Naughty or Nice?
Consumer Reports released its Naughty & Nice list for 2011 to continue its public education campaign started last year. This year’s list includes many high profile companies that do business in Canada.
The list is compiled with input from Consumer Reports editors and reporters who cover travel, shopping, hospitality and telecommunications, and is based on specific policies rather than looking at the company as a whole.
It spotlights good behaviour while highlighting companies with misleading fine print and unnecessary fees, and each policy has been checked either through direct contact with the company or through reading the details on their websites.
Here are some of the companies doing business in Canada that made each list:
Live Nation – The largest concert promoter and ticket distributor in the world gives fans three days to cancel a ticket order and get a refund at venues that choose to participate. It also scores points for letting customers exchange seats after purchasing if better ones become available.
American Express – Buying an item with your Amex card gives you the ability to receive a full refund on items up to $300 if you try to return a covered item within 90 days but are unsuccessful, allowing for $1000 per account each year.
Crutchfield – Offering up help with setup, installation, tech support and 24/7 troubleshooting at no extra charge for the life of an item purchased through them.
Orvis – This online outdoor and fishing gear retailer goes above normal phone and email support by offering up help via live chat if a customer lingers on an item for too long.
Costco – Its free tech support for electronic products and generous return policy earn it a spot on the Nice list. An added bonus – they also automatically extend the manufacturer’s original warranty on computers and TVs by two years from purchase date.
Amazon.com – Encouraging customers to share photographs and feedback on products with manufacturers earned them the Nice title. Manufacturers can then learn from feedback and tweak items to ensure they are frustration-free, potentially earning the product a “Certified Frustration-Free” logo on the website.
Microsoft – Most retailers of software do not offer refunds on their products no matter what the problem, but Microsoft allows customers 45 days to send back a product for a refund.
Radio Shack – Acknowledging that they sometimes charge nearly double the price in store than online gives Radio Shack a spot on the Naughty list.
American Apparel – Having two different return policies for online and in store purchases sets them back. Online shoppers have 45 days to return for a full refund or store credit, while in store shoppers only have 30 days and will only receive store credit.
The Swiss Colony – Its shipping policy that goes by the total price of your order rather than size or weight of items purchased — along with an added $2.99 fee that supposedly covers the cost of a mailing label — lands them on the bad list.
Serius XM satellite radio – The subscription-based service charges a $2 fee every month for those wanting to receive and pay their bills through mail and checks rather than online.
GameStop – This giant video game retailer has an exhausting list of conditions for returning or exchanging an item, yet in the end still says, “We reserve the right to refuse any return.”
Watch the Consumer Reports video below:
For festive ideas and inspiration, visit our Holiday section.