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Consumer Reports
Motto TEST, INFORM, PROTECT
Founded February 6, 1936 (1936-02-06)
Founder Arthur Kallet and others
Focus Consumer protection
Location
Coordinates 40°58′14″N 73°52′22″W / 40.97065°N 73.872758°W / 40.97065; -73.872758Coordinates: 40°58′14″N 73°52′22″W / 40.97065°N 73.872758°W / 40.97065; -73.872758
Method Product testing, education, advocacy
Members 8,000,000
Employees 500
Mission Consumer movement
Website http://www.consumerreports.org
Formerly called
Consumers Union

Consumer Reports ("CR") is a United States-based nonprofit organization which conducts product testing and advocates for consumers. Consumer Reports is best known for publishing both a magazine and a website called Consumer Reports.

The organization was founded in 1936 as Consumers Union in response to the chaotic, unchecked, and dangerous marketplace which developed after the advent of mass production in the early 1900s. The funding, which the originators of Consumer Reports received by selling subscriptions to its publications, remains the organization's primary source of funding. Since its early history Consumer Reports has been regarded as the most influential nonprofit consumer organization in the world, improving the marketplace for the consumer with its product testing data acting as a counterweight to the claims of advertising.

Subscription sales of the magazine generated enough revenue to help spawn the modern consumer movement. In the United States and internationally as a member of Consumers International, Consumer Reports advocates for the rights of consumers in such fields as the consumer products marketplace, health care, environmental protection, freedom of information, and personal finance.

Operations[edit]

The mission of Consumer Reports is to encourage consumers to be more informed and empowered by providing them with unbiased, accurate, and useful evaluations and test information about products and services.[1] The goal is to ensure that consumers get fair market value by informing consumers of any barriers to them doing so.[1]

The organization was founded as "Consumers Union of United States, Inc." on February 6, 1936.[2] It originally published Consumers Union Reports. Later, the magazine name was changed to Consumer Reports. In 2012, Consumers Union changed its branding and now uses the name "Consumers Union" when conducting advocacy and legal efforts and "Consumer Reports" to refer to all other activities.[3]

Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization. It accepts no money, test samples, or gifts of any kind from any commercial source.[4][5] Products to be tested are purchased at retail prices by anonymous shoppers around the country.[4] Consumer Reports publishes no other organization's advertising.[6][7][5] It forbids merchants and manufacturers from using Consumer Reports ratings in their own advertisements.[5][7]

Publications[edit]

First published in 1936, Consumer Reports magazine has historically been the flagship publication of Consumer Reports. In 1997 the organization established ConsumerReports.org, and in 2001 that website began to generate more revenue than the print publication.[8] Those publications together have more than 7 million subscribers, including 3.25 million online subscribers and 4 million print subscribers.[9][6]

Consumer Reports publications include the following:

  • ConsumerReports.org
  • Consumer Reports magazine
  • ShopSmart
  • Consumer Reports On Health
  • Consumer Reports Money Adviser

Funding[edit]

Consumer Reports funding comes from the sale of publication and information products, the provision of services, other fees, and from grants.[5]

Consumer Reports is the organization which publishes Consumer Reports. As of 2007 the organization's revenue was US$208 million, of which 52 million supported editorial staff and 24 million funded technical staff.[8] The Testing and Research Center in Yonkers, New York conducts most of the product testing to generate the articles in the magazine. Money generated by subscriptions to the magazine funds Consumer Reports' research and advocacy work.[10] The major share of revenue comes from subscriptions to publications.[4]

In the 1980s the organization began asking subscribers for donations, initially no more than $1000 and later no more than $5000, to open its new testing center.[4] The organization has never accepted any donation from a commercial entity.[4]

Offices[edit]

the interior of Consumer Reports headquarters in Yonkers

Consumer Reports was founded in New York City. In 1954 it moved to Mount Vernon, New York.[4] In 1972 it opened an office in Washington, D.C. to work with people in the federal government.[4] In 1975 CR opened an office in California and in 1979 another in Texas.[4] These state offices lobby for low-income consumers by considering issues such as food prices, utility rates, and auto insurance rates.[4] In 1989 the organization acquired a dragstrip and built an auto test facility in Haddam, Connecticut.[4] In 1991 it moved its headquarters from Mount Vernon to Yonkers, New York where its present Testing and Research Center hosts 50 laboratories in 250,000 square feet of space.[4]

History of Consumer Reports[edit]

The history of Consumer Reports is connected to the history of the Consumer Reports publications and the general consumer movement.

In 1927 Frederick J. Schlink and Stuart Chase published Your Money's Worth, a book describing how corporations manipulate consumers in the marketplace.[11] In 1929 they founded Consumers' Research, an organization to uphold the ideas in their book.[11] In 1933 Schlink and Arthur Kallet, a board member of Consumers' Research and former colleague of Schlink at the American Standards Association, published 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, a book which compared all consumers to guinea pigs upon whom corporations test potentially unsafe products.[12] In 1935 because of a labor dispute, Kallet led some workers to fork from Consumers' Research and found Consumers Union on February 6, 1936.[4][13] In May 1936, this organization published the first issue of Consumers Union Reports, the publication later to be renamed Consumer Reports.[13]

From the 1930s-50s Consumers Research, some businessmen, and some government officials accused Consumers Union of being communist, which was a moral and criminal charge at that time.[14] Events investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee include a rivalry between Consumer Reports as a non-profit publication and Hearst Corporation's advertiser-sponsored Good Housekeeping magazine,[15] accusations that a Consumer Reports staffperson plotted with communists to jailbreak the assassin of Leon Trotsky,[16] and accusations that J. Robert Oppenheimer's service as a board member of Consumers Union was collusion of communist interests.[17]

In 1957 CU board member Colston Warne began to advocate that the organization should use its status to influence United States government policy.[18] In 1960 Warne led CU in supporting the foundation of the International Organisation of Consumers Unions, now known as Consumers International. In the 1970s Consumers Union opened three offices to conduct advocacy. In 1974 Rhoda Karpatkin became executive director of the organization and backed advocacy efforts as vital to the organization's mission.[19][20] In 2000 Karpatkin announced her retirement.[21] In February 2001 James A. Guest replaced Karpatkin as head of Consumers Union.

