Heading into the Holidays Shippers Suspend Delivery Guarantees, and Increase Costs- Well it is 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how almost every business conducts its operations, at least for the short- and medium-term, and in some cases, possibly longer. One stumbling block we’ve had to deal with is the change to shipping carriers’ practices, terms and delivery guarantees in response to the pandemic.
Due to transportation limitations stemming from the outbreak, UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service have all issued updates to their service guarantees and timetables. As UPS notes on its website, “The novel coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented complexities, which have required us to constantly reassess our operations. Our highest priority is to help ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and suppliers.”
With the holidays approaching and the virus waving back at us again, we will all have to expect delayed arrivals for shipments coming in and going out.
We are clear to explain to clients that the major carriers—UPS, FedEx and USPS—have all pretty much suspended their delivery guarantees on all their levels of service due to delays resulting from the tremendous increase in delivery volume coupled with staffing shortages due to COVID. Keeping clients informed ahead of time of course eliminates any issues in delivery times by setting realistic expectations.
As we move ahead now into holiday shipping, we have added a week sometimes two in our production schedules to accommodate for delays of incoming and outgoing product.
In March, UPS suspended its service guarantee for all shipments from any origin to any destination and has not yet reinstated them. In April, the USPS noted that its Priority Mail products and First-Class packages could temporarily require more time to be delivered due to limited transportation availability, and that Priority Mail’s two-day and three-day service commitments are extended to three days and four days, respectively. Those notifications remain in effect. Earlier this year, FedEx, citing local, state and national governments around the world issuing work and travel restrictions, suspended its money-back guarantee for all FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office services until further notice.
In addition to the delays in shipping came the not surprising (although many called it shocking. .but really- can you be shocked about this) increase in charges with less than a weeks’ notice. In April, FedEx and UPS added additional levies onto International parcels and shortly after that increased fees for ground and air shipments and home deliveries so if you thought you were going crazy when you shipped a package and saw the price- nope- higher fees and longer ship times. Good times in 2020- good times!
It’s a struggle for all of us to pay for expedited shipping when those services aren’t really those services right now. As a business owner having to deal with this I find it wrong of the carriers to charge the same amounts, but that’s how it goes. . . . well, until I become President and then I can make things fair and reasonable. In the meantime- all of us at In the Present are working with our clients closely to make things as easy as possible- and we don’t mark up shipping so it is what it is.