UPS working around the clock to clear ice storm backlog

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 23 at 11:40 PM

Few things are more frustrating than getting the runaround from a large company. Add the final few hours before Christmas to the mix and it's more than frustration — people are downright mad.

"It's lost in their building somewhere," said Mark Przybyla, standing outside a Northwest Dallas UPS distribution center. He received text messages and e-mails telling him the package he ordered after the ice storm had arrived and was ready for pickup at the center off Walnut Hill Lane. But when he arrived there in person? "They just can't seem to find packages," he said.

Jeff Hayes is in the same boat.

"It's terribly disappointing because we ordered these things December 1," he said, now worried that those two won't arrive in time for Christmas Day. He knows the parcels are just a tantalizing few feet away from him.

They are inside the building, but they can't be found.

"The people in Memphis say they can get them out," he said, recalling several phone conversations with UPS customer service representatives. "But the people inside that [Dallas] building say they can't find them, because there's a thousand packages on pallets in there, and they can't find ours."

A distribution center in Fort Worth may have had even more upset UPS customers. The parking lot at that location was packed.

George Karam and Lucy Breor came in person to pick up a pink guitar ordered for George's little sister. "It got here the 18th," Karam said. "We got to the front of the line in there after waiting an hour, and they said it's here, but it has not been processed."

"Been here since the 18th but it's not processed," Breor repeated. "And they don't know if we'll get it for Christmas."

In the final few hours before packages will be opened, many have yet to be delivered.

"I can't tell you how many countless hours we have spent on the phone dealing with this issue," Hayes said. "And they're still blaming it on the ice storm two-and-a-half weeks ago."

UPS maintains the ice storm hit just as the holiday shipping rush did. Those two things created a major backlog from which they've yet to recover. They've brought in hundreds of extra hands to the DFW region, and it appears they'll even spend Christmas inside these centers working non-stop, hoping to get everything where it belongs by the holiday.

But UPS does add that they suspend their on-time delivery guarantee for ground shipments during the holiday season. Packages shipped by air have been arriving on time for days, UPS said.

Jeff Hayes said he's hopeful, but he's not holding his breath that his package will make it in time.

"This time of year, everybody's stress level gets high, so it's good to put this in perspective," he said. "But it's hard. You're trying to do things for people, and you can't do it."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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