Consumer Reports unveils naughty, nice list

November 22, 2010 2:43:33 PM PST
Consumer Reports has unveiled its latest public-education campaign: the first Consumer Reports' Naughty and Nice Holiday List.

The list identifies some good and some not-so-good shopping policies and the companies behind them.

The Naughty and Nice Holiday List is based on input from Consumer Reports' reporters and editors who cover shopping, travel, hospitality, telecommunications and other areas. Consumer Reports notes that the Naughty & Nice Holiday List is based on specific policies and is not reflective of a company as a whole.

The following companies were called out for Naughty policies:

  • Verizon Wireless: Doubled to $350 the Early Termination Fee for canceling smart-phone contracts after the 30-day grace period.
  • Macy's: Shipping charges based on the dollar amount of the order, not the size and weight of the package.
  • CompUSA: For imposing unusually punitive restocking fees of "up to 25 percent" of the purchase price on any product that doesn't meet its return criteria.

    The following companies were called out for Nice policies:

  • Zappos.com: Free shipping and free returns, including prepaid return label.
  • L.L.Bean: 100 percent product satisfaction guarantee. Return anything at any time for any reason.
  • Southwest: Two pieces of checked luggage, no charge. And that includes bulky freight such as golf clubs and skis.

    The full list, comprised of 10 naughty and 10 nice policies, is available by CLICKING HERE.

    The centerpiece of the campaign is a full-page ad running in the November 22, 2010 edition of USA Today. The ad highlights the three "naughty" and three "nice" policies listed above.

    The ad takes the form of a "Dear Shopper" letter, first introduced in the 2006 campaign. Consumers are invited to share their own Naughty and Nice Holiday List at Facebook.com/consumerreports.

    "Our goal isn't to laud one company or put down another, but to call out specific policies that we think put consumers first or put them behind the eight ball," said Tod Marks, senior editor and resident shopping expert at Consumer Reports.

    As part of the public-education campaign, Consumer Reports will also launch a holiday-shopping hub at ConsumerReports.org/holiday that will reveal the full Naughty and Nice Holiday List as well as additional information to help consumers navigate the holiday shopping season.

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    CompUSA offered this statement in response to the Consumer Reports list:

    Unfortunately Consumer Reports omitted key information about our policy, which is designed to speed the process for customers making approved returns. Approved returns ? those that include a return authorization code and that are enclosed in the original packaging with all parts, manuals, etc. included ? incur no fees. Due to the difficulty in restocking and reselling items that don't follow these procedures, we may refuse the return or charge restocking fees of up to 25%, though our history indicates that this maximum fee is rarely, if ever, charged. Our policy is made clear on our website, at http://www.compusa.com/sectors/help/return.asp, and applies only to web purchases, not our retail store locations.


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