Has anyone else…

…heard about delivery problems this Christmas? Last year, UPS employees stole two of our presents, so this year, we sent via the USPS, priority mail, insured, in plenty of time. Two packages should have arrived four days ago. One didn’t arrive. My father had to go chasing a mail truck to get the other; they’d left a note on Christmas Eve saying it could be picked up next week. My mother-in-law said she has heard of all kinds of problems with the Postal Service this year. Meanwhile, a vendor didn’t get two packages out by the time promised; nonetheless, they still should have arrived via FedEx in time for Christmas and neither did.

  • The USPS has not been doing too well all over our little hurricane disasterland. We’re missing a few packages, too, ordered weeks ago and haven’t arrived. At least we get mail, most of the time now.

  • On the other hand, the USPS arrived *today* with a package.

  • Tom

    Yeah man, we had major trouble with “express” USPS delivery for big present for my nephews – ended up giving them a lousy screenshot printout of what will hopefully arrive next week!

  • A package got sent out to me Monday Priority Mail, and it still didn’t get here by Saturday. A FedEx got here when it was supposed to, but the d*#( kids hid threw it in the TV room where we didn’t find it till after they got out of the house Thusday.

    Then, I nearly lost a ThinkGeek gift certificate due to the stupid spam filter.

  • APF

    My mother (in New Mexico) sent me (in NYC) a package scheduled to arrive on thursday. FF to thursday night, it was getting late so I checked the tracking online. The site said the package was marked “refused”—literally one hour before I checked—and was being sent back! Either I or one of my roommates were home at all times, and no delivery was actually attempted that day. I called customer service, waited on hold for ~45 minutes, and begged them to reschedule delivery. Supposedly everything was ok, but I check the tracking the next day, and sure enough it was en route back to New Mexico. So I hop back on the phone, spend another 30-45 minutes on hold, and hear there’s actually nothing they can do for me at this point.

    So hopefully now I’ll get it before New Years…

  • On the other hand, I got a package delivered after 6pm (pst) earlier this week. The USPS is (from what I’ve heard) understaffed and overworked.

    The UPS however…

    Once had a package sent my way via UPS with ‘no signature required’ clearly marked on it. The man delivering it refused to leave it at my door because I was never there to sign for it. I do not trust UPS at all.

    UPS: Unusually Pisspoor Service.

  • Give them a break:

    The U.S. Postal Service handles more than 40 percent of the world’s mail volume, five times more than the Japanese Post Office, the next largest carrier of letter mail.

    In fiscal year 2004, the USPS sorted and delivered nearly 206 billion pieces of mail, about 680 million pieces a day.

    The USPS delivers more items in one day than Federal Express does in a year and more items in one week than United Parcel Service does in a year.

    The Postal Service delivers to 142 million businesses and households each day, six days per week. UPS delivers to 7 million addresses daily while FedEx serves even fewer.

  • CJ

    My mom sent me a package THREE WEEKS AGO using priority mail. It still has not been delivered and they have no idea where it is. She insists that as soon as she uses up her stamps, she’s never using the USPS again.

    I’m interested in seeing how long she can manage without.

  • Madfish Willie

    Priority Mail is a scam… either go next day or us FedEx overnight… priority mail is the same exact thing as just dropping it in the mailbox.

  • UPS is quite reliable in my experience (so are most other major shippers).

    The Postal Service’s claims on delivery times is merely a “guideline” not a guarantee, and frequently are missed.

    Also, not all mail is created equal in the eyes of the postal service.

    TV Guides and major weekly magazines get delivered in a (usually) timely manner. But back when it was weekly, the Comics Buyer’s Guide, often found itself in some unusual delays. It was not uncommon for two or three issues to show up in the same day’s mail. I suspect that certain mail, even within the same “class” of mail get treated as less important.

