Consumer Reports Unveils Naughty and Nice Holiday List

‘Tis the season for companies to take advantage of eager shoppers.

Yonkers-based Consumer Reports has unveiled its 2nd Annual Naughty and Nice Holiday List, compiling the best and worst shopping policies and companies behind them.

Consumer Reports selected three companies from each category.


  • AirTran:   Consumer Reports says discounted coach and sale-fare tickets don’t include the price of a seat, which costs an extra $6- $20 each way at the time of booking.
  • American Apparel: They offer two different return policies with no explanation – online customers get full refunds while store shoppers only receive merchandise credit.
  • RadioShack: Sometimes the electronics retailer, Consumer Reports contends, charges different prices for some items depending on whether it was bought online or at the store, including one instance where the cost of an HDMI cable in-store was nearly twice the cost of the online price.

A look at the “nice” after the jump.


  • American Express: Cardholders can refund the full purchase price of covered items, up to $300, when unsuccessful in returning them to a merchant within 90 days.
  • Live Nation: Gives fans 72 hours to cancel their ticket order and get a refund at many venues, up to one week before the event.
  • REI: Accepts returns or exchanges at any time for any reason in-person or by mail, whether you bought it online, in the store or at an REI Outlet.

“We’re not giving the thumbs up or thumbs down to these companies for everything they do,” said Tod Marks, senior editor and resident shopping expert at Consumer Reports. “We’re really just shining a spotlight on some of the specific policies and practices that we believe help or hurt consumers. Hopefully, we’ll encourage shoppers to be more savvy around the holiday season.”

The six companies are singled out in a full-page ad appearing in today’s edition of USA Today.

For the full Naughty & Nice Holiday List, go to