Consumer Reports magazine today released its fourth annual “Naughty and Nice” list to highlight business practices it believes are helpful and not so helpful to consumers.
Consumer Reports’ staff compiled the list with suggestions from the company’s Facebook fans. “In each case, we verified the policy and/or practice either by direct contact or reading through the details on the company’s website,” the magazine says on its website. Although we cite companies by name, other businesses may engage in similar practices—for better or worse. And praise or blame for a specific policy doesn’t mean we give a thumbs-down or thumbs-up or for everything else that company does or the way it treats customers.”
BJ’s Wholesale Club was in Consumer Reports’ “naughty” list for not accepting “perishable” items in its online return policy, but the company told ABCnews.com that its website does not sell perishable items. Kelly McFalls, a spokeswoman for BJ’s, said the company brick and mortar stores accept refunds of perishable products, like food items.
Here are 9 companies that made the Naughty list:
The magazine dings the world’s 11th-largest retailer by sales for recently raising the requirement for free Super Saver shipping on eligible items to $35, from $25.
In a statement, the company said, “Amazon.com has not changed the minimum order amount for free shipping in more than a decade. During that time, we have expanded free shipping selection by millions of items across all 40 product categories. Fast, free shipping is not a holiday promotion at Amazon. We work hard to offer the best price available anywhere, every day, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all year. Nothing is more important to us than earning and maintaining customer trust.”
Best Buy made the naughty list because it requires a photo ID for store returns, even if you have a receipt, and maintains the right to store your information to track future returns and exchanges. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
The electronics store doesn’t allow returns on large televisions. In particular, the company says onits website: “Refunds cannot be given on televisions 24″ and larger.” The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Kmart made the naughty list for marketing that its stores will be open for 41 hours straight, starting at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Sears Holding Corp., which is Kmart’s parent company, says seasonal associates and volunteer workers will be staffing stores.
The company says it has been open on Thanksgiving Day for 22 years and that it extended hours based on feedback from Shop Your Way members.
“We understand many associates want to spend time with their families during the holiday,” the company says. “With this in mind Kmart stores do their very best to staff with seasonal associates and those who are needed to work holidays. All associates who work on Thanksgiving are compensated with holiday pay.”
|Lord & Taylor|
Though Lord & Taylor recently advertised a one-day sale with 25 percent savings, it only mentioned in the fine print that 70 brands and categories were excluded. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
QVC was added to the naughty list because of its complicated pricing system.
“QVC prices goods 20 different ways,” Consumer Reports writes. “For example, there’s the ‘QVC Price,’ also known as the everyday great price, ‘Today’s Special Value,’ a steep one-day markdown, the ‘Event Price,’ another temporary deal, and ‘While Supplies Last Price,’ identifying big savings on items in relatively short supply.”
In a statement, the company said: “QVC consistently ranks as one of the top retailers for customer service and we take great pride in being completely transparent about our pricing. Our customers are expert shoppers and expect great value on everything they purchase at QVC. They shop with the assurance that there will never be a surprise about a purchase price or total delivered cost.”
|Raymour & Flanigan|
“Deferred-interest credit cards let customers pay for purchases interest-free for a set period,” Consumer Reports writes. “But there’s a heavy burden on borrowers who fail to pay down the entire amount by the end of the promotional period: the prevailing interest rate gets applied retroactively to the entire original balance, not just the remaining amount you owe. Raymour & Flanigan isn’t the only chain that offers deferred-interest plans. Many big players, including Apple, Walmart, and Best Buy, for instance, do, too.”
But the furniture chain and Best Buy feature the option on their home page. Failure to pay off the balance in time could result in an APR of 28 percent. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
|Toys ‘R’ Us|
Toys ‘R’ Us was added to the naughty list for suspending its price-match policy on Black Friday, and not matching online deals during the week of Black Friday (starting Nov. 25) or on Cyber Monday. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
United Airlines doesn’t allow pre-boarding for families with young kids. The airline policy states, “Families with infants or with children who are under the age of 4 may board the aircraft when their group number is called.” The company did not respond to a request for comment.
* Text by Susanna Kim (ABC), Nov. 25, 2013