For Consumers, A “Naughty and Nice” List

By US Daily Review Staff.

It is that time of the year again!  More purchases (other than food) will be done the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s than any other time of the year.  Consumer Reports, one of the country’s leading monitors of goods and services, has developed a list of items to consider to make sure you are making the best decisions you can in your shopping.

Consumer Reports this week unveiled its 2011 Naughty & Nice Holiday List.  First introduced in 2010 as part of a public-education campaign, the Naughty & Nice Holiday List looks at the good and not-so-good shopping policies and the companies behind them.  This year’s List includes high profile companies from a variety of fields including: air travel, electronics, apparel retailing, credit-card lending and concert ticketing.

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

“We’re not giving the thumbs up or thumbs down to these companies for everything they do,” said Tod Marks, senior editor and resident shopping expert at Consumer Reports. “We’re really just shining a spotlight on some of the specific policies and practices that we believe help or hurt consumers. Hopefully, we’ll encourage shoppers to be more savvy around the holiday season.”

THE NAUGHTY & THE NICE

The Naughty & Nice Holiday List will be featured in a full-page ad that will appear in the November 21, 2011 edition of USA Today. The ad takes the form of a “Dear Shopper” letter, first introduced in the 2006 campaign, and highlights three “naughty” and three “nice” polices and names the companies behind them. The full Naughty & Nice List is available online at www.ConsumerReports.org. The following companies were called out in the full-page ad:

NAUGHTY

  • AirTran:  Discounted coach and sale-fare tickets don’t include the price of a seat, which costs an extra $6- $20 each way at the time of booking.
  • RadioShack: Sometimes charges different prices for some items depending on whether it was bought online or at the store, including one instance where the cost of an HDMI cable in-store was nearly twice the cost of the online price.
  • American Apparel: Offers two different return policies with no explanation – online customers get full refunds while store shoppers only receive merchandise credit.

NICE

  • American Express: Can refund the full purchase price of covered items, up to $300, when cardholders are unsuccessful in returning them to a merchant within 90 days.
  • REI: Accepts returns or exchanges at any time for any reason in-person or by mail, whether you bought it online, in the store or at an REI Outlet.
  • Live Nation: Gives fans 72 hours to cancel their ticket order and get a refund at many venues, up to one week before the event.

In the ad, consumers are invited to share their own Naughty & Nice Holiday List at facebook.com/ConsumerReports. The full Naughty & Nice Holiday List, comprised of 9 naughty and 10 nice policies, is available at ConsumerReports.org.  For additional information on how to find the best holiday deals and expert advice on top products, consumers can visit Consumer Reports’ online holiday-shopping hub at ConsumerReports.org/holiday.

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, here are a few noteworthy company policies from our annual Naughty & Nice Holiday List.

Naughty

RadioShack
The Shack sometimes charges different prices for the same item. In one incident, the cost of an HDMI cable in-store was nearly twice the cost of the online price.

AirTran
Discounted coach and sale-fare tickets don’t include the price of a seat. So you can hope for a decent seat at the gate—or pay up to $20 each way at the time of booking.

American Apparel
Offers two different return policies with no explanation. Online customers get full refunds. Store shoppers only receive merchandise credit.

Nice

American Express
When cardholders are unsuccessful in returning covered items to a merchant within 90 days, Amex can refund the full purchase price, up to $300.

REI
Accepts returns or exchanges at any time for any reason, in person or by mail, whether you bought it online, in the store, or at an REI Outlet.

Live Nation
Gives fans 72 hours to cancel their ticket order and get a refund at many venues, up to one week before the event.

See the full Naughty & Nice Holiday List at ConsumerReports.org

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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