A major courier firm that delivers on behalf of retailers including Amazon, Argos and Tesco has announced its parcels will be delayed due to bigger demand than expected at Christmas, to the frustration of those who thought it was a relatively well established sales peak in the retail calendar.
Yodel, the largest parcel deliverer in the UK after Royal Mail, apologised to customers after announcing that some parcel collections will be delayed by 48 hours because it did not anticipate how much people would order for Christmas, saying events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday fuelled demand beyond expectation.
The company denied rumours that it had suspended collections, but issued a statement on its website which read: "We are continuing to receive extremely high numbers of parcels as a result of the seasonal sales.
"We're working hard to get your orders to you asap, but some may experience a slight delay in arriving. Thank you for your patience."
Anxious shopped waiting for deliveries were unimpressed, with one person saying Yodel was blaming its clients for the delay.
So Yodel are saying they can't deliver parcels within a reasonable time window. What's new there then? They've always been the worst.— James Cowell (@JamsCowbell) December 12, 2014
And the @yodelonline statement is pretty much saying "It's not our fault! The bloody shops are expecting us to deliver stuff!"— Brian Shelf (@brianshelf) December 12, 2014
Just ordered my Easter Egg - hope #yodel deliver it before April!— Richard Lang (@Richardlang57) December 12, 2014
In a letter to retailers, Dick Stead, executive chairman of the company, said: "This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but one that we have had to take to protect service levels."
He added: "The recent, well documented, retail promotions have resulted in continuing high parcel volumes, significantly over the level expected by many of our clients.
"We would like to reassure consumers that there is no suspension to our delivery service and we are working with all our clients to manage the flow of fresh parcels into our network.
"In order to protect service levels for our clients and their customers this will include a 24-48 hour delay on some new parcel collections from clients, with normal service being resumed by Monday. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."
Yodel is not alone in underestimating demand this year. Marks & Spencer has said it is still trying clear orders placed on Black Friday, according to The Guardian.
Yodel was named the worst parcel deliverer in a poll conducted just after last Christmas by the website MoneySavingExpert.com.
A total of 58% of people who had parcels delivered by them rated their experience as bad.
In a statement, the company said: “The recent, well documented Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other retail promotions have resulted in unexpectedly high parcel volumes across the carrier industry.
"On these key days we have experienced volumes that were up to 26% over the forecast from our clients.
“We would like to reassure consumers that there is no suspension to our delivery service. We are working with all our clients to manage the flow of fresh parcels into our network."
The company is running a rolling blog of "the facts" of what is happening to its deliveries on its website.