Ho! Ho! Ho! or No! No! No!: Consumer Reports Reveals Annual Naughty & Nice List of Company Policies and Practices

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CVS, Discover, and JetBlue among those that make CR’s “Nice” List; Overstock.com, Victoria’s Secret, and Spirit Airlines join others who earned lumps of coal

Our Naughty & Nice List is intended to be a helpful guide for holiday shoppers during a time when they need it most.

Consumer Reports today unveiled its fifth annual Naughty & Nice List of company policies and practices. The list includes retailers, airlines, telecomm companies, and others that have been dinged for hidden or annoying fees, stingy return policies, and bad behavior, or lauded for transparency, generosity, and generally making consumers’ lives easier.

The full Naughty & Nice Lists from this year and past years are available online at ConsumerReports.org.    

“Whether they’re flying or buying, banking or borrowing, shoppers are particularly vulnerable during the hectic holiday season,” said Tod Marks, senior editor and resident shopping expert at Consumer Reports. “There’s no more important time to be vigilant about how and with whom we spend our money. Our Naughty & Nice List is intended to be a helpful guide for holiday shoppers during a time when they need it most.”

The Naughty & Nice List is based on input from Consumer Reports’ experts who cover shopping, finance, electronics, and other focus areas. Consumer Reports is asking everyone to join in on the conversation by submitting their Naughty & Nice nominee via Facebook and Twitter (#CRNaughtyNice).

Although Consumer Reports cites companies by name, the Naughty & Nice List is neither an endorsement nor criticism of any overall company. Rather, it’s a thumbs up or down on a specific policy or practice that CR believe helps or hinders consumers.

Here are some of the companies (and their policies) that earned them a spot on the list:

NAUGHTY

  •     Overstock.com. If you’re in the market for a big-screen television, Overstock might not be your top choice: No returns, no refunds on television sets 37 inches and larger, the policy says. The company advises customers to “carefully inspect the package” when it arrives and refuse delivery if you spot damage or defects. But what if you don’t notice a problem until you unpack the set, set it up, and plug it in? Overstock says take it up with the manufacturer.
  •     Victoria’s Secret. In yet another reminder that Big Brother is watching, the lingerie chain has a warning for those contemplating a merchandise return: “In select stores, a government-issued ID is required for all returns and exchanges. Victoria's Secret will electronically scan this ID for the sole purpose of preventing return abuse.”
  •     Spirit Airlines. The low-priced carrier, which famously nickels and dimes passengers for everything aside from the basic ticket, has hiked baggage fees by $2 per bag for the holiday season. They characterize the fee as “temporary.” Humbug!

NICE

  •     CVS. More than 7,700 CVS pharmacies became tobacco-free as of September 3. "CVS Health is always looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease," said Troyen A. Brennan, the company’s chief medical officer.
  •     Discover. We’re always urging consumers to be vigilant about checking their credit scores. Discover made it easier by becoming the first major credit-card issuer to provide free FICO scores on monthly statements of qualifying cardholders.
  •     JetBlue Airlines. The carrier has a generous price-adjustment policy. If you notice a fare drop for your flight within 14 days of booking, travelers can call the airline and receive a JetBlue credit of the difference in fare. If you notice a lower fare 15 days or more after booking, JetBlue will issue a credit for the difference minus $75.

    For more about Consumer Reports’ 2014 Naughty & Nice list, visit ConsumerReports.org; and for information about finding the best holiday deals and expert advice on top products, check out Consumer Reports’ online holiday-shopping hub at ConsumerReports.org/holiday.

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James McQueen
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