After receiving 100 nominees of naughty or nice company policies submitted by customers, Consumer Reports presented 10 companies it put on a naughty list and 10 companies it put on a nice list.
"It’s neither an endorsement nor a repudiation of the overall company. Rather, it’s a thumbs-up or down on a specific policy or practice. We also acknowledge that the companies excluded from the list might have similar policies," Consumer Reports said.
This is the naughty list. To see the nice list go here.
Type of business: Appliances, electronics, housewares, fitness equipment, other goods.
Specific policy: Returns are said to be available with a 30-day money-back guarantee, but there is a long list of exceptions including fitness equipment, large appliances, microwaves, wine coolers, humidifiers, security items, marine and camping gear, sunglasses, watches, software, TVs, computer components, laptops, tablets and bicycles. All things must be unopened in order to return them.
Type of business: Automobiles
Specific policy: Cars don't come with a spare tire or a jack, so if you get a flat tire, the tow truck must be called.
Type of business: Electronics
Specific policy: The company's online shopping website automatically added a "freebie" to download antivirus software when customers check out. After six months though, the "freebie" is no longer free and you are then billed $49.99 unless you cancel before the subscription period ends.
Type of business: Airline
Specific policy: On a trip costing $248, Delta offered to "add convenience and peace of mind" to be able to change your flight later on. But that was for a cost of $737, which tripled the price of the original — just to make it flexible.
Type of business: Clothing and accessories
Specific policy: Online and in-store return policies vary. When something is purchased online and returned to a store, you can only have store credit, but if it is mailed back in, you can receive a real refund.
Type of Business: Airline
Specific policy: Spirit promises customers to be able to only pay for extras they value. In other words, they mean if you value anything other than airfare. To bring a carry-on for an overhead bin, it can cost up to $100.
Type of business: Sports, music and entertainment ticket distributor
Specific policy: To print your own ticket, you will pay $2.50 on this site, but if you want it mailed snail mail, it's free. But when they say "snail mail," they mean ultra snail. It takes 10 to 14 days to ship after the purchase. If the event comes before then, you must pay for expedited shipping (starting at $14.50) — or you pay the print fee.
Type of business: Online electronics
Specific policy: Restocking fees are old news, but this vague policy and its penalty require products to be 100-percent complete including the original packaging material. “All returns will be inspected and products found to be non-conforming will be rejected or subject to a restocking fee” of up to 25 percent “at TigerDirect.com's sole discretion.” Yikes.
Type of business: Cable and broadband
Specific policy: To lease a cable modem, customers will now be charged $3.95 a month. Customers can purchase and install their own modems, but those not comfortable with tech abilities will provide a steady stream of revenue for Time Warner.
Type of business: Phones
Specific policy: Phone bills from Vonage use wording that sounds like government charges that consumers have no control over. For example, the Regulatory, Compliance and Intellectual Property Fee, or RC&IP covers the company's legal and regulatory-related expenses.
Now check out the nice list.