Consumer Reports unveiled its third annual Naughty & Nice List featuring companies whose policies attracted either nasty stares or gleeful praise. The companies were picked based on specific practices that the magazine’s editors and subscribers found particularly worthy of either a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. Facebook fans also joined in voicing their complaints and compliments.
Companies that made the “NICE” list included:
- Home Depot, for its stellar home appliance policy. Buy a dishwasher or other major appliance, and the delivery team will haul away your old one without charge, and also set up, level and test your new one for free. If it is a refrigerator, or if you live in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, it will end up in an EPA-approved recycling facility.
- Oxo, which backs every kitchen product it sells with a no-exceptions pledge: If for any reason you are not satisfied, return it for replacement or refund.
- Drury Hotels, which offers all the extras — like full breakfasts and dinners, free wifi, phone calls and HBO — with the price of every room. The company lives up to its motto, “the extras aren’t extra.”
The “Naughty” List of companies included:
- Ticketmaster, for its incessant fees. The king of tickets will only snail mail your tickets for free if you have 10 to 14 days to wait for them, but if you need them any sooner you’ll have to pay for expedited shipping. You’ll even have to fork over $2.50 per order just to print them yourself.
- Time Warner Cable, for adding still more monthly fees. The Internet biggie joined a list of other providers to charge a monthly fee (in this case, $3.95) to lease a cable modem.
- BMW, for not including a spare tire or jack in their new car models. Getting stuck with a flat tire isn’t the best way to find out your car didn’t come with a spare tire or jack, but BMW owners may experience just that. The carmaker’s models now come with Mobility Kits and special tires that are meant to get you to a service station following a minor puncture. The disappearing-spare syndrome has spread to other companies too, in low-cost models from Hyundai and Chevrolet.
Among the remaining seven companies that rated a “thumbs down” are Abe’s of Maine, Tiger Direct, and Forever 21, for the penalizing fine print in their return policies; Vonage, for their confusing monthly bill; Spirit Airlines, for charging up to $100 for a bag stowed in the overhead bin and CompUSA for its online ploys to get you to accept a “freebie” software package that actually costs fifty bucks at the end of the month if you don’t cancel before the free period expires.
The full Naughty & Nice Lists from this year, 2011 and 2010 are available online at www.ConsumerReports.org/CRNaughtyNice.