Product testing[edit]

Consumers Want to Know, a 1960 documentary on Consumers Union

The reputation of Consumer Reports as a product testing organization and the circulation of its publications give its recommendations great influence when consumers make decisions about what to purchase and what to avoid.[22] Consumer Reports conducts product testing within the following classes of goods:

The largest division in the organization is the technical department, followed by the editorial department.[4] Consumer Reports shares information about its testing methods with any manufacturer on request.[22] Various manufacturers and industries have noted that Consumer Reports' statements impact sales in their markets.[22]

Consumers Union evaluates 1,500 products in 65 categories every year.[23] Products to be tested are selected by polling subscribers in an annual questionnaire and in monthly polls.[23][4] In 2003 the cost of paper, postage, and printing for the paper version of Consumer Reports' annual questionnaire was USD $700,000 and the paper surveys were getting a 13% response rate.[24] The online version of the questionnaire was recently established, and in that year it got a 25% response rate from Consumer Reports members asked to take it and its costs were half of the paper version's costs and expected to drop more after software infrastructure existed.[24] The 2011 annual questionnaire drew 960,000 responses.[7] Survey researchers at Consumer Reports analyze the annual questionnaires and monthly poll product performance surveys from more than a million readers annually.[4][10] Through these surveys, Consumer Reports has gained what reviewers have called the the "mother lode" of used car data, which the organization uses to write about the reliability and maintenance costs of cars.[7] A reviewer described Consumer Reports' survey practices as an early use of "crowdsourcing".[7]

Consumer Reports once hosted an information center consisting of several librarians who review documents from academic institutions, government regulatory agencies, manufacturers, the medical community, and trade and professional associations.[25]

Products to be tested are purchased at retail prices by anonymous shoppers around the country.[4]

General demands for government and corporate accountability[edit]

Consumers Reports pairs product testing with advocacy for change, and when the organization finds a problem with a product it will often issue a statement that the manufacturers address the problem.[22]

Consumers Union also seeks governmental protections for consumers. In 1962 Consumers Union board member Helen Ewing Nelson's proposal for a Consumer Bill of Rights was accepted and presented by President John F. Kennedy.[26] In 1964 with CU support President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Esther Peterson as the first Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs in the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.[citation needed] Peterson went on to represent Consumers International, the parent organization of CU, in consumer issues at the United Nations.[27]

Opinion writer Max Boot criticized Consumer Reports for its ties to trial lawyers who use CR test results as supporting evidence in lawsuits relating to consumer protection.[28] His complaint was that Consumer Reports has inappropriate ties to lawsuit-managing organizations such as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and Public Citizen because they have an interest in using statements backed by CR's reputation to support their claims in court.[28] In response to this and other critical articles, writers for the Center for Media and Democracy suggested that corporate interests attack organizations like CR for harming their corporate identity.[29] Other commentators have questioned the organization's acceptance of grant money from research foundations, suggesting that CR is most likely to do research for which it can receive funding and that because of this the organization is guided by external interests.[22]

Early complaints about Consumer Reports included criticism that manufacturers' advertising was trustworthy as a tool to lower product prices and increase quality, local merchants gave superior advice about products because of their years of experience, and that the typical consumer can identify the important differences between products without getting advice from any consumer organization.[30]

Automobiles[edit]

Consumer Reports has rated automobiles since 1936, with early tests criticizing low visibility, unnecessary power, excessive weight on tires, insufficient braking capability, and manufacturers' producing cars which were "deliberately cheapened to promote their obsolescence."[31]

Consumer Reports is the most widely read publication in the United States by people who are seeking advice in purchasing an automobile.[32] As of 2013, Consumer Reports' survey department collects vehicle histories from 1.3 million subscribers every year.[32] Historically, CR's advocacy for the introduction of seat belts, child safety seats, and its criticism of SUVs for rollover problems has put it in conflict with automobile manufacturers, but today these safety features are accepted as necessary.[32] Consumer Reports owns a 327 acre auto test track in Haddam, Connecticut.[32] The track has a staff of 24 including automotive engineers, professional drivers, statisticians, and mechanics to perform tests on its 1.2 mile handling circuit, wet and dry skidpads, headlight testing and tire testing buildings, and an off-road course.[32]

In May 2013 Consumer Reports rated the Tesla Model S with a near-perfect score making it the magazine's highest rated car. Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports, called the car's performance in the magazine's performance tests "off the charts."[33]

History of automobile testing at Consumer Reports[edit]

In 1938 Lawrence Crooks was a co-author of Consumers Union's Millions on Wheels, a guide for motorists which also described the link between imperfection in consumer technology and corporate interests.[34] Thereafter Crooks wrote CR's automotive ratings until 1966, emphasizing "comfort, not luxury; economy, not top high speed; durability, not flashy performance; safety, not streamlining and deluxe fittings; and mechanical improvements, not gadgets."[35] His goal was to make average readers informed enough to make rational comparative choices in the marketplace, and his nearly monthly reports were consistently the most popular part of the magazine.[35]

In the early 1950s Consumer Reports began to discuss the work of safety pioneer Hugh DeHaven and the new concept of the "second impact" of a traffic collision, which was the impact of a passenger with the car after the first impact of a car with an external body.[36] Safety features such as seat belts were not in use because there was not awareness or consensus that they were useful, despite research organizations recommending them as safety features.[36] In 1953 CU complained that manufacturers designed cars "for the sake of saleable attributes" and knowingly ignored engineers' safety recommendations.[37] In 1954 the American Medical Association recommended that manufacturers put seat belts in all cars.[citation needed] In 1956 CU published a report on its tests of seat belts.[38] The organization recommended the use of good seat belts entirely, but had found in testing that most seat belts put to appropriate pulling tests would have broken stitching, webbing failures, breaks in the brackets, and otherwise be insufficient to serve their purpose.[38] CU's findings circulated throughout the media.[39] The publicity added to congressman Kenneth Roberts' advocacy in federal hearings that all cars should have seat belts.[40]

CU's recommendations on automobile safety were requested by the Society of Automotive Engineers and also Estes Kefauver for a senate hearing.[41] To support this outreach, CU published Henry Dreyfuss' views on car safety praising the small and economical new Volkswagen cars which were being imported.[42] Among the safety improvements which CU recommended be on all new cars were seat belts as most important, brake lights, and windscreen wipers. In 1958 the magazine reported that substandard and dangerous brake fluid could be sold legally because most states had no legislation regulating its quality, and after CU staff petitioned for change and testified at various government hearings, congress approved federal standards for brake fluid.[43] In 1959 CU hired an engineer from the Automotive Crash Injury Research Center who joined CU in a partnership with the Association for the Aid of Crippled Children to host a conference on car design and safety.[44] That conference produced a book, Passenger Car Design and Highway Safety, which was used by journalists and legislators to understand car safety.[44]

CU began to face less opposition to its calls for increased automobile safety and its opinions became increasingly re-published and influential.[45] In 1965 Ralph Nader published Unsafe at Any Speed, a book detailing resistance by car manufacturers to the introduction of safety features. The book became a bestseller and in 1966 CU began publishing articles by Nader.[46] Nader became a well-known critic of the automobile industry and joined the board of CU the following year.[46] In early 1966 CU reported that finally, industry was treating automobile safety as a serious concern, polls were reporting that the public considered automobile safety an important problem, and congressional committees were establishing safety standards.[46] Later that year Crooks retired from CU's auto division and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was enacted.[46]

Car testing concerns[edit]

In the July 1978 issue, Consumer Reports rated the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon automobile "not acceptable", the first car it had judged such since the AMC Ambassador in 1968. In its testing they found the possibility of these models developing an oscillatory yaw as a result of a sudden violent input to the steering; the manufacturer claimed that "Some do, some don't" show this behavior, but it has no "validity in the real world of driving".[47] Nevertheless, the next year, these models included a lighter weight steering wheel rim and a steering damper; Consumer Reports reported that the previous instability was no longer present.

In December 1997, the Isuzu Trooper distributor in Puerto Rico sued CR, alleging that it had lost sales as a result of CU's disparagement of the Trooper. A trial court granted CU's motion for summary judgment, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the favorable judgment.[48]

In a 2003 issue of CR, the magazine tested the Nissan Murano crossover utility vehicle. Consumer Reports did not recommend the vehicle because of a problem with its power steering, even though the vehicle had above-average reliability. The specific problem was that the steering would stiffen substantially on hard turning. Consumer Reports recommended the 2005 model, which addressed this problem.[citation needed]

In 2006, Consumer Reports said six hybrid vehicles would probably not save owners money. The magazine later discovered that they had miscalculated depreciation, and released an update stating that four of the seven vehicles would save the buyer money if the vehicles were kept for five years (including the federal tax credit for hybrid vehicles, which expires after each manufacturer sells 60,000 hybrid vehicles).[49]

BMW changed the software for the stability control in its X5 SUV after replicating a potential rollover problem discovered during a Consumer Reports test.[50]

Chrysler also made changes to stability control software when Consumer Reports testing with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee exposed handling issues.[51]

In 2010, Consumer Reports rated the 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV unsafe after the vehicle failed one of the magazine's emergency safety tests. Toyota temporarily suspended sales of the vehicle, and after conducting its own test acknowledged the problem. A recall for the vehicle was issued, and the vehicle passed a Consumer Reports re-test.[52]

Suzuki Samurai v Consumers Union[edit]

In 1988, Consumer Reports announced during a press conference that the Suzuki Samurai had demonstrated a tendency to roll and deemed it "not acceptable."[53] Suzuki sued in 1996 after the Samurai was again mentioned in a CR anniversary issue. In July 2004, after eight years in court, the suit was settled and dismissed with no money changing hands nor a retraction issued, but Consumers Union did agree no longer to refer to the 16-year-old test results of the 1988 Samurai in its advertising or promotional materials.[54][53]

Home appliance testing[edit]

When Consumer Reports tested early microwave ovens they leaked radiation.[1] The organization's 1973 report and petition to the FDA led to improved design and standards in their manufacture.[1] Consumer Reports now tests microwave ovens by putting microwave popcorn inside for a set amount of time, then counting unpopped kernels by hand[55]

Sharper Image v. Consumers Union[edit]

The Sharper Image produced a line of air ionisers branded as "Ionic Breeze" and which in 2001 was a flagship product accounting for 16% of the company's total sales.[56] In 2002 and 2003 Consumer Reports published reviews of the Ionic Breeze calling it "quiet but ineffective" and saying that it brought "no measurable reduction in airborne particles".[56][57] The Sharper Image complained that the test was unfair and requested that Consumer Reports do another test, but declined Consumer Reports' request for them to propose any alternative test protocol.[57]

In 2004 The Sharper Image sued Consumers Union for defamation.[58] Judge Maxine M. Chesney dismissed the case as an instance of a "SLAPP case".[56] Consumer Reports collected over $500,000 in lawyers fees as part of the judgment.[58] After winning the lawsuit, Consumers Report published again on the Ionic Breeze calling it "unhealthy".[59]

Consumer Reports has done efficacy tests on indoor air cleaners since 1992.[60] Consumers Union called for the Federal Trade Commission to set ozone limits for all air cleaners, mandate performance tests and labels disclosing the results, and to review advertisements for air cleaners as a check for deceptive claims.[60]

General Signal[edit]

In 1983 Consumers Union filed a lawsuit against General Signal, the parent company of the Regina Company, because CU alleged that the Regina Company and Grey Advertising improperly used Consumer Reports ratings and the organization's name in advertisements to sell vacuum cleaners.[61] Consumers Union asks all marketers to not use its ratings to promote any products or brands.[62]

