Before you buy your next holiday gift, book a flight or purchase tickets to an event, check out Consumer Reports' Naughty and Nice Holiday List. The list is based on input from Consumer Reports reporters and editors, Facebook fans and its sister site, the Consumerist, according to Consumer Reports' Tod Marks.
Return policies, not surprisingly, factor in heavily. Outdoor store REI made the "nice" list with its super-friendly return policies.
"They'll accept any item for any reason at any time. And it doesn't matter if you bought it online or at a store or even at their outlet. You can send it back or bring it back, no matter where you bought it," said Marks.
But Game Stop is on the "naughty" list with its laundry list of return conditions and this proclamation: "we reserve the right to refuse any return." American Apparel is also on the "naughty" list, with two different return policies: one for in-store customers and one for online customers.
Watch out for RadioShack. The company admits it sometimes charges online and in-store customers different prices.
And while Southwest made Consumer Reports' "nice" list last year, it's now landed in "naughty" territory, along with AirTran, which charges $6 to $20 to reserve a seat when you book.
"Now with Southwest, they don't have assigned seats. But for $10 more than the price of your ticket, you can board early and snag a better seat. The basic cost of a ticket just doesn't buy you very much these days," said Marks.
Looking to buy tickets for a play or concert? Live Nation made it onto Consumer Reports' 'nice' list. The online ticket service gives you three days to cancel a ticket order and get a refund. And if better seats become available after you've made your purchase, you can exchange your tickets at many venues.
COMPANIES ON THE NICE LIST
- American Express
- Bi-Lo supermarkets
- Live Nation
COMPANIES ON THE NAUGHTY LIST
- American Apparel
- Liberty Travel
- SiriusXM satellite radio
- Southwest Airlines
- The Swiss Colony
- Verizon Wireless