  • Vulgorilla

    The USPS is much too busy sponsoring the bicycle team for the Tour de France to worry about delivering mail and packages on time. Besides, where do you think the money comes from to sponsor that bicycle team? Why from postal stamp increases, of course. Too bad our government doesn’t have a mail delivery organization dedicated to delivering the mail. Most other countries do.

  • I have no clue about the rest of the country, but the gulf south is not getting reliable service of any sort.

  • Merry Christmas

  • I know that in the magazine business, it isn’t uncommon for letter carriers to hold back issues of weekly mags due to a particular day’s load being too heavy (even in this age of motorized transportation and relay boxes). This is why week after week, even with magazines’ printers dropping sorted books at bulk mail facilities at the same time, there is a high level of variability regarding delivery times. Can’t wait until four-color e-ink arrives…

  • MrGonz

    Well, last year UPS dropped off a TV and some gifts for my son. I noted to the UPS driver that it surely was a mistake. I opened up the package and it was a mistake. Sears had sent me a TV instead of some kids clothes. I called Sears, they told me there was nothing I could do. I called a number of times (of course being put on hold for a very long time) but there was just nothing that could be done. Eventually Sears realized thier mistake, sent me the kids clothes and refunded me the money I hadn’t spent on the TV. One more call and Sears then told me that I would have to send the TV back at my cost. “Um, I never got charged for it, You gave me the money for it and now you want me to send the TV back at my cost?”. “If you want a refund.” “Have you even listened to me?” “Yes of course sir.” “What if I keep the TV and the refund?” “Well, that would be up to you.” “So, I want to be clear about this, I will keep this TV (even though I didn’t need another TV) and I will keep the refund for the TV and everyting will be ok?” “Yes. That’s what I’m saying” “This can’t be right, I think I should talk to your manager.” “I am the manager.” “Forget this, you have cost me the value of this TV on hold anyways. Nevermind.” “Thank you for calling Sears.” Sears then refunded the money for the clothes. The UPS driver checked in everyday and laughed along with me about the situation. I ended up giving the TV to a friend and the clothes (sadly never worn) to the UPS guy. UPS is great. USPS is so, so. Fed-Ex is only OK. And DHL completely sucks.

  • Texas Bubba

    I’m a “Pro-Seller” on Amazon zShops and over the last couple of months I’ve sent over 1400 items via USPS, mostly 1st Class and Media Mail, and I’ve only had to make refunds for two delivery failures, either of which could have been stolen or delivered to the wrong address. Even stuff I’ve sent out of country has been delivered w/o problems. I’ve ordered stuff from Amazon and other vendors and have received stuff no problemo from both USPS and UPS. The last few weeks UPS has even been delivering up to 8:30 at night due to the high Christmas traffic. I’m very satisfied with both USPS and UPS. I’ve also started using the USPS delivery confirmation feature which only costs an additional 13-cents and for higher priced items I sell I’m using signature confirmation which only costs about a buck. I use postage software and print all my shipping labels w/postage on my color printer here in my home office and I haven’t had to go into the local post office since starting this venture. Sweet!

  • Paulo

    I sent a Christmas gift from SF to my sister in LA via USPS on wednesday the 14th using the 3 day priority mail. It has still not arrived.

  • torcik

    The USPS delivers more items in one day than Federal Express does in a year and more items in one week than United Parcel Service does in a year.

    >>Your comparing apples and oranges. USPS delivers both mail and packages. UPS and FedEx only deliver parcels. If the USPS was ever privatized, which it won’t, Either UPS or Fedex would do a better job

    Q. What do you get when the government goes into business?
    A. The Postoffice

  • James


    You’re an idiot. The USPS doesn’t sponsor a bicycle team anymore. Discovery Channel took Lance’s team over in *2004*!

    USPS wasn’t even in the last TdF.

  • I wrote a long diatribe about fedex in my blog (link in my name) – short version is that fedex held on to my package for a week with no rhyme or reason until I get hold of someone in the local DC.