In 1983 the court found in favor of the defendants.[63] Consumers Union appealed the judgement and in 1987 the court again found in favor of the defendants.[64] Law journals have reviewed the case in discussions about freedom of speech, advertising, and copyright.[65]

Electronics testing[edit]

Anechoic chamber at Consumer Reports for testing audio equipment

Consumer Reports conducts product testing on a variety of consumer electronics products. The complex in Yonkers hosts a 30-foot by 30-foot anechoic chamber with beams into the Westchester County bedrock.[55] The chamber is used to test audio devices such as speakers.[55]

In 1971 Bose Corporation sued Consumer Reports (CR) magazine for libel after CR reported in a review that the sound from the system that they reviewed "tended to wander about the room". The case eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, which affirmed in Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc. that CR's statement was made without actual malice and therefore was not libelous.[66][67][68]

Consumer Reports found a problem with the IPhone 4 antenna, in 2010, which led to a response from Apple and Steve Jobs.[69]

Products and child safety[edit]

This machine bounces a bag of sand on baby equipment for hours to simulate the use that a baby would have on the equipment.
See also: Toy safety

Consumers Union has advocated for child safety and lobbied for several laws to improve child safety with regard to manufactured products. The first issue of Consumer Reports warned of lead poisoning dangers in children's toys.[55] In 1953 CU supported the passing of the U.S. Flammable Fabrics Act.[70] In 1969 CU supported the passing of the Child Protection and Toy Safety Act.[70][71] In 2008 with the Union of Concerned Scientists, Kids In Danger, Consumer Federation of America, and the Public Interest Research Group, CU supported the passing of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.[72][73] Inez Tenenbaum named Consumers Union as a significant supporter backing the passage of the act and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission itself.[74]

The February 2007 issue of Consumer Reports stated that only two of the child safety seats it tested for that issue passed the magazine's side impact tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which subsequently retested the seats, found that all those seats passed the corresponding NHTSA tests at the speeds described in the magazine report. The CR article reported that the tests simulated the effects of collisions at 38.5 mph. However, the tests that were completed in fact simulated collisions at 70 mph.[75] CR stated in a letter from its president, Jim Guest, to its subscribers that it would retest the seats. The article was removed from the CR website, and on January 18, 2007 the organization posted a note on its home page about the misleading tests. Subscribers were also sent a postcard apologizing for the error. On January 28, 2007, The New York Times published an op-ed from Joan Claybrook, who served on the board of CU from 1982 to 2006 (and was the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1977 to 1981), where she discussed the sequence of events leading to the publishing of the erroneous information.[76]

Access to information[edit]

Short-term campaigns[edit]

In the postwar era Consumers Union encouraged critical appreciation of entertainment media while encouraging consumer awareness about who manages the marketplace, such as in the case of the media industry's control of television in the United States.[77] In 2000 Consumers Union criticized William Kennard's work as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, saying that because of his leadership "The FCC has been much more concerned about appeasing and meeting the demands of industry than considering the ultimate impact on consumers".[78] In 2002 Consumers Union asked congress to shift regulatory authority for cable television in the United States from the Federal Communications Commission to the states. The rationale was that since cable was deregulated in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, cable rates had unacceptably risen at 2.5 times the rate of inflation, and that state regulation would lower prices.[79]

In 2002 Consumers Union called for better service for wireless phone subscribers.[80]

In 2005 Consumers Union joined other library and consumer organizations in filing a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission and the Motion Picture Association of America to strike down new rules to require televisions and similar devices to stream video with a broadcast flag which would disallow any device to record the broadcast.[81][82][83]

In 2006 during a wave of activism to promote network neutrality in the United States, Consumers Union along with Common Cause and Free Press began a campaign called SaveTheInternet.org to provide a counterpoint to calls by from the American corporate media lobby to give control of Internet access to phone and cable companies.[84] Consumers Union supported the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006.

In 2009 Consumers Union urged congress to delay the digital television transition in the United States due to problems in getting converter boxes to rural, Spanish-speaking, low-income and elderly communities.[85]

In October 2011 Consumers Union, CTIA – The Wireless Association, and Julius Genachowski on behalf of the FCC announced the introduction of new policy which proscribed that cellular telecommunications service providers must send alerts to users who have nearly used their allotment of their service subscription and would incur cellphone overage charges if they used much more.[86] The guideline was a response to bill shock in consumers who used their phone in excess to their service subscription and who complained about charges far in excess of their usual charge.[87] The three organizations agreed to this policy as a way of increasing consumer protection from these charges.[88]

In 2011 Consumers Union and Public Knowledge protested the attempted purchase of T-Mobile USA by AT&T as uncompetitive and harmful to consumers.[89] Consumers Union complained to lawmakers that the merger was an attempt to drive up market prices.[90] Consumers Union noted that "Allowing AT&T to purchase T-Mobile will result in nearly 80% of the market being dominated by two wireless carriers. Such concentration cannot be good news for consumers."[91]

Consumer WebWatch[edit]

Consumer WebWatch was a Consumers Union online project launched in April 2002 to advocate for consumer interests.[92] It was funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Open Society Institute, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.[92] The project aggregated third-party news content, commissioned survey research on consumer trust, and made recommendations for best online practices for issues such as sponsorship, privacy, and customer service.[92] The Stanford Web Credibility Project provided some of the project's information content.[92] Consumers Union announced that the project ended on July 31, 2009.[93]

Advertising to children[edit]

In the late 1980s-90s Consumers Union organized a campaign to raise awareness about advertising to children during which it published two reports, "Selling America's Kids" and "Captive Kids", which argued that such advertising was unfair.[94][95] The campaign was partly a response to the introduction of Channel One News, a newscast containing advertising which schools agreed to show in exchange for benefits.[96] Consumers Union took the position that corporations made donations to schools were practicing "self-serving philanthropy" and expected to get a favorable return on investment.[97] A representative of The Coca-Cola Company responded to the campaign by defending the practice of making donations to schools in exchange for advertising privileges, saying that "if the parents, teachers and students didn't want our help, we wouldn't be there."[98][99] Consumers Union advocates that schools be places without advertising.[100]

Finance[edit]

Consumer Reports goals in finance are to lessen economic inequality and to suppress regulatory capture of any sector by an industry.

