Amazon.Com Makes Up To Customers After UPS Backup

, Daily Business Review

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Amazon.com Inc., the largest online retailer, offered customers $20 gift cards and refunds on shipping charges after an avalanche of orders caused United Parcel Service Inc. to miss delivery of some packages by Christmas.

Amazon cited failures in UPS's transportation network in messages to customers, saying its own fulfillment centers processed customers' orders in time for holiday delivery. Amazon is reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers, spokeswoman Mary Osako said in an e-mail.

UPS, the world's largest package-delivery company, said in a service update on its website that the volume of air packages exceeded its capacity immediately preceding Christmas. The company would resume normally scheduled service today after making no pickups or deliveries on Christmas Day, it said.

"You had a perfect storm of events from the consumer side, the retailer side and the shipping side," Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners LLC in New Canaan, Conn., said in a phone interview.

"At the last minute this year, a number of retailers extended their cutoff date to get there by the 24th," Johnson said, to compensate for a "mediocre" holiday shopping season. "Normally those kinds of schedules are all kind of prepared or coordinated with the carriers."

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