  • JohnnyL

    So far in the part of CT that I live in, we haven’t received any mail since Friday. None on Saturday or any on Monday. I don’t think Monday was was a Federal Holiday either as far as mail delivery goes. About once in 6 months there may be a day when we receive no mail but never have we not received mail 2 days in a row. At least once a week we get mail that is supposed to be for somebody else on our street and occasionally we will get mail that is not even addressed to us but may have a similar street name and the same first name as someone that lives in my house. A couple times a year the postal delivery person will get the mail on our street completely mixed up…delivering everybody’s mail to the wrong address. People end up walking up and down the street looking for who got their mail and delivering the mail they got to the right address. None of us dare complain as we know we don;t know what kind of revenge the USPS will bring down on us.

  • Tim in PA

    “If the USPS was ever privatized, which it won’t, Either UPS or Fedex would do a better job”

    Close enough to that already, the USPS has been fending for itself for a number of years now — it isn’t supported by gov’t money anymore. I used to work for them, and while they generally get your stuff to you a day or two slower than UPS or Fedex, they’re cheaper and have far, far fewer problems with theft enroute. USPS facilities have very elaborate and obvious surveilance setups inside, which, along with the whole federal felony part, really discourages mail handlers from stealing. I’ll take that over privatization any day. As for your USPS mail carrier, most are nice, but sometimes you get one that is totally incompetent and/or a jerk — my parents still refer to their carrier as the “mail bitch”, for instance.

    UPS sometimes has serious problems with theft, damaged goods, and “delivery attempts” where they didn’t actually do anything of the sort. Personally, I’ve had good luck with them (knock on wood).

    The local Fed Ex guy, on the other hand, thinks he’s Dan Marino and likes to drive half way up the driveway, lean out the door, and hurl things at my house — into the lawn, the driveway, the porch, where ever.

    This year my family had a lot of trouble with online retailers — Amazon, and a few smaller outfits here and there. Everyone was saying, “order by this date and you’ll get it by the 23rd”. Amazon actually used the word “guarantee”, and then ended up later sending several emails saying there was something wrong with my order, and to go check my account. I checked my account, nothing out of the ordinary. I got another email a couple days later, so I tried to check again and their account system was down. They ended up overnighting the gift without any increase for us in shipping, and it got here on the 24th – but the ‘suspense’ was really annoying. If people can’t order with confidence for delivery on a deadline, then they’ll shop somewhere else. Another place, a hardware retailer, wasn’t even close — they said it would get here on the 22nd, but they didn’t even ship the darn thing until the 23rd.

  • Vince

    My mom sent me two packages from North Carolina to Utah by Priority Mail. Both packages got there the next business day, Saturday to Monday. I was totally surprised to see this article. I worked for a little shipping store like a UPS store over the Christmas season, and I hadn’t heard of problems at all. Though I won’t be around for the real test, customers complaining about their packages not getting there.

  • Tom

    I ordered a printer from Woot.com. They had it delivered by Fedex, and it was delivered in a timely manner. Problem was, they didn’t require a signature for some reason, and Fedex left it at my apartment door, from which it was promptly stolen.

  • Chris

    JohnnyL–Monday was a postal holiday. But I feel your pain on the no mail for a day on a regular basis. For us, it is clearly the result of the regular mail carrier taking a day off–the substitute never delivers to our block. I suspect your major problem have a similar source.

    We had regular problems with UPS a couple years ago. Apparently, at the time in Chicago at least, whether a package would be left at the door was “at the driver’s discretion”–including after signing the release on the non-delivery notice. Drove me nuts, as it was not possible to have someone home during the day. Either that policy was changed or the drivers were told that our neighborhood is okay (no real change in the past 5 years). One package got sent back and forth b/t Chicago and Mesquite Texas at least 5 times (I checked its progress for 2 weeks) before finally getting on a truck to our house. Seller replaced with a package sent Fedex which arrived with no difficulty. Either way, no major problems with ups in the past 3 years.

    Amazon Prime has been occassionally spotty, with a number of items arriving next day via USPS and a few things getting lost by both USPS and UPS.

