CHICAGO — Just in time for the holidays, Consumer Reports has released a list of companies it believes have been naughty to shoppers, and those that have been deemed as being nice.
The Naughty & Nice Holiday List is based on input from Consumer Reports' reporters and editors.
The magazine notes that the Naughty & Nice Holiday List is based on specific policies and doesn't reflect the company as a whole.
The companies called out for naughty policies, in no particular order:
Verizon Wireless: Doubled to $350 the early-termination fee imposed on consumers who cancel their smart-phone contract; kept it at $175 for consumers with conventional cell phones.
Macy's: Calculates its freight charges on the dollar amount of the order, not package size and weight. The base fee is $5.95 for orders less than $25, to as much as $23.95 for those $300 or more.
CompUSA: Restocking fees of "up to 25 percent" of the purchase price on any product the retailer decides doesn't meet its return criteria.
Buy.com: No returns for TV sets 27 inches or larger. Its website also lacks a phone number.
Spirit Airlines: Charges for carry-on bags: $30 in advance, $45 at the gate.
DirecTV: Extends a customer's contract for 24 months if new equipment is added. If you want to cancel your service, the penalty is an early termination fee.
Here are some companies that landed on the "nice" list:
Southwest Airlines: Two pieces of checked luggage, no charge. And that includes bulky stuff such as golf clubs and skis.
Zappos.com: Free shipping and free returns, including prepaid return label.
Costco: Open-ended return policy for virtually everything the warehouse retailer sells minus some home electronics, which still come with a 90-day return period.
U.S. Cellular: While the FCC proposes that cell carriers alert consumers about to exceed their plans' monthly allotment of minutes, which could lead to significant overage charges, U.S. Cellular is giving its customers a heads-up.
Walmart: No receipt, no problem. Customers can return most items to a Walmart store for a cash refund (for purchases under $25), a gift card (for purchases over $25) or even exchange. There's one catch: More than three such returns within 45 days requires a manager's approval.
Publix: If you need an antibiotic, its pharmacies dispense up to a 14-day supply for some of the most common generic ones, for free. All you need is a proper prescription.