Consumer Reports Unveils Its First-Ever Naughty & Nice Holiday List

Nov 22, 2010, 06:00 ET from Consumer Reports

New Public-Education Campaign Highlights the Good and the Not-So-Good Among Company Shopping Policies

YONKERS, N.Y., Nov. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Reports today 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.  

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101122/DC05593)

The centerpiece of the campaign is a full-page ad running in the November 22, 2010 edition of USA Today. The ad highlights three "naughty" and three "nice" policies and names the companies behind them.  The full list, comprised of 10 naughty and 10 nice policies, is available at ConsumerReports.org/holiday.

The ad takes the form of a "Dear Shopper" letter, first introduced in the 2006 campaign. Consumers are invited to share their own Naughty & 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.

THE NAUGHTY & THE NICE

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.

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 www.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.

FULL TEXT OF AD

Dear Shopper,

We're happy to introduce our first ever Naughty & Nice Holiday List. We took a look at the policies of some large companies. Here's a peek at a few of those that made it.

Naughty

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.

Nice

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 like golf clubs and skis.

See the full Naughty & Nice Holiday List at ConsumerReports.org

Yours truly,

Consumer Reports

Share your Naughty & Nice Holiday List

facebook.com/ConsumerReports

NOVEMBER 2010

The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes.  Consumer Reports® is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this mission, we test, inform, and protect. To maintain our independence and impartiality, CU accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. CU supports itself through the sale of our information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.

SOURCE Consumer Reports