  • Tom, I had the same problem with EBuyer & UPS. They shipped with no signature required, and it was stolen off my front steps. Nice. Now I have to go through a whole drama-rama about submitting a claim to UPS, blah, blah, blah. The best part? EBuyer refused to ship to anywhere but billing address (like, say, my work address where someone could make sure I actually received the item).

    That’s it for EBuyer. Never again.

  • arminius

    Our extended family’s entire Christmas came from Amazon, with the small exception of a couple of horses from American Girl. I was very surprised with the hundreds of items involved that not one was missed or late. The Super Saver shipping ones came faster than the Normal shipping rate, while the Normal shipping items were there in 2 days or even less. And that is West Virginia, not just right beside the warehouse in NJ or anything.

    I’m not surprised other people had problems though. I would be furious if a shipper left an item at the front door and walked away…!

  • Brian

    It took 8 days for a UPS package to get from Philly to Albuqueruqe, despite paying for 3-day select, and the UPS guy on the phone refused to refund the difference. After a chat with his boss, they did.

  • I sold about 40 RC cars on eBay this month, and all were sent Priority Mail and were dropped off at the post office by the 16th. All of my packages were taking an average of 6 – 7 days for delivery. One mailed on the 12th didn’t get to its destination until the 24th (whew), but I still had three that didn’t make it in time for Christmas. Two were delivered yesterday and one is still in post office lala land. These buyers are furious with me, but what can I do?

    My friend has told me that the post office problems have been on the news the last couple of days, but I haven’t been able to find any info. Does anyone have a link to a related news story? I’d at least like to be able to send these buyers this info so they realize that I’m not just giving them some song and dance…

    Whats bad is last year I had a couple packages stolen from UPS, so that is why I decided to just use USPS this year. Didn’t figure it could be worse, but I figured wrong. So disappointing.

  • Jim of Dallas

    Back on November 30 I ordered a ThinkGeek package that was sent via the DHL to USPS method. It vanished in transit on 12/02/2005.

    DHL says that DHL passed it to USPS at Love Field TX. Then USPS Love Field only shows that ‘electronic shipping info received’. After many calls both carriers only point fingers at each other. Also I think all they do is refer to electronic information and never ask their people at the location to look. Also DHL has a major programming fix needed (I’ll apply for this job) to track mislaid packages.

    I am waiting another week or so before I ask ThinkGeek to resend the package. Maybe its in a corner somehwere. If it was stolen then the dummies lost out because its just books and I know those thieves cannot read.

    USPS is pretty good about getting things across. Wish they had more ‘in transit’ information like UPS.

    UPS is great. Next year we’ll know all the GPS information. What stop light our package is at or what fast food place its at while the driver is at lunch.

    DHL is ok but I do not use them much at all. Once in a while I use them to deliver my trip luggage so I don’t have to mess with that at the airport.

    Merry everything everybody, have a great 2006
    Jim B.

  • Amy

    The post office sucks. They are completely unreliable and I am never sending a package through them again. My Christmas presents that I mailed priority took a week and a half to get there and some presents for my daughters that my mom sent to us — still haven’t arrived. They were mailed priority on Dec. 16th. The post office has no clue where they are. Why are they so horrible?????????????????????????????

  • Jim of Dallas

    Hi Amy,

    So thats where all the wind is going? To the post office?

    They are so horrible because rarely can you get someone to take responsibility for something. I now paying that .45 per package for delivery notificiation because at least they know it is somewhere. Also insurance might be helpful. Not for 2005 of course, but next year.

    I hope your packages, like mine, show up sometime. That they are on the bottom of a pile somewhere and will eventually surface.

    Dec 16 is a peak time. According to my local UPS guys. I used UPS on 12/12 and they said that was great because it was busy 12/16 then crazy on 12/19.

