Holiday shipping delays: What you can do about it 

Guest Author: Brian Gibbs of Refund Retriever

It is a known fact that shipping is expensive, and many eCommerce companies today deal with late packages that hurt their bottom line. Most shippers are aware of the UPS and FedEx delivery guarantee. Each package has a guarantee to arrive on time or it’s free. However, shippers can expect the money-back guarantee to change during the peak holiday season. Customers are more demanding and have higher expectations of shipping speed during the holidays than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, holiday shipping delays do happen. Shippers, in general, should want to increase shipment visibility. Before the holidays start, it is important to note the following dates:

UPS holiday money-back guarantee adjustments 

During the 2019 holiday shipping season, UPS will temporarily suspend the money-back guarantee for the following dates: 

UPS Air Services 

Air packages with a delivery December 16 through December 24, and December 31, the money-back guarantee extends as follows: 

  • UPS Next Day Air Early: guarantee extended by 90 minutes 
  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus: guarantee extended by 90 minutes 
  • All other Air and International services: extended to end-of-day 

UPS Ground 

  • The UPS holiday money-back guarantee for all UPS Ground will be suspended temporarily for packages picked up or scheduled for delivery on December 2 through December 24, 2019. 

UPS Packages requiring an additional day in transit 

  • From December 2 to December 24, a limited number of UPS Ground packages will require an additional day in transit. 
  • All UPS 2nd Day Air packages tendered December 16 through 20 will require one additional day in transit. 
  • 3 Day Select packages tendered December 16 through 19 will require one additional day in transit. 

No movement of any UPS packages on the following dates: 

  • November 28, 2019, December 25, 2019, and January 1, 2020 

To ensure delivery before Christmas Day, these are the last days to tender UPS packages: 

  • UPS Next Day Air: Monday, December 23 
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: Friday, December 20 
  • 3 Day Select: Thursday, December 19 
  • UPS Ground: Friday, December 13 

FedEx holiday money-back guarantee adjustments 

FedEx will also temporarily suspend the money-back guarantee for certain dates. Other than the dates listed below, each and every Ground, Home Delivery, and Express FedEx package is guaranteed to arrive on time or it’s free. Note that the FedEx SameDay money-back guarantee terms and conditions do not change during the holidays. 

FedEx Express Exceptions 

  • November 27: shipments that reach the destination within 90 minutes of the scheduled commitment time will not receive a refund. 
  • December 18 to December 24: shipments arriving by the end of the day on the published delivery commitment date will not receive a refund under the FedEx money-back guarantee policy. 

For example, A package guaranteed by noon will not receive a refund if delivered by 5 pm that same day. 

FedEx Ground Exceptions 

  • November 29: the delivery commitment extends to the next business day. 
  • The money-back guarantee for FedEx Ground and Home Delivery is suspended for packages picked up: November 29 through December 24, 2019. 

FedEx Freight Exceptions 

  • FedEx Freight suspends the no-fee money-back guarantee for shipments with required delivery dates of December 16, through January 2, 2020.

What your business can do about holiday shipping delays 

Incorporating parcel auditing into your shipping strategy can benefit online sellers year-round. The advantages of parcel auditing are particularly clear during the holidays. Auditing allows companies to monitor overcharges that may apply to shipments, late deliveries that your business deserves refunds for, damaged packages, and more. A valuable byproduct of a good parcel auditing company is data and analytics that provide insight on shipping history and cost allocation. Such data will allow you to identify shipping and human error, helping you save money when possible. 

Since 2006, Refund Retriever has been auditing FedEx and UPS invoices for large and small shippers alike to identify and submit refunds on these late deliveries. UPS and FedEx holiday money-back guarantees are confusing, reach out to us if you need any help. Contact Refund Retriever to see a direct recovery on your late shipments. Even when the carriers do not allow refunds for holiday shipping delays, our client interface will still provide a full suite of reports and analytics to help make your shipping process more efficient. 

About the Author | Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever’s primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he then graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, ecommerce and more. Learn more at or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.