Santa's Customer Service List: Who's Naughty, Who's Nice When it comes to how they treat their customers, some companies follow Santa-like policies. Others are more like the Grinch. But which is which?

Consumer Reports offers the skinny on how a number of high-profile businesses behave with its Naughty & Nice Holiday List. Here's a rundown of their consumer friendly -- and not so consumer friendly -- shopping policies.

The Nice
(AMZN): The online retail giant is big on reducing all that wasteful packaging that's also hard to open. It urges shoppers to share photographs and feedback with manufacturers, who can then modify their packaging designs and submit them to Amazon's engineers to see if they qualify as "frustration free." So far, hundreds of consumer products suppliers have worked to meet the criteria, according to Consumer Reports.

American Express (AXP): If a cardholder buys a covered item with an American Express card and tries to return it, but a retailer refuses the return, American Express will refund the full purchase price up to $300, or $1,000 per account annually, within 90 days.

Bi-Lo: The Southern supermarket chain takes returns, no questions asked, and offers a money-back guarantee on all items it sells.

Cablevision (CVC): Subscribers to the cable company's free Optimum Triple Play -- Internet, phone and TV service -- rewards program get perks such as free movie tickets on Tuesdays and big discounts on other days.

Crutchfield: When a shopper buys from the electronics retailer, they're guaranteed installation services, 24/7 troubleshooting help and technical support for the life of the item purchased.

Costco (COST): The warehouse club offers a generous return policy and free tech support for many electronics products. The retailer also automatically extends the manufacturer's warranty on TVs and computers to two years from the date purchased.

Live Nation (LYV): The world's biggest live-entertainment company and ticket distributor allows fans three days to cancel their ticket order and get a full refund at participating venues.

Microsoft (MSFT): Although most retailers won't give shoppers refunds if they try to return software they've already installed, Microsoft will. Buyers who are unhappy with their Microsoft software or hardware can send it back to the company within 45 days for a refund.

Orvis: Many e-commerce companies handle customer service questions by phone or email. But this outdoor clothing and fishing gear merchant provides another help outlet: If a shopper lingers over a product online for a period of time, a customer service agent will strike up a dialog via live chat.

REI: The outdoor gear and sporting goods retailer accepts returns and exchanges at any time for any reason, and makes it easy to do so. Shoppers can return an item by mail or to any REI store regardless of where it was originally purchased, even if the item was bought online.

The Naughty

AirTran (AAI): The Orlando-based airline charges passengers who want to book and select their own seat on coach and sale flights online an extra $6 to $20 each way.

American Apparel (APP): The hipster clothing chain offers two different return policies: Online shoppers have 45 days to return merchandise for a full refund or store credit. Store shoppers need to make their returns sooner, within 30 days, and receive only merchandise credit.

GameStop (GME): The video game retailer with 6,500 stores worldwide has a long list of conditions regarding product returns and exchanges, including, "We reserve the right to refuse any return."

Liberty Travel
: The travel company advertises low prices to entice would-be vacationers. But Liberty Travel's quotes can be misleading, sometimes excluding high taxes and fees, Consumer Reports found. And if travelers want to change a flight, it will cost them as much as $200 extra.

Radio Shack (RSH): The electronics chain sometimes offers different prices for the same item online and in its brick-and-mortar stores, Consumer Reports says. For example, the store price for an audio-video cable was twice as much as the online price.

SiriusXM satellite radio (SIRI): Subscribers who want to receive their bills in the mail and pay by check will be penalized for their old-school ways with a $2 surcharge every month.

The Swiss Colony: The mail-order food company pegs delivery fees to the dollar amount of an order as opposed to the size and weight of the package. So if an order adds up to $25, shipping and processing is $5.95, but if it costs a cent more, the freight fee jumps to $7.95.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) : Passengers who book a flight can check in early online and nab their preferred seat, as well as which overhead bin space they prefer -- for an extra $10 per flight. "It sounds benign enough," says Tod Marks, senior editor with Consumer Reports, in a statement. Yet it's a reminder that "price conscious customers can get penalized if they don't go for the upgrade."

Verizon Wireless (VZ): Consumer Reports found that the company alerted customers who exceeded their monthly allotment of minutes, text messages or data only after the fact, although Verizon tells the Federal Communications Commission that it warns customers before they're about to incur overage fees.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

My heroes are AMAZON & UPS - they will turn themselves wrongside out to get your purchases/packages to you!!! They are among the best!!!!

December 08 2011 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This year, Macy's has hired friendly sales people who actually care whether you find what you need. They seem attentive to who is wandering around aimlessly. Also, it prevents shoplifting.

