Consumer Reports

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Product Description

The editorial focus of this magazine is to provide information about different products to general consumers. It evaluates all products on an unchanging and thorough scale to provide a fair evaluation for individuals seeking to purchase. Consumer Reports evaluates a vast array of products ranging from automobiles to microwave ovens, from frozen dinners to insurance policies.

Customer Reviews:

  • Consumer reports NOT reliable
    I had firm belief on CR but I observed that MOST of their recommendations are wrong, misleading and not scientifically done.


    When consumer reports sent me mail on December 2006 to rate the laptop I bought (Sony Vaio FGN 830W), It asked me following questions (my feedback in brackets) :
    1) where you bought ? ( CompUSA)
    2) How you paid? (debit card)
    3) Are you satisfied with the waiting time before the sales person met you? ( 5 star)
    4) was the sales person knowlegeable? ( 5 star )
    5) was the sales person polite and friendly? ( 5 star)
    6) Were you overall happy with transaction/purchase ? ( 5 star )

    When I was hoping that atleast the next question would be about sony laptop, it suddenly displayed 'Thanks for rating 5 stars on Sony VAIO FG 830'.

    I mailed support, manager of CR explaining I DO NOT RATE 5 stars, it was wrong, they did not care getting back to me till now. However they sent mails for subscription.

    Let us see their recommendations :

    1) I bought the above said sony laptop ( Vaio FGN FS830W ) follwoing consumer reports recommendation. Unfortunately It was too slow (even after I upgraded to 1 GB RAM), never completed backup of installed system ( Sony did not provide system DVD!! and support asked me to buy from them for $34.99 , which eventually I did). The CD player broke in 3 months and battery lasts hardly 25 minutes. AND FOR THIS LAPTOP CONSUMER REPORTS FORCED( OR assumed my rating OR decieved) ME TO GIVE 5 STAR RATING!!!


    I purchased Sanyo TV twice after consumer reports recommended 'Least failures' and most reliable (along with Sony TVs). I returned both because both had gaussing problems and created green patches in the screen.

    3) Acura TL my friend purchased after reading highest rating ever done on any car by CR, broke and got repairs within 17 months (though one car need not represent quality of all Acura TLs ). This kind of incidents proves the fact the CR just does a test drive, but rates a car for reliability scaling over 5-10 years. If CR claims that it took feed back of customers, then there is no reason to believe them; This is because, just like it happened in my laptop case, they might have asked irrelevant question (are you happy with the dealership? who gave you loan?) and took that feedback as rating for the cars.

    ...more info
  • The American Way
    At times it's hard to believe that this long-lived publication is "non-profit," as though it were performing some indispensable public service by comparing luxury cars and getting fussed up about things like a dimmer switch that isn't conveniently located. Nevertheless, it's an entertaining magazine, offering at least one feature each month that makes for a fast and fascinating read. Given the overkill of information on the internet (pages upon pages of specs and tests devoted to a single subcompact digital camera, for example, or the seemingly infinite amounts of information about stocks, finances, mutual funds), CR could be looked upon either as overkill (offering comparatively superficial product analyses) or as a more sensible, user-friendly alternative to the excessive information available online.

    As for the usefulness of the advice, it's a toss-up whether I've come out better by purchasing a CR "Best Buy" or by going to a low-rated (and often less expensive) model. In the case of some American automobiles that were trashed by CR or which received nothing but those "black boxes," I've often done well by selecting the condemned product (a Mercury automobile that lasted me 15 years comes readily to mind).

    The magazine's shortcomings: 1. Frequently, the models reviewed by CR have been phased out, updated, or replaced by the time the magazine publishes its ratings; 2. Much of the material is simply no longer as useful: the ratings of mutual funds, for example. You'll find the same and more in any number of popular financial publications or free of charge on sites like Yahoo, though past history of a fund's performance can mean little; 3. All of the warnings and advice about buying cars, as if the consumer really has significant control of the cost let alone the time to spend hours in the quest to lower a salesman's profit margin by a few extra dollars; 4. The not inconsiderable extra charges the magazine assesses for their car pricings, or for special issues on health, or for the use of their website; 5. The frequent return appearances by certain products, as though we can't go a month without another review of flat-panel TV sets.

    In short, CR used to be more valuable before the consumer became the wary, fully-informed, self-appointed expert that he is today (notice the number of reviews on Amazon that begin "I researched TVs for six months before purchasing this one." If that's what "research" has come to mean, no wonder we're constantly losing ground to other nations that still actually create and make stuff). For many Americans, devoting all of one's spare time to studying commodities and material items has apparently even taken priority over using them.

    In short, it's time for Consumer Reports to become more critical of "consumerism" itself. Rather than educate people to be better consumers, how about a few provocative articles suggesting how consumers can be better people?...more info
  • great mag
    need to buy something? is it a bargain or a dud this mag helps alot...more info
  • Turn to this before turning over your money
    Growing up, it seems there was always a Consumer Reports magazine within easy reach somewhere around the house. CR is one of those magazines that's just easy to pick up and skim through and the latest copy always found it's way to the "Mom's bathroom" magazine collection.

    While visiting a couple of years ago, I needed to use the bathroom but raided mom's bathroom first for the latest copy of CR and didn't find it. So I checked the other places; bench in dining room-nope, next to the comfortable chair in living room--nope, on top of the microwave-nope, their bedside tables-nope nope.

    I finally had to ask where it was and Mom said Dad stopped the subscription. It's strange but I felt really sad on hearing that. Dad was the type that would do his research before spending his hard earned money. When me or my brothers noticed him concentrating over a CR magazine, we'd get excited because he's about to buy something!! He also taught me that if I ever needed to make a major purchase, do your research and don't be afraid to spend the extra money if it means getting a better product because it will save you money in the long run. All appliances in the home was either a "CR Best Buy" or better. As a teen, I would turn to that for buying a new portable cassette player or even my first used car.

    That next Christmas he opened up an envelope from me and I had printed out a picture of the front of a CR magazine with the words, "Your subscription will be arriving shortly." He smiled and said he really missed reading it. I could tell that just a simple magazine subscription turned out to be his favorite gift. The last Christmas he was excited again seeing that another year of CR will be on it's way.

    The Internet has now become THE place for research before spending your money. Being a new homeowner, I have my own things to research and buy. I didn't get myself the magazine though. Instead, I've subscribed to CR online at a discount to the magazine subscribers. Using a code off of his magazine, for $19.00 a year I have access to all the great information Consumer Reports has. The only drawback is that I can't take my desktop computer to the bathroom. Hmmm. I think I'll research lap-tops.

    ...more info
  • More entertaining than practical
    I've taken this magazine for years and it's time for a renewal again, so says the latest snail-mail reminder from CR. However, I am rethinking "renewal" since--surprise--I get the best reviews and recommendations from users' reviews, along with other online sites that provide product reviews! As several reviewers of CR have pointed out, CR seems to be more automobile-orientated and also tends to repeat reviews of certain products way too often (vacuum cleaners come to mind).

    I have decided to NOT renew my CR subscription and, instead, I will continue to rely upon customers' reviews from and other online sources. If I feel deprived from CR, I'll seriously look at the online membership option. I do all of my product research online, anyway...

    My conclusion, therefore, is: Consumers Report is strictly an entertainment vehicle and has little value in helping me make informed decisions when purchasing products. I do not like the yearly CR-selected products' evaluation forms that CR sends out, which are coupled with CR's request for donations/money. I don't participate in this I assume many others do not, either. ...more info
  • Would be 5 stars if promoted US cars.
    I have not received the first issue, but have read them before. Mag reports on products to buy and avoid. I wonder sometimes if they aren't getting kick backs as it would be easy to do to promote products that are not the best for the money....more info
  • Excellent magazine
    Not sure how I bought anything without this or why anyone would. Great reviews and great information. Buy it, you will not regret it....more info
  • Love it, but...
    I love using the magazine and make most of my purchases based on the reviews. I gave it 4 stars only because it tends to focus too much on cars and electronics. I like that even though it tells you which is best, it also has recommended or best buys. Just because something is the best, it doesn't mean that it's the best for you and it gives you options based on features or cost....more info
  • Great service
    I have tried ordering magazines from other online stores and have been left hanging with nothing. Amazon did a great job of delivering the magazine well before the expected date....more info
  • I am ever going to get a copy?
    This is the second time I have paid amazon for a subscription that never got delivered. Not a happy camper!...more info
  • Love the magazine; hate Amazon's subscription service
    I had sworn not to subscribe to magazines with Amazon again, but in a moment of weakness.... Now I'm trapped in Amazon's level of hell called "subscription service" Endless loops lead to deadends. All other dealings with Amazon orders have been exemplary. Save yourself the runaround....order all magazines directly from the publisher....more info
  • incomplete, inconsistant,inept
    I have owned and operated my own appliance store for almost 20 years, year after year we see the c.r's ratings on appliances, they are wrong more than they are right. When they rate repair history they never take into consideration that a economy brand like Hotpoint is rated god in repair history because it is a disposable appliance ,not worth repairing, compared to maybe a 25 year old maytag washer! Secondly they don't rate every model,(sometimes not even every brand) take note that they always favor Kenmore, yet Kenmore doesn't make a single appliance and never did. they rely on the other manufacturers to make everything for them, so you would have to believe that Whirlpool would actually make a better washer under the Kenmore name than they would for their own brand name! I've even seen them rate 2 or 3 kenmore pieces and yet leave out a entire other manufacturer.The they rate things on their own priority sometimes picking one fridge over another just because it can make ice cubes faster, Who cares about that? Just remember that no-one has ever rated consumer Reports, yet there are sheep that hang on every word they have to say. If you ask me nothing is more pompous then when they rated "which beer tasted the best" and they scientifically chose Old Milwakee! if you want to know what item to buy find a store that you can trust and tell them YOUR needs and preferences and let them advise you, If you pick a C.U. highly rated item and it dies on you not only will they not refund your money for the appliance, they won't even return your money for the magazine! ...more info


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