Support for Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act[edit]

Consumers Union supported the passing of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Consumers Union supported.[101] It also permitted persons to freely have access to their credit score in the United States, which Consumers Union said is necessary for consumers to understand the lending process.[101] Consumers Union's recommendation is for persons requesting their credit report to also request their credit score.[102]

The Dodd–Frank Act capped the amount banks could charge retailers for "swipe fees" in a merchant account.[103] To recoup the lost money, banks including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, SunTrust Banks planned new debit card fees in October 2012 to coincide with the implementation of Dodd-Frank Act. Consumers Union asked congress and regulators to investigate the fee as an unfair business practice[104] and made the assertion that banks who accepted bailout money from the public in the Troubled Asset Relief Program should not put pressure on the public in times of economic crisis.[105] Also Consumers Union provided information to consumers as part of its DefendYourDollars.org campaign[106] and told people to switch to a bank without a fee or to a credit union.[107]

In response to the fees protesters organized a Bank Transfer Day on November 5[108] which followed the more general 15 October 2011 global protests. Chase and Wells Fargo dropped the fee.[109] A few days later SunTrust Bank and Regions Bank and dropped the fee.[110]

Consumers Union v. Kissinger[edit]

In May 1972 Consumers Union alleged in Consumers Union of U. S., Inc. v. Kissinger that top officials in the United States government's executive branch had made a marketing agreement with domestic and foreign steel producers in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and in excess of their authority to do so.[111][112] The agreement in question was a negotiation between foreign steel producers and the defendants to limit the amount of steel which could enter the US market.[112] The defendants in the case were William P. Rogers, Henry Kissinger, the United States Steel Corporation, the American Iron and Steel Institute, Nippon Steel, and other US government officials and steel companies.[112] In a two-to-one decision with Harold Leventhal in dissent, John A. Danaher and Carl E. McGowan agreed that the president may arrange such agreements without invading powers reserved to congress and affirmed a lower court's dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint with prejudice.[112] The case was an exploration of limits described in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and was followed a few weeks later with provisions in the Trade Act of 1974 which would immunize such defendants from liability from future such cases.[112]

Other financial projects[edit]

In 1974 Consumer Reports provided financial assistance to Consumers' Checkbook, an organization which provides financial information services in the seven metropolitan areas they serve.[citation needed]

In 1974 Consumers Union filed suit against against American Express and a member bank of the BankAmericard system (now Visa Inc.)[113] The suit alleged that because credit card companies charged merchants 2-8% of a transaction, and because their contracts disallowed merchants to give discounts for customers paying cash, all customers would be paying to cover the cost of the credit card fees regardless of whether they used a credit card.[113] Consumers Union alleged that this was a type of price fixing and requested a court order which allowed merchants to choose to give discounts to cash customers.[113]

In 1977 Consumers Union brought suit in court against the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements on an accusation for violating laws in the Agricultural Act of 1956. Former Justice Tom C. Clark dismissed the case.[114]

Consumers Union opposed the 1995 Common Sense Legal Reform Bill of the Contract with America, calling it "anti-consumer".[115]

Food and Environment[edit]

Strontium-90 in nuclear fallout[edit]

In 1959 Consumer Reports published research data indicating that that because of nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, all milk now contained radioactive Strontium-90 due to international contamination by nuclear fallout.[116] This publication was the first time anyone had provided information to the public about worldwide nuclear contamination, and followed a history of popular writers speculating on the dangers of radiation and press coverage suggesting that the military need only take precautions in the vicinity of a nuclear test.[117] Various activist groups continuously used data published by Consumers Union to back arguments which they wanted to make about the nuclear arms race.[118]

Magazines in the United States began publishing concern about nuclear fallout in 1955, at which time a poll showed that only 17% of United States respondents recognized the term "fallout".[119] Adlai Stevenson II campaigned on a halt to nuclear testing in the United States presidential election, 1956, and thereafter there was public concern on the topic.[120] In July 1958 the Public Health Service began monitoring radioactivity in milk in ten cities in the United States.[121] In 1958 scientists at Consumers Union proposed that radioactive contamination was a consumer issue and that a routine product testing approach to measure radioactive particles in food would be helpful to the public.[122]

After a nuclear test Strontium-90 goes into the atmosphere and is distributed worldwide, but will naturally concentrate in certain products including milk.[123] Consumers Union contacted the Public Health Service and the United States Atomic Energy Commission only to find that these agencies had an incomplete record for checking milk for radioactivity, and to get a request for the organization to verify and expand government research on this issue.[123] Consumers Union purchased milk from 27 US cities and had it tested for Strontium-90 and found that levels of the isotope in milk had risen as compared to levels before nuclear testing.[124] The study confirmed Public Health Service's analysis and measured a national average of 8 micromicrocuries in milk, which the editors interpreted as a low number but "a potential hazard".[125] Consumers Union sought review from the Public Health Service, which praised the report, and the Atomic Energy Commission, which agreed with the data but disagreed that the isotopes constituted dangerous radiation.[126] In March 1959 Consumer Reports published an article called "The Milk We Drink" in which it presented the data and stated that "This report cannot be ended with a clear recommendation" about what anyone should do with the data or what it could mean for a person's health because the implications "have not yet been set by science".[127] Consumers Union called for a government response to this information and a halt to nuclear testing.[128]

Within weeks of the publication of that report, newspapers around the country republished the findings.[129] Sales of milk declined and the dairy industry published reports encouraging people to drink milk for health and dismissing Consumer Reports' presentations as sensationalism.[130] Government officials began to speak more about nuclear testing and discussion of nuclear contamination became part of political discourse, and government officials committed to reduce fallout and increase research into contamination.[131] In the Berlin Crisis of 1961 the Soviet Union conducted an atomic test and the United States did shortly thereafter, but underground. The public demanded explanations about the dangers of fallout from these tests.[132] In 1961 President Kennedy said that "The milk supply offers no hazards from fallout".[133] By this time public discourse in the United States no longer considered fallout in milk to be a serious concern compared to nuclear warfare.[134] In 1963 the United States, Britain, and Russia signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which limited the above-ground testing which causes fallout.[118]

Decades later various commentators reflected that the warning by Consumers Union on this topic was a necessary warning.[55]

Other campaigns about food, water, and pollution[edit]

Food testers at Consumer Reports receive the food through these chutes.

