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Wednesday
Dec252013

UPS Overload Leaves Customers Short of Presents, Meals

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If your gifts didn't arrive on time to place under the tree this year, United Postal Service might be to blame. The nation's largest package carrier failed to deliver all packages to consumers by Christmas Eve, deflating the holiday spirit for some irate customers.

In a statement, UPS said it simply could not keep up with last-minute shipments as "the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network."

The statement called it "a perfect storm" of problems, blaming the delays on the normal surge in deliveries this time of year, the compressed shopping season, and the growth of e-commerce that increased demand for shipping right before the holiday. An ice storm that backed up air travel in Dallas also didn't help matters.

Although UPS said only a small percentage of packages didn't make it to their destinations on time, consumers are not pleased. Some said they would be without presents this year and even their Christmas dinner. On social media, consumers have created a series of hashtags, including #UPSdelays and #UPSfail.

Online retail giant Amazon.com was forced to apologize to customers and in some cases offered refunds on shipping and gift certificates for future purchases.

The UPS statement said there would be no deliveries Wednesday but that employees are on the job, working to ensure packages are ready to go out the door the moment drivers arrive in the morning.

Peak shipping season is not over until after the Christmas returns are in, so UPS will likely wait until January to do a postmortem and figure why projections missed the mark, a spokeswoman said. In the meantime, she said, UPS is "focused on delivering on our holiday and service commitments."

UPS might consider upping its staffing and capacity projections for next year. Statistics show on that holiday e-shopping is on the rise. More than half of consumers now do at least some of their holiday shopping on line, according to a recent National Retail Federation survey.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio