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Holiday shipping delays upset customers

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) - Late into Thursday evening, workers at this Alexandria UPS were still trying to catch up on the company’s backlogged Christmas deliveries.

This couple drove here hoping to finally get their present:

"Merry Christmas, Happy New Year...maybe we'll get it, I don't know, we're standing in line," said Marty Lenehan.

But all they got was more bad news.

"They could not find it so they did a little more research and said, 'Oh, it's still on the truck,'" said Doug Dillon.

Analysts say the shipping giants were overwhelmed when online shopping shot up 37-percent. Retailers pushed ordering deadlines to the last minute while guaranteeing delivery, and shippers made promises they couldn’t keep.

Neither company would say just how many customers were affected, but UPS is said to have been hit the hardest.

Meanwhile, there are apologies from retailers for the unexpected delays. Amazon is offering shipping refunds and $20 gift cards, while Groupon and Wal-Mart are offering $25 in compensation; Kohl’s is offering to refund the full cost of items not delivered on time.

But some customers are still deciding whether to forgive and forget.

Manassas mother Lorrie Howard spent Christmas Eve scrambling to get her four-year-old son’s holiday gift to her home.

She paid $30 extra for next-day delivery through FedEx so that the ‘Thomas the Tank Engine chair would make it by Tuesday.

But later that afternoon, she was told by a company telephone representative:

Sorry...we're overwhelmed...it's not getting shipped today.

The package was at this Herndon FedEx facility, and Dylan’s dad made the nearly hour-long trek there. When he arrived five minutes before closing time, he found other irate customers.

“There were dozens of other people there just kind of rolling in with their tracking slips. “

Ibrahim Kayyat paid extra to have his brother’s present delivered by Christmas, and was disappointed when it never arrived. He ended up having to go to this Alexandria UPS facility to pick up the gift today – the day after Christmas.

“I talked to them not he phone for hours and I had a lot of arguments and they said I just had to come pick it up.”

UPS issued a statement stating the following: "The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network..."

Meanwhile, FedEx told its customers: "we're sorry that their could be delays..."

Lorrie Howard says she will try to get her money back for the so-called expedited shipping. But the whole experience leaves her frustrated by the lack of customer service:

“I think their attitude toward it was really poor. I think it is still really poor. I think how could you have not been prepared for the season?"

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