At the release of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Consumer Reports distributed a special edition to its members to promote the book and its ideas.[135] One week after the official release of the book Consumer Reports began shipping a maximum of one copy to subscribers who pre-ordered a copy at a 60% discount off the retail price.[136]

Consumers Union studies confirm that organic food contains fewer pesticides than other food.[137]

In 1974 Consumer Reports published several articles on water pollution in the United States and gave recommendations to clean waterways. The articles won a National Magazine Award.[138]

In 1989 Consumers Union scientists appeared on the television show 60 Minutes to speak of the dangers of apples treated with the pesticide daminozide.[139][140] In 1995 Time published a retrospective noting that Consumers Union reported the daminozide concern when others including the National Cancer Institute and the American Medical Association said that the chemical puts people in almost no danger.[55] It compared that campaign to the May 1992 report that consumers should be wary of unknown effects of bovine somatotropin (BST), a hormone to increase milk production of cows.[55] The American Medical Association and the Food and Drug Administration asserted that BST was safe.[55] Michael Fumento of the Hudson Institute said that the Consumers Union claim of the danger of daminozide was "scientifically unfounded" and intended as a "frightfest".[141] After citing scientists who say that Consumers Union claims were with "no justification scientifically" and "totally off the wall", Fumento argues that Consumers Union has political motives to advance the ideas of the book Our Stolen Future and the W. Alton Jones Foundation.[141] Cliff Kincaid revisited the issue in Human Events calling Consumer Reports' actions a "hoax", and suggesting that the "liberal advocacy" that the magazine did in the daminozide case was comparable to the needless "scare campaign" it ran to raise awareness of BST.[115] The Society of Toxicology has criticized Consumer Reports' calls for decreasing pesticide use as being ""scientifically invalid ... not credible and unnecessarily alarmist" while a spokesperson for the American Farm Bureau Federation has suggested that CR has a political agenda behind its pesticide reduction campaigns.[22]

These tomato sauce samples will be examined.

In 1985 Consumers Union brought suit against Alta Dena dairy over the practice of labeling raw milk as being safer than pasteurized milk.[142] This claim is contrary to medical consensus and the court ordered that raw milk instead be labeled stating "Raw milk may contain dangerous bacteria not present in pasteurized milk" and giving an additional warning for people with immunodeficiency.[142] Alta Dena appealed and the California Courts of Appeal found in favor of Consumers Union in 1992.[143]

Ozone depletion is an environmental problem caused by man-made chemicals called CFCs. Consumers Union advocates that products not use CFCs because of permanent damage these chemicals do to the environment. In August 1994 Consumer Reports defended the CFC phaseout in an article called "The Ozone Hole: Is it Really there?"[144] A report in Human Events by a researcher from the Competitive Enterprise Institute expressed the opinion that the ban on CFCs was both without benefit and likely to become the most expensive environmental measure ever taken.[145] The report went on saying that Consumers Union was "at odds with the interests of American consumers", supported "scares even in the face of little or no evidence", has never "aligned itself against consumers more strongly than in its defense of the CFC phaseout", and that Consumers Union had "little interest in the consumer impact of their agenda".[145]

In February 1998, the magazine tested pet food and claimed that Iams dog food was nutritionally deficient. They later retracted the report claiming that there had been "a systemic error in the measurements of various minerals we tested – potassium, calcium and magnesium."[146]

Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute criticized Consumers Union's 1999 report on pesticides, which received wide media coverage. Avery said that Consumer Reports' conclusions about the dangers of pesticides were alarmist and not credible, and urged the committee allow pesticides as a way of promoting greater consumer access to fruits and vegetables.[147]

In 2001 Consumers Union began a project called eco-labels.org to review green marketing claims made on the ecolabels of products.[148] The goal of the project is to provide consumers a way to differentiate products made by manufacturers promoting ethical consumerism and sustainability versus products which are using ecolabels as marketing hype.[148] The manufacturer practices reviewed in this program include corporate policies on pest control, sustainable fishing, sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest management, the organic movement, animal welfare, and social responsibility.[148]

Meat without Drugs - meatwithoutdrugs.org[edit]

Consumer Reports requests that livestock producers not indiscriminately feed antibiotics to animals because this causes antibiotic resistance and is internationally making all antibacterials for human disease treatment much less effective.[149] In order to pressure livestock producers Consumer Reports is asking consumers not to purchase meat grown with antibiotic-fed animals and that the supermarket Trader Joe's join the campaign by discontinuing its sale of meat from antibiotic-fed animals.[149][150]

Subtherapeutic antibiotic use in swine and in other animals makes the animals grow more meat faster and keeps them from developing infections when they live in unhealthy factory farming conditions.[151] Consumer Reports wants better disclosure on meat products made with antibiotics.[152] CR asks that consumers buy antibiotic free meat and reports that many consumers prefer it.[153]

Health care[edit]

Since its 1936 founding Consumer Reports has shared health information. Since 1989 it has published a monthly newsletter, Consumer Reports on Health.[154] It maintains websites such as that for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs and Choosing Wisely campaigns.[154] In 2005 in partnership with BMJ it produced the Consumer Reports Medical Guide, which was an encyclopedia to help consumers make health care decisions.[154][155]

United States health care policy[edit]

After World War II Consumers Union supported the 1943-45 campaign for health care reform by backing the Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill to add health insurance to the Social Security system in opposition to lobbying against the same by the American Medical Association and others.[156]

Consumers Union supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is the 2010 federal statute commonly called Obamacare.[157] In 2009 during a campaign to promote this act, Consumers Union paid for television advertising for the first time.[158] CU has urged its members to oppose bills which would make the Affordable Care Act less effective.[159] AARP, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Consumers Union, Families USA, and Service Employees International Union formed a coalition to mobilize grassroots support for congressional Democrats in Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota to pass the Affordable Care Act.[160] CU supported the establishment of the California Health Benefit Exchange, which was created as a result of the Affordable Care Act.[161]

Consumers Union has criticized the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which allows pharmaceutical companies to pay the US government to ensure drug safety. CU asserts that money being paid to the US government creates a conflict of interest for the government to approve drugs.[162] CU further asserts a preference that drug manufacturers assume all responsibility rather than sharing it with government and not pay the government for review services.[162] Various other parties have responded to Consumers Union's complaints.[163]

The United States is unusual in permitting direct-to-consumer advertising for drugs. Whereas most countries only encourage doctors to recommend medical treatments, in the United States drug manufacturers persuade consumers to seek the drugs and treatments which they market. Consumer Reports asserts that this kind of advertising is inherently biased to promote sales even if it is not in the best interest of the consumer.[154][164][165]

Health education programs[edit]

Christine K. Cassel explains the Choosing Wisely campaign

Choosing Wisely is the name of a United States-based public health educational campaign which seeks to inform patients and physicians about overutilization of medical resources. It presumes that significant waste exists in health care in the United States and that if patients and doctors choose wisely when deciding health care, then patients will have better outcomes and the medical system itself will benefit.

Best Buy Drugs is a project to provide information to consumers about the relative effectiveness of various medications along with pricing information. The goal of the project is to support consumers when they make health care decisions. The Best Buy Drugs project takes information from the Drug Effectiveness Review Project, rewrites it in a way that is appealing to the general public, then distributes it.[166][167][168] The campaign has been reviewed as a way to help consumers save money on medical expenses and improve the quality of their care.[169][170][171]

The Safe Patient Project is a Consumers Union program for supporting grassroots patient activists in promoting their own healthcare reform projects. The Safe Patient Project regularly gives comment on patient safety issues in particular places.[172] It also presents the consumer perspective in commenting on government health reports, such as from Office of the Inspector General.[173] In November 2011 the Safe Patient Project made a demand for public access to the United States Department of Health and Human Services' National Practitioner Data Bank.[174][175] This database is a key national record for state medical licensing boards to report doctors in their jurisdiction who they have reprimanded for faults and it also organizes national records of which doctors have been sued for malpractice.[174] When the database was created it was made for confidential research purposes and specifically not for identifying doctors who are the targets of complaints.[176][177] The Safe Patient Project argues that public access to records of complaints about doctors and hospitals would increase their ability to make informed health decisions.[174] In contrast, the American Medical Association has "long opposed public access to the NPDB" because it "was designed for a limited purpose and is not a reliable source of public information about the overall qualifications of physicians... Providing the public with unreliable or misleading information on physicians may cause patients to make ill-informed decisions about their healthcare."[178]

Consumers Union is a member of the Campaign for Children's Health Care coalition.[citation needed]

Cigarette testing[edit]

In 1936 at Consumer Reports' founding the health effects of tobacco were not understood sufficiently for there to be consensus that smoking was significantly unhealthy. The tobacco control movement was not well-established to speak about health, and many entities including the tobacco industry defended the practice of smoking from criticism making such discussion a controversial topic.

In 1938 Consumer Reports did product testing on various brands of cigarettes to compare their nicotine content, tobacco quality, and the variations due to processing.[179] The tests reported that the differences between any brand were small and the magazine emphasized the uniformity in brands and claimed that untruthful advertising led smokers to believe that differences existed where there were none.[179] The report also described the control which the major manufacturers had over the market by using deceitful advertising to limit market competition from smaller companies.[179] The magazine recommended that smokers purchase the least expensive cigarettes produced by any small company with unionized labor.[179]

The report appeared during hearings of the Temporary National Economic Committee, an organization under Thurman Arnold in the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division.[180] These hearings were considering whether R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, American Tobacco Company, Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company, and Lorillard Tobacco Company were engaging in illegal practices to monopolize the tobacco manufacturing process,[180] because in 1910 during United States v. American Tobacco Co. these four companies were formed from a split to break a monopoly. As a result of the Consumer Reports article, in autumn officials in that council called a representative from Consumers Union to speak.[180] At the hearing the representative stated that in blindfolded tests most smokers could not identify their own brands after years of loyalty.[180] The hearing found three of the four companies guilty on all the counts with which they were charged.[180]

From that time the public increasingly discussed health effects of tobacco. Consumers Union staff considered the work of researchers such as Ernst Wynder, who suggested that cigarettes were the cause of diseases, and C. C. Little, who during his employment with the Tobacco Industry Research Council published research denying that smoking caused health problems.[181] In most years between 1952-1963 Consumer Reports published many feature stories on tobacco and gained attention from journalists covering the issue.[182] Other publications referenced and reviewed the smoking research published in Consumer Reports.[183] In 1957 John Blatnik collected testimony from Consumer Reports in a hearing on smoking and health.[184] Consumers Union intensified the depth and frequency of testing, and the organization's tar and nicotine measurements were serving as centers for discussion in the media.[185]

By March 1958 the tobacco industry had been reducing levels of tar and nicotine in cigarettes. Time magazine reported as follows:

Burned by research linking smoking with lung cancer, and by congressional charges that many filters actually filter very little, tobaccomen are quietly reducing nicotine and tars in cigarettes. Last week Consumer Reports, whose March 1957 tests played a large part in the congressional blast, reported the results of the latest tests, showing milligram declines in the last year.[186]

