Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Pushy retail practices

Consumer Reports unveils survey of top holiday shopping turnoffs.

By Karen Datko Nov 23, 2009 4:32PM

This post comes from partner site


Consumer Reports has unveiled a public education campaign that takes aim at pushy holiday season retail practices. The campaign’s centerpiece is a full-page ad in USA Today on Tuesday, Nov. 24, that highlights top holiday shopping annoyances as determined by a nationally representative survey of Americans by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

The list of holiday annoyances that Americans were asked about was generated by readers of The Consumerist, a member of the Consumer Reports family.


The ad takes the form of a “Dear Shopper” letter highlighting pushy holiday season practices and the percentage of Americans who find them annoying:

  • 52% cited pushing store credit cards at the register.
  • 58% picked cashiers who ask for a phone number or other personal information.
  • 62% said being hounded with an extended-warranty sales pitch.
  • 72% are annoyed by stores that never open all of the checkout lanes.

“This ad holds up a mirror to the American public, letting them know that they are not alone this holiday shopping season,” said Jim Guest, president and CEO of Consumer Reports. “Consumers have told us that they just want a hassle-free and convenient shopping experience. We really hope this list of holiday annoyances is a wake-up call for the retail industry.”


Previous Consumer Reports public education campaigns during the holiday period have focused on gift cards, extended warranties and consumer debt.


In 2007, the organization took on the ubiquitous gift card with a full-page ad in The New York Times, which advised consumers that $8 billion in gift cards go unused so the money winds up back in the pockets of retailers. The campaign called on retailers and the National Retail Federation to eliminate expiration dates and service fees.


In 2006, Consumer Reports took out a full-page ad in USA Today advising consumers to skip the extended warranty. That ad was rebutted by a full-page ad a week later from the Service Contract Industry Council. Following the campaign, the Consumer Electronics Association reported that consumer interest in purchasing extended warranties fell 20%.


As part of the new public education campaign, Consumer Reports will launch a holiday shopping hub that will reveal the full list of complaints and also will offer consumers advice on how to be prepared this shopping season.


Related reading at

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.