We spent our whole childhood trying to avoid Santa's naughty list. But now as grown-ups, there's an even worse list to be afraid of: Consumer Reports' first ever Naughty and Nice list. Companies known for excellent customer service are finally getting recognized for their efforts. And as for those mean businesses with horrible return policies, "restocking" fees and misleading fine print? They're getting coal this year. Find out what tech retailers made the cut when you read more.
The nice companies on the list are getting showcased for consumer-friendly policies, while the naughty ones are blasted for being shopping Grinches.
While the list isn't based on any one study by Consumer Reports—it's based on input from their in-house reporters and editors—it's a great guideline for us techies to determine the stand-out companies who make shopping (and returning!) easy and are worthy of our holiday shopping cash this year.
- J&R Electronics gets a spot on the list for their "straightforward price-match policy without the many caveats and fine-print exclusions of some other merchants." They also offer up a generous 30-day window for price adjustments.
- U.S. Cellular is on top of the cell phone game, giving its customers a head's up when they're over their monthly plan limits.
- Even though superstore Costco doesn't exclusively deal with tech, they get a mention from Consumer Reports for their lengthy 90-day return period on electronics.
- Best Buy gets knocked for a tiny window—only 14 days—to return computers, monitors, camcorders, and digital cameras.
- CompUSA makes the naughty list for an ambiguous return policy that charges an "up to 25 percent" restocking fee for returning "any product the retailer decides doesn't meet its return criteria." Consumer Reports points out that CompUSA doesn't say which specific products are subject to the fee.
- Buy.com excludes certain products from return-ability altogether, including "oversized" TVs over 27 inches and doesn't provide any phone number for buyers to contact customer service—a definite trip to the naughty list for the exclusively online retailer.
- Memory card company SanDisk frequently offers rebates on their products, but they stay on the naughty list for giving out those rebates only on SanDisk gift cards.
- Verizon Wireless represents cell phone service on the Grinch list for doubling their early termination fee on anyone with a smartphone contract.
- Satellite firm DirecTV doesn't even better (worse?) by pushing their early termination fee on customers who haven't realized they're still locked in a contract. DirecTV has a policy that automatically extends your contract for another 2 years if you add new equipment.
The full list includes more businesses that aren't necessarily tech-oriented. So if you're shopping for more than gadgets this year, check out the full Naughty and Nice List at Consumer Reports' website.
Readers, do you have anybody to add to this naughty and nice list? Call somebody out in the comments!