National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Naughty or Nice? Consumer Reports 2013 List Released

Consumer Reports editors compile list based on customer-friendly, or unfriendly, company policies.

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Consumer Reports releases annual "Naughty & Nice" company list.

    Editors at Consumer Reports have played Santa with their own Naughty & Nice list examining company policies.

    Companies including Amazon.com, Best Buy and United Airlines made the naughty list over restrictive policies. Citibank, Hampton Inn & Suites and Southwest Airlines were among those that made the nice list for their more liberal policies.

    Consumer Reports staff members and Facebook fans contributed to the list. Company policies or practices were either verified by contacting the company directly or by examining their policies on their websites, according to the report.

    The list doesn't purport to be a definitive guide to the most customer friendly or unfriendly companies.

    "When we praise or criticize a company, it's in regard to a specific policy. It doesn't mean that we give either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on everything else that company does," Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks told CNBC. "We've had instances where a company has done very well one year and gone on the negative list the next year, and vice versa, so it's about the particular policy—not the company."

    Naughty companies include:

    Amazon.com: The world's 11th largest retailer recently raised the minimum purchase price for free Super Saver shipping on eligible items by $10, to $35.

    Best Buy: Please sir, may I have some more? Even if you have a receipt, the electronics chain now requires customers to show a photo ID to make a return.

    Kmart: The days of employees getting holidays like Thanksgiving off to spend time with their family and friends are no more at Kmart. Welcome to "Black Thursday" and another marathon work day for retailers. The 1,200 store chain recently boasted about being open for 41 hours straight starting at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day through 11 p.m. Friday.

    United Airlines: Have kids flying? Forget any opportunity to preboard on United. The policy change this summer does not allow families with small children to preboard a flight. They must board whenever their group number is called.

    Nice companies include:

    Citibank: No late fees means no late fees at Citibank. Citibank never assess late fees for missing a payment. Late fees for missed credit card payments usually range from $15 to $35 dollars. However, skipping on your bill can still lower your credit score and repeated tardiness may compel the bank to close your account.

    Hampton Inn & Suites: The hotel chain isn't kidding when they offer customer satisfaction guaranteed. "If you're not satisfied, we don't expect you to pay," the company pledge states.

    Sony: Forget those annoying calls to automated customer service. The entertainment giant lets customers turn to social media (Google, Twitter, LinkedIn) as a communication tool to address any problems or concerns with a product.

    Southwest Airlines: The painstaking "change fee" every traveler frets when having to change their flight. Most airliners allow you to change your flight without a change fee within 24 hours of booking your flight. At Southwest there are no time restrictions. Customers are only on the hook for the difference in fares. Southwest is also one of only two major U.S. airlines that allow customers to check their first two bags for free, according to the Southwest company website.

    For the full list, click here.