'It's going to get worse': Shipping delays threaten to ruin Christmas

  • A pilot for a company that delivers goods for Amazon told The Washington Post that shipping delays are "going to get worse in the next two weeks leading up to Christmas."
  • Delivery companies are under pressure from soaring online sales this holiday season.
  • But UPS says the "vast majority" of packages will arrive on time.

 

A record-breaking surge in online purchases this holiday season is leading to delivery delays across the US. 

Unfortunately for last-minute shoppers, the delay problems are expected to get even worse in the final weeks leading up to Christmas, according to one airline pilot.

10 items you should never buy online:

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Items you should never buy online
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Items you should never buy online

Flowers

Although it may be more convenient to purchase flowers online, if you have time, it's best to locate a local florist near the person you want to send flowers to. According to a study by Cheapism.com, you're more likely to pay less and receive a better bouquet for your money when you use a local florist. 

Photo credit: Getty

Furniture 

You may not realize it, but when you purchase furniture online, you also have to pay for delivery and surcharge fees. In order to avoid paying these unwanted costs, it's easier to get it in person. For example, when buying furniture in-store, you're able to negotiate a better price and maybe even convince the salesperson to throw in free delivery. 

Photo credit: Getty

Groceries 

Much like shopping for flowers, it is best to purchase your groceries at an actual grocery store. When you purchase them in person, you have the opportunity ensure you are choosing the best meats, produce, etc. -- something you can't do when ordering online.

 Photo credit: Getty

Swimwear 

As beach season rapidly approaches, you probably want to invest in a few new swimsuits. However, before you make that online purchase you'll want to heed this warning. Trae Bodge, senior editor at RetailMeNot, says, " Fit can fluctuate even among suits from the same brand...  and many online retailers don’t allow swimsuit returns if the packaging has been opened or there’s evidence the suit has been worn." 

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Social Media Followers 
We get it, social media is addicting.  While it may be cool to have over 10,000 followers, buying them can be risky. Depending on the social media site you are using, the followers you purchase can be deleted if they are considered spam accounts. 

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Prescriptions 
Unless advised by your doctor, you should avoid buying medicine online at all costs. It can be tempting to get off-brand products, but you may be unknowingly purchasing illegal or counterfeit drugs. 

Photo credit: Getty

Cars
The internet has made it possible to cut out the middleman when dealing with major purchases, but sometimes, that salesperson is needed. If you're buying a car for the first time, it may be best to get it at a dealership. When you get a car online, you're taking away the opportunity to test it out first and negotiate a better deal. 

Photo credit: Getty

Knockoff Accessories 
While getting counterfeit bags and jewelry is cheaper than buying the real thing, you should do so with much caution. Oftentimes, these items are sold on unsecured sites which can lead to either your computer getting a virus or your identity being stolen. 

Photo credit: Getty

Pets
While you can find an array of pets being sold online, it is always safest to purchase one in person. Much like furniture, you may have to deal with excessive delivery fees, and what's more, your pet can get sick or even worse. 

Photo credit: Getty

Fragile Items
If you're truly invested in a fragile or irreplaceable item, it's highly recommended to buy and pick it up in the store. This cuts out any chances of a delivery person dropping and breaking your prized possession. 

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"It looks like the next three weeks are going to be challenging, particularly with serving Amazon," Robert Kirchner, a pilot for Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and executive council chairman of the labor union Teamsters Local 1224, told The Washington Post. "Amazon is already expecting delay problems — we know this from UPS and certainly from our own flight problems — and we're expecting that it's going to get worse in the next two weeks leading up to Christmas."

Delivery companies are feeling the pressure after Cyber Monday sales soared 17% over last year, for an estimated $6.6 billion in online sales, making it the biggest online shopping day in US history. 

Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day also generated strong online sales of $5 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively.

UPS said last week that the deluge of online purchases during Cyber Week resulted in package delays of one or two days. The company's delivery drivers have been working overtime — as many as 70 hours over eight days — to clear the backlog of packages.

UPS told the Post that it has since returned to the "peak operating plan."

"The vast majority of packages will be delivered in accordance with the service commitments for the specified time-in-transit," a UPS spokeswoman told the Post. 

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