Holiday Shipping Gripes

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver up to 470 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. That’s around 50 million more than the same time last year. And as more people shop online, FedEx and UPS also forecast a record number of deliveries. In a recent survey, Consumer Reports asked 1,000 people about their shipping gripes. And it has tips to help your boxes reach their destinations.

The most common complaint in the survey is high shipping fees. To find the best deal, Consumer Reports checked out rates for the U.S. Post Office, Federal Express, and UPS, comparing the basic price to ship a 3-pound package from Consumer Reports’ New York headquarters to Plano, Texas. The package was shipped three ways: standard overnight, second day, and ground shipment. The U.S. Postal Service was the least expensive every time. For example, its rate for second-day delivery was about $12. The FedEx and UPS rates were more than $60.

Another gripe? Valuable packages left outside the door. That happened to more than half of those surveyed. And about four in 10 have had a package go missing. If you’re shipping valuable items, you might want to consider insurance. With UPS and FedEx, you’re automatically covered for up to $100. The post office also automatically insures most Priority Mail Express shipments for up to $100. But buy additional insurance if your item is really expensive.

A final complaint: 55 percent said a package wasn’t delivered when promised. If you want to be sure your package gets there on time and not pay a lot of money, ship early. The U.S. Postal Service says that if you want a package delivered by Christmas, the absolute deadline for Express Service is Dec. 23.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on ConsumerReports.org.

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