The Brands That Behaved Well And Poorly In 2014, According To Consumer Reports

Posted On 08 Dec 2014
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Tag: American good and bad companies 2014, good and bad brands 2014, good and bad companies 2014

Products, policies, services … all tested

While some of the policies of these companies earn a “Ho, ho, ho!” In the style of Santa Claus, others are rather earn “No, no, no!”

Consumer Reports is known to put products tested, but we are equally committed to scrutinize the policies and practices of companies that manufacture and supermarkets, airlines, hotels and other retail and service providers.

In the shopping season New Year which starts with Black Friday, shoppers are particularly vulnerable, so this list is even more relevant in this context.

Based on input from the experts at Consumer Reports, this list is presented in alphabetical order, so it is neither an endorsement nor a criticism of any company. Rather, we are bowing our thumbs up or down on a specific policy or practice that we believe helps or hurts consumers.


AT & T

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued the company for allegedly deceiving millions of Smartphone users who signed up for unlimited data plans, claiming that the provider does not adequately reported that would dramatically speeds slow if customers exceed a certain amount of data in a billing cycle, known as “throttling” practice, which Consumers Union strongly opposes.

According to the lawsuit, AT & T slowed to 90%, so common activities-as web browsing, streaming video and GPS navigation becomes difficult or virtually impossible. For its part, AT & T insists that the allegations are unfounded and says he has been transparent with customers. The case remains unresolved.


Department stores will not give price adjustments as a matter of policy, either for online purchases or those made in stores.

Hearthware Inc. / NuWave

Hearthware markets the popular infrared oven NuWavem mainly sold through infomercials (but also stores like Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond). The company has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau for misleading consumers about the exorbitant shipping fees. In our review we found that shipping rates can surpass even some of the same accessories.

M & T Bank

The bank based in Buffalo, New York and hundreds of branches mainly in the northeast, announces “No Strings Attached” (without conditions): free checking accounts, but did not bother to tell customers about the key requirements eligibility.

When consumers did not meet the requirements, M & T automatically change them to accounts with commissions. For this disappointment, the bank will have to repay $ 2.9 million to nearly 59,000 consumers were deceived, according to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB, for short), a government watchdog group. You must also pay a fine of $ 200,000.

“Although M & T promised a free checking people, tens of thousands of consumers ended up paying for a product that they thought it was free. This can be an important reminder to all banks and credit unions that cannot mislead consumers by telling them a financial product or service is free, “said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded hotel chain fined $ 600,000 for violating the law on mobile connection on your Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, rape by guests not They could connect to their personal networks. At the same time, the hotel charged between 250 and a thousand dollars per device clients to use the Wi-Fi Gaylord in the conference facilities.

“Consumers who purchase data plans on their mobile phones should be able to use them without fear that their personal internet connection is blocked by your hotel or conference center. It is unacceptable for any hotel intentionally disables personal hotspots and at the same time, charges consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s Wi-Fi network. This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of having to pay twice for the same service or give up completely to Internet access, “said Travis LeBlanc, head of the Office for Compliance with the FCC.

If you are in search of a big screen TV, Overstock might not be your first choice: no returns, no refunds on TVs 37 inches and up, depending on your policy. The company encourages customers to “carefully inspect the package” when they receive it, and not receive in case damage or flaws in it. But if you notice a problem since you’ve unpacked, configured and connected to your computer, Overstock says you must go to the manufacturer.

Spirit Airlines

This airline has raised rates for luggage to two dollars per bag during the holiday season, and characterize the fee as temporary. (We recommend reading more on air fares).

Victoria’s Secret

The lingerie chain has a warning for those who want to return the goods. “In select stores an identity document issued by the government for all returns or changes required. Victoria’s Secret electronically scanned this identification with the sole purpose of preventing abuse returns “reads. We got in touch with the company for more on the “select stores” and how the capture of such information may prevent abuse, but did not get a response.


