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From our president: Naughty and nice

Consumer Reports magazine: January 2013

Why is it such a shock when a company treats us really well?

For our third annual Naughty & Nice List of loathsome and laudable policies and practices, we tapped the expertise of Consumer Reports staffers and Facebook fans. Some companies were dinged for hidden or tricky fees, fine print, and punitive practices; others were applauded for generous and outstanding customer service. (Our list is based on specific policies and practices and isn’t reflective of a company as a whole.)

Among the Nice: Honda, which includes rear-view cameras (a great safety feature) as standard equipment on most of its 2013 models; Drury Hotels, a chain of more than 130 properties that doesn’t charge extra for a hot breakfast, hot food in the evening, wireless Internet everywhere, and more; and PNC Bank, which still has a basic free checking account with no minimum balance.

On the flip side: Putting your carry-on in the overhead bin on Spirit Airlines can cost up to $100. (It’s free if you can stuff it under the seat.) More travel woes: Most BMWs now come without a spare tire or jack. (Their run-flat tires won’t survive a blow-out or a rip in the sidewall.) BMW isn’t alone; check before you buy a new car.

Abe’s of Maine has a “30 day money back guarantee*.” That little asterisk leads to a laundry list of exceptions to the policy: fitness equipment, large appliances, microwaves, wine coolers, humidifiers, security items, marine and camping gear, sunglasses, watches, software, TVs, computer components, laptops, tablets, and bicycles.

So come on, dish! What policies make you grin or grinch? Chime in via Twitter (#crnaughtynice) and Facebook to let us know what you think. And if you’re in New York City, stop by our booth at the Union Square Market through Dec. 24. In appreciation, you’ll get 24 hours of free access to ConsumerReports.org, so you can check our Ratings as you do your holiday shopping (or post-holiday exchanges—thanks for the fruitcake, Aunt Sophie, but what I really need is a new camera).

Jim Guest

President
   

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