Are your store policies naughty or nice?

Are your store policies naughty or nice?

Attention retailers: Your litany of policies and perturbing practices could land you on the naughty list.

But it’s not just Consumer Reports you have to worry about.

The magazine recently released its third-annual naughty and nice list outing companies that could review customer service 101 and recognizing those that exceed expectations.

Among the 10 naughty are companies that add up customer charges, rule out returns for many reasons and remove seemingly necessary parts of a purchase.

Ticketmaster made the list because it charges ticket buyers $2.50 to print tickets themselves. That’s right, it levies a fee for the purchaser to use his or her own printer, paper and ink.

You’d think the master of fees would lead the list, but no. Airlines and cellphone companies can top that. Both Delta Airlines and Spirit Airlines made the list for making the skies a little less friendly. And Vonage failed for masking a fee increase in faux governmentese.

Interestingly, two grocery chains—Publix and Safeway—represent what’s right.

Publix made the nice list with its written scan error policy. The company promises one free item if scanned at checkout for more than advertised or listed on the shelf.

Safeway’s “fresh and delicious” return policy also received recognition.

Other good deeds included generous guarantees and return policies, simplified shipping rules, above-and-beyond service and freebies. Read all about the good and bad here.

What about your policies?

These lists are fun (after all none of us do those bad things). Or do we? So often we put policies in place for us, not our customers.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as a straw. That’s what Dan Gillotte of Wheatsville Food Co-op in Texas found. In launching a new strategic plan, the retailer’s staff “looked at all of our policies and processes and asked: Is it easiest for the customer?” For some unknown reason, the store policy would not allow customers to receive straws with their cups; they had to get them at checkout. It was the first of many rules eliminated. (Read more about Wheatsville’s efforts to be the friendliest store in town here.)

How many silly little policies do you have? They might not land you on a major publication’s naughty list, but customer frustrations add up, turning their admiration to coal. 

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