November 28 2011 at 11:37 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Here are a few naughty companies/entities for you.......
1. All American air carriers for constantly screwing the public out of every penny they can get by calling everything a fee all the while making service a thing of the past.
2. The federal government for never tell we the people the truth. I find this strange as we do provide money for their pay checks.
3. The credit companies...equifax and so on for only collecting bad data on people. Just imagine how scores would change if lets say you added in things sch as paid phone bills, rent and other every day items.
4. The banks........greed, greed, greed and another bail out........sort of syas it all!
5. The TSA for feeling up women, kids and old people. If anyone else did what they did to you they would be put in jail in about one second. Also unless we are being stupid it was people not from america that attacked us on 9-11 so why no profiling?. Why all the paranoia by the government over americans traveling?
6. Any company that considers the customer the enemy.....not sure when it started but suddenly the customer is always wrong! Office max and office depot come to mind here.
and last......the POTUS........for not doing what he was elected to do and that was to fix the economy. Rather he stuffed Obamacare down our throats when it was not what the people wanted or even needed.

November 28 2011 at 9:48 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I think when it comes to customer service it depends on the store and the people who work at the store. I know we can only do so much at the store I work at, but we always try to get back up so people dont have to wait in lines, & the managers help direct people to the line that is open. MY OPINION: some stores take things back just to make the customer happy, so they return and they tell others about the service they recieve. They know that a negative statement does more damage then a positive, so why not let the customers have a good experience. I do blame the customers at stores for having the stores increase the sercurity portocal. Lately I have seen alarm tags on bras, underwear, shoes, ect. At a local Goodwill someone took a CD, the guy I spoke with said it happens all the time. My gosh, why steal a $1.00 item. I know of organiztions that would give it to you free if you can not afford it. And if you know of someone who is taking items, and dont do anything about it, you are guilty! Get the person help, not turn them into the cops, but counseling services are there to help.

November 27 2011 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dodge should be on the top of the tens of thousands of others found on line with cracking dashboards (mine has 9 cracks in it, they had me bring in in, had to leave it for a day, then would not tell me what it was going to cost. Finally got a call from someone in Michigan who said it was going to cost $1,000 to replace a piece of cheap Chinese plastic, but they would split the difference for me, so I would ONLY have to pay $500 to replace this cheap piece of plastic. Of course... if I didn't accept, then I take the $1,000 hit ) or more) on trade in value when I trade it in. It isn't like this is unique, the Internet is littered with complaints about Dodge trucks and their cracking they expect me to take $500 hit on THEIR problem. They thought I should feel pretty good about getting it for half...yeah, right. I have this can of Pepsi I'll sell you for $500...but because you are a valued customer, you can have it for $'t you feel better? No way their Chinese plastic dashboard is worth $1,000, or $500. They are still making money on me replacing it. Don't you love it when companies make THEIR problem YOUR problem?

My answer was to go out and replace the Dodge with a new Toyota Tundra. And they wonder why they are in a tailspin and are loosing customers....Hey Dodge....keep your lousy plastic dashboard, and when they lay you off because they have no sales for their product, you can sit around scratching your lame butt and wonder why customers aren't buying your products any more.

November 27 2011 at 1:42 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Morris Cantonitis

We know who's naughty

The Wall Alley Financial PIGG not only stains America but it has become a liability because it attracts Satan’s arsenal like a magnet to NYC.
Now – Lets play
United States PIGG Payroll and Everyone can add to it should they wish:
• The SEC and FED Reserve with Bernadette
• Wall Alley PIGGS that make million dollar bonuses laundered from the lifelong savings of Good Man by CRIMINAL SHORTING factions within the United States.
• Paid off media that adulterates the American Public, supporting the looting of the Wall Alley PIGGS with fictitious Europe content, etc.
• CEO PIGGS that perform 5S, lean, Kaizen PIGG practices to dilute the work force and stretch the remainder beyond good health.

November 27 2011 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big Al

the store called NATIONAL LIQUIDATOR.. has a wed site, with a cateloge. whose prices are not honord in the store..only the printed once that are give out in the stores ..THAT ARE MORE EXSPENSIVE.....BAIT AND SWITCK...GET IT..

November 27 2011 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Big Al's comment

I agree with what you said, but your spelling and grammar make it seem like this post was written by and angry fifth grader.

November 28 2011 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ought to add Dish Network to the "Naughty" column. I was a customer for 4 years. After a self-admitted mistake on their part, even their "Customer Problem Resolution Staff" shined me on and their Accounts people cancelled my account. Worse, they turned me in to a collection agency. So,they are Naughty and their "Brass" are dumb. Even they ignored my pleas.

November 27 2011 at 4:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

From my experience, AT&T has very good customer service. I think they should do something about their test/data rates. I find it frustrating that I have literally THOUSANDS of rollover minutes, but have to pay extra for data use, when half the time, I cannot get a connection. I still don't understand why I have to wait so long to upgrade my telephone unless I want to pay $200. (Which I don't.)

November 27 2011 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With the exception of Southwest Airlines (with whom I have NEVER had a negative experience) I don't shop or do business with any of the companies on this list. They either aren't in my area or don't meet my needs.

November 27 2011 at 12:39 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply