Consumer Reports' survey rates retail websites

Online florists, Ticketmaster rate low; REI, Costco, Zappos among best

Author: Marilyn Moritz, Reporter, mmoritz@ksat.com
Published On: Oct 18 2012 03:31:00 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 18 2012 06:16:18 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

Flowers make beautiful gifts, but ordering online isn't always pretty, according to a Consumer Reports survey about online shopping at big retail websites.

Consumer Reports asked more than 28,000 of of its subscribers about their experiences shopping at 52 of the largest retail websites.

Online florists 1-800-Flowers and FTD rated near the bottom.

"They had low marks or value, and there were lots of complaints about high shipping charges and customers having to wait longer than expected," said Consumer Reports' Tony Giorgianni.

Ticketmaster landed at the bottom of the ratings and got the lowest marks of all for customer support. Shoppers complained aboaut having to enter information repeatedly to purchase tickets.

"A good online retailer should offer great value, have good products and services, and deliver them on time. It also should have great customer support," Giorgianni said.

The highest rated sites were B&H Photo, Zappos, Costco, Nordstrom, L.L. Bean, NewEgg and REI.

REI was a standout with its guarantee that shoppers can return or replace items any time at the store or online. There's no expiration date.

Zappos also has a favorable return policy, giving customers a year to return something, and Zappos picks up the cost.

Shopping online can be convenient, but can lead to spam. Consumer Reports recommends setting up a separate e-mail address just for online purchases.