Some companies take good care of their customers; others fall way short of expectations. Consumer Reports’ fifth annual Naughty & Nice List is designed to give a shout out to those that merit cheers and point out those that deserve jeers.
The editors choose companies for the “naughty list” if they have hidden or annoying fees, stingy return policies or simply bad corporate behavior.
“Making the list is neither an endorsement nor a repudiation of a company on the whole,” said Tod Marks, senior editor and resident shopping expert at Consumer Reports. “Remember, companies have zillions of policies. We’re taking a look at a particular thing they did that is either positive or negative toward consumers.”
Marks told TODAY.com the list is intended to help shoppers during the hectic holiday shopping season.
Here are some of the companies that made the “naughty” side of the ledger and why:
- Overstock.com: The well-known shopping site does not allowreturns or refunds on television sets 37 inches and larger. Customers are told to “carefully inspect the package” when it arrives and refuse delivery if they spot damage or defects. If there’s a problem after the set is unpacked and plugged in, you’ll need to take that up with the manufacturer.
- Dillard’s: Consumer Reports gave the well-known department store a lump of coal for its policy of not giving price adjustments for either in-store or online purchases.
- Spirit Airlines: This low-cost carrier charges a fee for everything other than the basic ticket. Just in time for the holiday travel season, it hiked the baggage fee by $2 per bag. Spirit calls it’s a “temporary” fee. Consumer Reports says, “Humbug!”
- Zales: Borrowing from a retail store can be costly. The average interest rate now is about 23 percent, according to a survey by CreditCards.com. Consumer Reports noted that the Zales jewelry chain had the highest rate of any large merchant in that survey, 28.99 percent APR.
Here are a few of the companies that received praise for being “nice” to customers:
- Discover: We’re always being told to check our credit scores. Discover makes it easy to do that by becoming the first major credit-card issuer to provide free FICO scores on the monthly statements of qualifying cardholders.
- JetBlue: The airline won praise for its generous price-adjustment policy. If you notice a fare drop for your flight within 14 days of booking, you can call the airline and receive a JetBlue credit for the difference. If you notice a lower fare 15 days or more after booking, JetBlue will issue a credit for the difference minus $75.
- Sam’s Club: Wal-Mart’s warehouse club has a novel guarantee on fresh meat, produce and baked goods. If members don’t like what they bought, Sam’s Club will refund double their money, or exchange the product and still refund the purchase price.
- UPS: ‘Tis the season for missing package deliveries. UPS has an innovative new service that eliminates that frustration. UPS Access Point lets drivers deliver shipments to a safe and pre-approved nearby location, such as The UPS Store, supermarket or convenience store. This service is available in New York City and Chicago. The service is expected to roll out to key U.S. markets during 2015.
You’ll find the complete 2014 Naughty & Nice List on the Consumer Reports website.