Pushy retail practices
Consumer Reports unveils survey of top holiday shopping turnoffs.
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.
- Video: Holiday battle for buyers
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.
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