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Consumer reports unveils naughty, nice holiday list

November 22, 2010 8:29:45 AM PST
Consumer Reports on Monday unveiled its latest public-education campaign: the first Consumer Reports' Naughty & Nice Holiday List.

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

The Naughty & 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.

    Previous Consumer Reports' public-education campaigns during the holiday period have focused on gift cards, extended warranties, consumer debt and holiday annoyances. In 2007, the organization took on the retail sector and the ubiquitous gift card with a full-page ad in The New York Times, which advised consumers that $8 billion in gift cards go unused and wind up back in the pockets of retailers. The campaign called on retailers and the National Retail Federation to eliminate expiration dates and service fees. Consumer Reports' 2006 campaign advised consumers to skip the extended warranty. That ad was rebutted by a full-page ad one week later from the Service Contract Industry Council. Following this campaign, the Consumer Electronics Association reported consumer interest in purchasing extended warranties fell 20 percent.

    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 & Nice Holiday List as well as additional information to help consumers navigate the holiday shopping season.


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