surpise any canadian by saying IKEA used FEDEX ...

LaP said,
I could say come on UPS don't ask half the price of the item for 2 days delivery if you can't deliver. I ordered a 2 days delivery gift on amazon.ca thursday, december 19. Shipping cost was around 8$ for a 20$ item. I got it tuesday, december 24 at around 6PM. The tracking was not working as it shown my package to be stuck in montreal even after delivery to quebec city. Luckly i got it just in time. But still very bad service by UPS but it's business as usual for them it is the worst carier by far in canada even Canada Post is more reliable.

BTW i ordered another thing from IKEA the same day. I used standard delivery instead of 2 days to save money as it was not a gift. I got it monday, december 23 one day before the gift ordered from amazon and shipped via UPS. I wont surpise any canadian by saying IKEA used FEDEX ...

I think the moral of the story is that you need Amazon Prime.... or that's what I got out of it.

But really, I don't think I have had a single package miss it's 2 day mark in the countless orders I made this year. Some even showed up in a overnight when paying for 2 day. When you order in Canada, I assume Amazon has plenty of warehouses there, right? Everything ships from inside Canada so border crossing would never be an issue? You should get a shipping refund if they don't make their date.

I dunno, I thought shipping around this time of year was pretty much considered hit or miss. I know UPS claimed the ice storm in TX caused a lot of the bottleneck, but I would always make sure to order at least a week ahead for Christmas, even with 2 day shipping. Obviously some packages got delayed or lost just like happens any time of the year, but I agree, I think most people who didn't get their packages brought it upon themselves for waiting too long.