The website user reviews, invites customers to evaluate their experience with local companies, was liable to a civil penalty of $ 450,000 by the Federal Trade Commission as it collects personal information from children through application for mobile devices, without first notifying parents and obtaining their consent, which constitutes a violation of the Law on Protection of Children’s Online Privacy (COPPA).

The FTC said that between 2009 and 2013, met Yelp names, email addresses and locations, among other information-in “several thousand” children, even after registration, and said they were under 13 years.

According to the FTC complaint, Yelp did not test their applications properly to ensure that minors have banned register. The COPPA requires companies that collect information from children fewer than 13 perform follow certain steps to ensure that information is protected small, it requested including verifiable parental consent before collecting any information from a child.


The cost of borrowing from your favorite stores is increasing. The average is more than eight points above the national average for general purpose cards.



More than 7,700 CVS pharmacies were free to snuff since September 3. “CVS Health is always looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease. Ending the sale of cigarettes and snuff products will make a significant difference in the reduction of chronic illnesses associated with the consumption of snuff, “said Troyen A. Brennan, medical director of the company.

In addition, the pharmacy chain has launched a high-profile program to quit, plus it has improved its selection of nicotine replacement products in select stores.


We are always urging consumers to be vigilant to check their credit scores. Discover what made easier by becoming the first major credit card issuer to provide free FICO scores on monthly statements cardholders. The data comes from TransUnion, one of the major credit reporting agencies.

“We believe customers Discover deserve access to this information and should not be forced to overcome obstacles to achieve it,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and acquisition.


The mobile application for the insurance claims process accelerates. “With complaints with pictures, no need to wait for an agent of the company personally inspects the damage,” the company said.

Customers involved in minor incidents can upload photos of the accident and usually receive a repair quote within one business day. (We recommend reading more on your car insurance).


It has a generous pricing adjustment. If you notice a drop in rates for your flight within 14 days of booking, you can call the airline at 800-538-2583 and receive a credit for the difference JetBlue fare. If you notice a lower 15 days or more after your booking fee, the company will issue a credit for the difference of less than $ 75. One small criticism: the airline should provide on its website information policies.

Sam’s Club

The warehouse club owned by Walmart has a warranty on perishables. If buyers do not like the food, the chains will double the money you spent or will change the product and also reimburse them what they spent on the purchase.


More than 70 percent of Starbucks employees are students or people who want to study, and the company is offering them the opportunity to finish his degree with a full refund of tuition. Either full or part time, benefits eligible employees can choose from 40 programs through the online program at Arizona State University. The program is open to employees of all company business, including Teavana, La Boulange, Evolution Fresh and Seattle’s Best Coffee. And employees are not required to continue working for the company after graduation.


The ticket is committed to transparency in prices since the first move. “The price you see on StubHub is the final price you’ll pay for each game, concert or event you want to attend. We believe that you deserve to know the cost to have your tickets without extra charges will be added to the price, “says the firm.

Tesla Motors
Cars have become an incredibly complex system, relying on computer systems developed to control almost all aspects of behavior. The software is dedicated to those computers may require you to take it regularly to the agency for updates. Not with Tesla. The innovative manufacturer performs regularly updates its telematics system in its vehicles.


Few things are more stressful during the holidays as having problems in the delivery of packages, because you’re not home. In UPS you enter an access point, and an innovative service enables customers to leave and drivers deliver goods with pre-approved in a location as a UPS Store, a supermarket, a convenience store or the like.

The service offers the convenience of working at nights or weekends, leaving little chance of tricks because it requires a photo ID issued by the government or a mobile device to collect the item. (Read more about shipments during holidays and expedited shipping cost).

Whole Foods

A Consumer Reports survey earlier this year revealed that 92% of Americans want the food labels say whether they are transgenic. How many states are considering such rules for labeling laws, Whole Foods became the first national grocery chain to commit to mandatory labeling of GMO products including.

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