The other day on my way home from work I noticed something… odd. People were smiling, and laughing, and singing carols! Okay, they weren’t really singing carols, but something was certainly different. I started wondering if everyone really did seem a little jollier; a little merrier; and just all a90550round more kind? Could it be the change in the weather, or perhaps the holiday season causing this phenomenon?
Perhaps someone slipped eggnog in the city’s water?
And then it hit me: The Naughty and Nice list. Sure you can blame the sudden improved behavior and cheer on the holiday season; but we all know it really comes down to the lists. Nobody wants to be put on the Naughty List.
And apparently, the same holds true for businesses. On November 21, Consumer Reports released their very own version of Santa’s “Naughty and Nice” list, but rather than listing Sally, Sue, and Sam, they’re listing businesses like American Express and Amazon.
And you can be sure those businesses on the Naughty List have stepped up their game since the release. I mean, nobody wants to get coal for the holidays. And by coal, I, of course, mean scathing reviews, angry customers, and a decrease in business.
So here are a handful of those Naughty and Nice businesses of 2011. To check out the complete Consumer Reports list, click here.
• Live Nation. They give fans three days to cancel their ticket order and get a refund at participating venues (typically until one week before the event). Live Nation also lets customers exchange seats for better ones that become available after a purchase.
• Costco. This chain has a generous return policy and provides free tech support for a lot of its electronics products. Also, it automatically extends the manufacturer’s original warranty on TVs and computers to two years from the date of purchase!
• Amazon.com. The e-tailing giant has taken a stand against wasteful and hard-to-open product packaging. It encourages customers to share photographs and feedback with manufacturers, who can then modify their package designs and submit them to Amazon’s engineers to see if they qualify as “frustration-free.” If so, the companies can use the “Certified Frustration-Free” logo as a marketing tool.
• Microsoft. Consumers dissatisfied with a Microsoft software or hardware purchase from any retailer can send it back to the company within 45 days for a refund and reimbursement of shipping costs up to $7.
• REI. It accepts returns or exchanges at any time for any reason, and makes the process simple. Customers can return any item by mail or to any REI store regardless of location, whether they bought online, by mail, or in an REI store.
• AirTran. If you – like most people — want to select your seat when you book online, AirTran will charge $6 to $20 each way. Otherwise, you can show up at the gate and take your chances that you don’t get stuck with a noisy back-row seat near the lavatory.
• RadioShack. The company acknowledges that it sometimes charges different prices for the same item.
• American Apparel. American Apparel has two different return policies. Online customers have 45 days to return an item for a full refund or credit; store customers have 30 days and receive a merchandise credit.
• Verizon Wireless. Under a mid-October deal with the FCC, members of CTIA – The Wireless Association, a trade group representing 97 percent of wireless carriers, agreed to begin issuing alerts of impending overages. Full implementation of the alert system could take until April 2013, though!
• Liberty Travel. Tour operators often advertise very low prices to suck in customers. But the quotes sometimes exclude high taxes and fees. And if someone needs to switch a flight? It’ll cost as much as $200 extra.
How do you guys feel about these lists?