    When I called USPS they quickly called back and asked if I had recieved a 3849 then when I told them it was DHL well then that was the end of the story. Obviously DHL scans entire pallets of packages but mine was not really on the pallet. Oh really? Nice bedtime story.

    One time USPS really helped but it was my fault. I had HELD my mail while I was out at Christmas then dummy me wondered why no packages. USPS was very diligent about researching my dumb problem, I had forgotted my HOLD notice.

  • I had an experience with DHL a while back. I had expressed ordered a 2 gig SD memory card so I could load some movies onto it before taking a long flight across country.

    I had found a great deal at outpost and with overnight, it should have arrived in plenty of time, right???

    Due to a quirk in my schedule, I actually arrived home early. Not that it matters, as I live in an apartment complex with an office open until 8pm that accepts packages.

    So I sit and check the DHL web site to see where my package is.

    Imagine my surprise when it goes from “out for delivery” to “delivery attempted–will try again next business day”

    It was 4:40pm which means not only was I home, but the main office AND the store that accepts packages was open. So I was like, what the heck? I immediately call DHL.

    They are less than helpful–they have NO way of contacting drivers while they are out in the field. Cell phones are NOT something they are big on apparently. Might actually help them get more stuff delivered. At any rate, the manager says she will try to page the driver but no guarantee they can find him or her. They take my phone number and promise they will call me back when they can figure out what happened.

    So what actually happened? did the driver go to the wrong address and nobody was home? Did the driver decide he was done for the day, just marked “delivery attempted” and went home? Who knows? No message/sticker was left on my door or in the office with evidence the dhl dude was ever physically in my apartment complex.

    SO who knows where he went or left this #$#$ sticker. At any rate, nobody ever calls me back.

    I cal DHL back, get the manager on the phone. They make it abundantly clear they will not try to deliver it again that night. Despite I have an 8am flight the next morning and their office opens at 8am, so I can’t even stop by their office at the airport to pick it up if I wanted to. I know I’m beat at this point. So I just complain for a while, and I ask them if there is any way they can figure out if the driver went to the wrong address or just decided to give up on the rest of the day? No idea. I also ask–any idea, since I left a phone number, why nobody called me back? Nope.

    And lastly..I asked how can you run a delivery business in which you have NO WAY to contact the delivery drivers! What if they were shipping something dangerous and you had to warn them? ORRRRRR, what if you were just TRYING to help them delivery a #$#$ overnight package on time ?

    SO I wouldnt recommend DHL. The manager promised me they would send me a follow up report on what happened. Nothing.

    At least they did deliver the package the next day, to the office instead of the store that receives packages….after I was already in california of course.

    And in a totally unrelated story, I can mention an experience a friend had–a huge fight with UPS over a package that was never received but UPS swore was delivered. They left it at the house next door and never realized it was the wrong address. Fortunately he had honest neighboors and got his package.

  • Fred

    I bought some glass items from a small Internet vendor for a holiday gift for the wife. I bought a very small non-glass item a few weeks earlier so I trusted the vendor. One of my relatives was home at the time of delivery – a flimsy “paperish” container in an empty plastic bag arrived from the postal service and an appology note – with no merchandise at all. Vendor wont refund me, postal service wont pay up because it wasnt insured – what’s a guy to do???

  • Raymond

    Here’s another one for the list.

    The last 4 FedEx deliveries in a row were not delivered on the date FedEx’ website shows it as delivered. Its been 10 days now and I’m still waiting for the one of the “deliveries”.

    Anarchy reigns in the driver ranks.

  • Thebatteryshack

    Actually , someone at DHL lied to you , they have radios in each delivery vehicle and are in constant contact with the drivers, how do i know this ?
    my husband works for them !
    i listen in all day on my home scanner .

    im an ebay seller myself and from dec 19th up until jan 12th i have had nothing but disasters from the USPS , some items mailed DEC 29th have yet to be delivered .
    i received a letter from approx 3 miles away , took them 12 days to get it here !
    i have many angry customers but again , what can i do , the delivery confirmation only shows the shipping label was printed ,and gives no clue of their whereabouts until they are actually delivered .
    But on the other hand , Canada , OH canada , i will be changing my mailing choices and making them pay for USPS Global Priority Mail , the air letter post regularly takes 3-6 weeks for delivery . hopefully the GPM will work better and allow me to continue to sell to canada , otherwise i will simply refuse sells to Canadians .

