The primary goal of this study is to investigate the roles of expectations and purchase criticality on consumers' brand perceptions and attribution behaviors in service delivery failures. The provision of logistics services is often a crucial point in supply chain management that can influence brand perceptions of customers. Indeed, the level and the quality of customer service provided may determine whether the organization will retain existing customers or even attract new ones. As a consequence, a failure in logistics customer service and its effect on overall perceptions of a brand should not be underestimated. Furthermore, the involvement of a third-party logistics (3PL) company in this failure situation can create considerable shifts in the responses of consumers, especially in the attribution behavior for cause of failure. By applying scenario-based experiments, this study demonstrates the dynamics by which customer expectations, purchase criticality and 3PL companies affect consumer brand perceptions and attributions. The results suggest the presence of two expectation-based buffering effects in delivery failures. The first buffering effect is revealed in overall brand evaluation and repurchase intention, while the second buffering effect is observed in consumer brand attribution. The findings indicate that higher expectations may protect the brand and cause more attribution to the third-party service provider. Additionally, it is shown that criticality of the purchase has crucial impacts on brand evaluations and attributions.