The best and worst retailers

People love to hate Walmart.

The world's largest retailer often gets kicked around for its nightmare customer service.

A new retail report ranking the best and worst stores confirms it. The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveyed more than 11,000 shoppers late last year, ranking brick-and-mortar and Internet stores on the total shopping experience, from convenience to websites, courtesy and cleanliness. Most of the chains clustered in the 77 to 79 range, out of a possible 100 percentage points.

Walmart got a 71, the lowest score of more than 40 retailers.


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No surprise, Lakeland-based Publix was at the top of the heap, scoring an 86. Whole Foods got a 78, and Winn-Dixie a 77.

Nordstrom, known for its top-notch customer service, scored an 83, while Kohl's and Dillard's logged 81s. The sleeper hit was Dollar General, with an 80. Target tumbled five points from last year with a 77.

In the specialty-store category, Costco got an 84, Walmart-owned Sam's Club got an 80 and Boca Raton-based Office Depot scored 79.

Outraged friends and readers often tell me their shopping horror stories. My advice is always the same:

Ask for the manager: Calmly and respectfully explain your problem and what you expect to be done about it. Ask for names and titles.

Call or write: If the manager doesn't help, call, email or write to the company about the problem and mention whom you spoke with at the store. Find contact info at the bottom of company websites under "Contact Us."

Use social media: Complain to the brand on Facebook and Twitter. This works wonders. Companies often publicly acknowledge complaints and will try to right the wrong.

Consumer Action Handbook: Download or order by mail a copy of this handy, 160-page book from the Federal Citizen Information Center. It's packed with tips on how to file a complaint and has an A-Z directory of major brands, listing addresses, toll-free numbers, emails and websites. Go to SunSentinel.com/ConsumerGuide to get one.

What's your deal? Email dchristensen@sunsentinel.com.


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