  • I so hate USPS.. My girlfried (AZ) sent me a letter a month and a half ago to me (Germany), still nothing… My mom sent me a package a month ago, still nothing… I made an order from a very reliable company (several orders through them) (Hong Kong) 3 wks ago, still nothing… wtf?! Hell, my buddy here is getting every package he’s ordered within 1 weeks time. I don’t get it, and I wish USPS had tracking numbers that they’d give to the shipping company so you could bitch at them fuckers for taking their god-damned time…

  • barbara

    hope someone can help,

    i am waiting for a parcel from the states to france it was posted on the 2nd of febuary using global priority mail estimated 4-6 days still not received it any idea who i contact and also will this parcel be delivered by my postman or a courrier service.

    thanks in advance for any answers

  • ralph ireland


  • UPS seems to believe americans sit home home all day and have nothing to do but wait around for packages wheras The United states postal service has not problem with leaving packages at your door with a gaurantee. Tell people not to use UPS they are a disgrace to america. We do work during the day and have jobs. I tell them that on the phone and they get real smarty pants and say I have a job too. Shows there mentality eh? Avoid them. The expect you to drive out to there facility and pick up a package using your gas when you paid to have it delivered or jump through lots of hoops. forget them, lots of other shippers out there. If you need a good shipper for large heavy items over 200 lbs try LONGHAUL trucking. Very cheap or DHL is inexpensive and delivers.

  • ilknur

    i’ve ordered a camcorder from best buy. I was home when the UPS came he rang the wrong doorbell.From my window i’ve asked him if he can come to the back door, when i went to the door to sign for the package he had already left. The package was left on the floor.The packaged was clearly re-sealed. When i openned the package right away ,it was empty with only the plastic bags and the invoice inside. I was devastated. I called after Ups, but he had long gone. I’ve called bestbuy like 10 times and each time they tell me they will give call back, its been over week, still awaiting…Also when i checked online it said it was signed by me, but i haven’t. I’m very upset!

  • Eric

    My mother sent me a xbox 360 along with a bunch of other Christmas presents via USPS and someone along its journey opened the box and stole the xbox 360 but left everything else. I know they opened it because there was different tape over the tape my mom used because they had to rewrap it and the presents inside were opened just enough to see what they were. I think it is messed up that people can steal someones christmas from them like that. Now I don’t get my present I wanted the most.

  • sTEF

    usps DELIVERED 130 dollars worth of my Christmas merchandise to the wrong zip code. Now , even with a tracking number, all the site says is it was delivered at a certain time, on a certain day, but not who got it, or even to which address it was mistakinly dropped!I am furious. What can I do?

  • KevinM

    I am so happy (and sorry to hear!) that I am not alone in the dealings with the USPS. They are absolutly horrid here in California. If I don’t have any mail coming in, they don’t even pick up the mail going out, they just skip us. Complaints do not work and they really give the feeling that they don’t care.

    I was supposed to get a letter about a week ago that had some really important stuff to help Christmas (money) and well, here we are almost a week later and nothing. Thanks USPS.

    Even better is the package I had shipped priority from less then 200 miles away. I needed some sanitizer for some home brew that needed to be put into bottles and this sanitizer is really the best stuff. 2 weeks again, and then since nobody was home (more like they just didn’t knock since my roommate is home on disability with a busted leg, so he cannot really just leave) they made me come pick it up or wait 4 more days.

    What is even more entertaining is trying to find out if the USPS is working today from their site! Nowhere is there any sort of hours of operation on the website, searching brings me to useless articles. luckily I found they do through this site! Thanks!!