Naughty and nice company policies
As holiday shopping and travel season move into full swing, Consumer Reports is out with its fourth annual Naughty and Nice list. It highlights companies with good policies and with bad ones.
Lord & Taylor is on the naughty list. The 25 percent off "ultimate sale" sounded great, but there are a lot of exceptions.
And Best Buy is also naughty. It tightened its in-store return policy. Even if you have a receipt, a valid photo ID is also required. And Best Buy retains the right to take information from your ID and store it in their database to track future return patterns. They also retain the right to freeze you out from making returns for up to 90 days.
On the nice list is Lands' End. It has an unconditional guarantee. You can return any item, at any time, for any reason. And that extends even to monogrammed items.
For travelers, Hampton Inn and Suites makes the "nice" list. Right at the front desk it promises, "If you're not satisfied, we don't expect you to pay."
Southwest Airlines is also nice for not charging a fee to switch your reservation. You just have to pay the difference in cost between fares. Many other airlines charge a penalty for that, and the penalty can be several hundred dollars.
And how about Amazon? Amazon is on Consumer Reports' naughty list this year. To get free shipping, you have to spend $35, but it used to be $25. You do get free shipping with no minimum if you sign up for Amazon Prime, which costs $79 per year.
Kmart also got on Consumer Reports' naughty list. It's extending its Black Friday hours and says it will be open 41 hours straight, from 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day through 11 p.m. Friday. That's hardly a family-friendly move for its staff, although the company says the stores will be staffed with seasonal workers and those who have volunteered to work the holiday.