Best Brands and Worst Brands of 2014The holidays may be over, but apparently jolly ol’ St. Nick isn’t the only one who kept a list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. In addition to everyone’s favorite oversized elf, Consumer Reports has published its annual list of the brands whose consumer policies are worthy of a heartfelt Ho! Ho! Ho! in addition to the brands more deserving of a lump of coal.

Below is a brief summary of some of the highlights, especially what behaviors we recommend replicating and others we suggest eliminating.

Who’s been nice and why?

CVS – By eliminating tobacco sales in its 7,700 stores, CVS made a very public commitment to significantly reduce the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.

Discover – By becoming the first major credit card issuer to provide FICO scores on monthly statements, they made it easy for consumers to check their credit scores and protect themselves against fraud.

JetBlue – If you notice a fare drop for your flight within 14 days of booking, you can contact the airline for a credit of the difference less $75.

Starbucks – Full- or part-time, benefits-eligible workers can finish their bachelor’s degree with full tuition reimbursement by choosing from among 40 undergraduate-degree programs through Arizona State University’s online program. And, they’re not obligated to continue working for the company after graduation.

Sam’s Club – If members don’t love the chain’s fresh meat, produce, and/or baked goods, Walmart’s warehouse club will refund double their money or exchange the product and still refund the purchase price.

Who did what to end up on the naughty list?

AT&T – The FTC is suing the company for “throttling” its customers – or failing to disclose that fact that data speeds would be drastically slower once users exceeded a certain amount of data during a billing period.

M&T Bank – By moving customers from its “no strings attached” free checking account into accounts with fees once unknown key eligibility requirements were not met, the bank must refund $2.9 million to approximately 59,000 customers who were misled. – The online retailer requests that customers carefully inspect the package of big-screen TVs and refuse delivery if packaging appears damaged. However, if you unpack the TV and then notice a problem, Overstock offers no returns or refunds and suggests that you take it up with the manufacturer.

Yelp – Between 2009 and 2013, user-review website Yelp gathered names, e-mail addresses, and locations, among other information from “several thousand” children even after they registered and indicated they were under age 13, resulting in a $450,000 fine from the FTC.

Zales – Compared to the average APR on a general purpose credit cards (15%) and retail cards (23%), Zale gives miserly Scrooge a run for his money with an APR of 28.99%.

View the complete list of Consumer Reports’ 2014 Naughty & Nice List.

Contact Electrum Branding to ensure that the customer experience you provide is anything but Bah! Humbug!