Do UPS, FedEx Guarantee On-Time Delivery? Sometimes Not

The big companies allow themselves an out when they guarantee on-time delivery. It’s not necessarily guaranteed during the holidays.

Now that the dust is settled and all the delayed holiday packages are (hopefully) where they’re supposed to be, we couldn’t help but wonder: Do UPS and FedEx guarantee on-time delivery of packages or you get your money back?

Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t, says Mouse Print, a website dedicated to looking at all of the fine print most of us can’t be bothered about.

It notes that the UPS service guarantee says:

UPS air and international shipments picked up or delivered within the United States are guaranteed throughout the holiday season unless otherwise noted on Commitment times for air and international shipments delivered within the U.S. will be extended by 90 minutes the following days: Nov. 29, Dec. 18-24, and Dec. 31. The guarantee is suspended for UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages picked up or scheduled for delivery between Dec. 11 and Dec. 24.

CBS News reported after the Christmas delivery fiasco that a UPS spokesperson said refunds would be offered only to air and international customers. If you used ground or standard shipping through UPS, you’re out of luck — unless the retailer you ordered from offers to refund the shipping.

At first glance, FedEx seems to be a bit more generous. But Mouse Print noted these exceptions:

We offer a money-back guarantee for our services. This guarantee can be suspended, modified or revoked at our sole discretion without prior notice to you.


The money-back guarantee for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery services will be suspended temporarily for packages tendered during the 14 calendar days before Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013 (Wednesday, Dec. 11, through Tuesday, Dec. 24).

Mouse Print adds that FedEx express services allow an extra 90 minutes to make deliveries at certain times, just as UPS does.

“The bottom line is that these companies have tried to absolve themselves of on-time delivery responsibilities, and have been relatively silent about how they would make good for disappointed shoppers,” Mouse Print says.

I guess you’ll just have to plan ahead next year, as delivery “guarantees” may not be applicable when you need them most. Oh, and read the fine print next time.

Have your late Christmas packages been delivered? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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  • Anne Cook Wielgopolski

    As the wife of a FexEx Express courier I can tell you the peak season is HELL! Not only do they work 12-14 hour days to make deliveries they are overloaded with the volume of packages vs. the number of drivers. This compounded with weather conditions, pick-ups, etc. makes for a very stressful busy season. I can say my husband prides himself in his work but he can only do what he can do in the time allotted to get it done. So while some people didn’t get their ‘guaranteed’ holiday packages I can say with certainty it wasn’t on purpose.

    • Medicine-is-My-Game

      My DH works these hours normally, so I really don’t have a lot of sympathy. But with his job, people can literally die.

      • Anne Cook Wielgopolski

        I don’t think I was asking for sympathy. Just stating a fact.

  • Medicine-is-My-Game

    We finally received our last UPS delivery after Christmas, and received a $20 coupon from Amazon because we have Prime. It was aggravating, but UPS always is. The box contained my gifts and DH was upset. Our biggest complaints with UPS are on-going: they never knock or ring the door bell, we have no idea when things (sometimes expensive and/or electronic) arrive, they never place packages in protective plastic bags as per protocol – they literally dump anything anywhere and run, customer service is disrespectful and the local dispatch/delivery has apologized for actually lying to us repeatedly, and nothing ever changes. Generally we seldom have the option to choose a carrier when ordering, especially through Amazon. If so, we choose the USPS every time. Fed-Ex isn’t bad but the post office has always been excellent. People need to come together and address the UPS issues as a whole because they don’t care what individual customers think. We told Amazon that we were hesitant to order from them in the future because of UPS and they just blew us off.

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