Consumer Reports just came out with their holiday report card giving holiday shoppers some interesting facts Santa's helpers will surely want to consider before buying gifts either at the mall or online. Consumer Reports does qualify their list as neither an approval or disapproval of an organization as a whole, but Tod Marks, the senior editor and resident shopping expert states it is about "specific policies regarded as customer friendly."
Let us start with the "naughty" category and what customers are most likely to consider a bit underhanded and offensive. Who wouldn't question why a return policy for the same online store would be 45 days, but the in store return policy is only 30 days? The same kind of question arises when an organization charges less for a product online than if you actually walked into the store? It seems the company could be shooting itself in the foot when charging more at the mall. Several companies on the "naughty" list advertise attractive discount prices for services from flying to grandmother's house, to texting grandmother the weather might be delaying one's arrival, but if you didn't read the fine print you wouldn't have noticed all the extra hidden fees for selecting that airplane seat (from $6 to $20 each way) to hidden fees for booking your travel, improving your boarding group position (who would have thought?) to extra fees if you have talked too long to grandmother. Just a brutal reminder to all of us to always make sure we read the fine print.
All is not lost however on the gracious perks afforded to shoppers by companies bending over backwards to make this a better experience for the "happiest time of the year." There's an organization who offers to refund the purchase price of a product if it doesn't meet expectations, an entertainment promoter with a return policy, and even a popular credit card company that guarantees a refund on the full purchase price if it can not be returned. Then there are tech companies that offer around the clock support at no charge, a company that extends the manufacturers' original warranties on televisions and computers and even a company that is asking for suggestions how to better package products so they are not so difficult to open.
Of course, the choice is up to the shopper whoever they want to use, but I bet after the list is readily circulated the organizations with incredible customer service are going to be recommended by those cute little elves.
For the complete list of Consumer Reports "naughty" and "nice" list, please click here.
photo credit: kholkute