Consumer Reports' esteem as an authority grew and began to be noted. Among other media mentions, in 1961 writer Ian Fleming in his novel Thunderball had pop culture character James Bond choose to smoke the brand of cigarettes which "the authoritative Consumers Union of America rates... (as) the one with the smallest tar and nicotine content."[187] The popularity led Edward Brecher to coordinate the publication of The Consumers Union Report on Smoking and the Public Interest.[188] Before the book was published, galley proofs were sent to C.C. Little and that same week the Tobacco Institute suggested that its members "avoid sponsorship of TV programs aimed at youthful audiences" and to cease advertising in college media, while financial advisers told investors of pressure on the price of stock in cigarettes.[189] Upon publication the book received praise from Benjamin Spock, Lester Breslow, William Styron, and various other reviewers.[190] Other discussions on smoking began selling well and there was no longer a barrier to open debate about harmful effects of smoking. LeRoy Collins as president of the National Association of Broadcasters proposed codes to govern cigarette advertising and Maurine Brown Neuberger introduced legislation to congress to require tobacco packaging warning messages.[191]

In 1964 the Surgeon General of the United States presented the report Smoking and Health. Brecher was present at the press release of this committee and reported that he talked with each member of the committee and that all of them stated that the Consumers Union Report was the first evidence they considered to guide their recommendations.[192] After the publication of this report Consumer Reports played a less important role in antismoking advocacy and ceased cigarette testing.[193]

Conversion of Blue Cross Blue Shield from non-profit to for-profit[edit]

On the argument that it would be illegal to divert charitable assets for a purpose inconsistent with their original mission, Consumers Union criticized the conversion of the New York-based nonprofit health insurer Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield into a for-profit company.[194]

Empire changed the named of its parent company to WellChoice in November 2002 after its initial public offering.[195] Under the conversion plan to become a for-profit organization, the organization was to pay US$1,000,000,000, 95% of which would go to the state and 5% would form a health foundation.[195] In 2005 the New York Court of Appeals upheld the 2002 for-profit conversion with a 4-2 decision after a three year lawsuit by Consumers Union alleging that this use of the insurer's charitable assets was unconstitutional. Days later, Consumers Union won a restraining order restricting any use of the money pending a judge's review of the legality of another aspect of the conversion.[195]

In 2010 Consumer Reports complained of unfairness in many Blue Cross Blue Shield Association health insurance plans because they raise member premiums while holding cash reserves in excess of the minimum required for solvency protection.[196]

Sexual health[edit]

In 1937 Consumers Union published a pamphlet called Report of Contraceptive Materials and advertised it in Consumer Reports magazine as being available on request "to members who were married and seeking such information on the advice of their physicians".[197] Within days of distribution the United States Postal Service said that the magazine was in violation of postal laws for publishing the advertisement.[197] In 1941 the post office further stated that the contraception report itself as a private publication separate from the magazine could not be mailed, despite Consumer Reports' argument that the report gave people information about unreliable and dangerous contraceptives.[197] At the time discussion of contraception by mail was restricted by United States obscenity law.[citation needed]

In 1943 Consumers Union asked the court to allow them to distribute information on contraception through the mail.[197] This was to be done by distributing it as a companion to a book on sexuality, Your Marriage: A Guide to Happiness.[198][199] United States Postmaster General Frank Comerford Walker stated that the sexual information should be banned, and Osmond Fraenkel argued for Consumers Union.[200] The case was initially dismissed, but in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Justice Justin Miller ruled that when the information was restricted to members of Consumers Union who were married and who were requesting them on the advice of physicians, then the materials could not be banned from the mail.[197][201] After the ruling a new edition of the report was created and by 1950 150,000 copies of it had been sent to members of Consumers Union who met the qualifications to receive it.[197]

Consumer Reports published a demand for legalized abortion in the United States in 1947.[202]

In 1948 in a review of phony creams purported to cause growth of a woman's breast size, Consumers Union denounced the use of sex in advertising on the basis of it being unfair to women and encouraging women to have a negative body image.[203]

In 1962 Consumers Union published The Consumers Union Report on Family Planning.[204] The book was written by Alan Frank Guttmacher and the content was researched and reviewed by Christopher Tietze, the Clinical Research Bureau, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.[204] Reviewers stated that the book targeted a layman audience.[205]

In 1986 Consumers Union released Love, Sex, and Aging: A Consumers Union Report.[206] The book gives the report of a survey of the sexual habits of over 4000 persons over age 50. A reviewer notes that this "by far the largest sample to date" and that this "broad and searching study" "(attests) to the importance--and variety--of sex in (people's) lives".[207] The reviewer also said that survey respondents trusted CU's reputation and therefore had "confidence in CU's purposes, and interest in its findings", and consequently would be forthcoming in talking about sexuality when otherwise they might not be.[207]

Licit and Illicit Drugs[edit]

In 1972 Consumers Union published The Consumers Union Report - Licit and Illicit Drugs.[208] One reviewer for a medical journal described the book as an "important work (which) stresses the historical and social perspectives on the drugs of abuse as well as the current laws, attitudes, and policies concerning all commonly used and abused drugs" and that he was "impressed with the conclusions concerning the failure of the judicial and penal systems" and "that both sides of many controversial issues are presented."[209] Another reviewer summarized it by saying that "Brecher holds that the division of drugs into licit and illicit categories is medically irrational and rooted mainly in historical and sociological factors." [210] Another review said that the book should be read by every physician who cares for adolescents.[211] The book identified marijuana as the most popular drug after tobacco, alcohol, and nicotine.[212]

Alternative medicine[edit]

In 1951 Consumer Reports reviewed L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and commented that "irrational cults... (flourish in) the absence of rational organization of psychiatric resources".[213] Later commentary noted that Consumer Reports was concerned about the conflict between Dianetics and the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and other professional and social welfare organizations.[214]

Mildred Edie Brady, editorial director and senior reporter at CU from 1958–1965, wrote critically of Wilhelm Reich's orgone accumulators and their purported ability to concentrate orgastic potency.[215]

Consumer Reports reviews the safety of dietary supplements.[216] Consumer Reports has published on the safety and efficacy of chiropractic care.[217]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Brobeck 1997, p. 186.
  2. ^ Manion 2005, p. 9.
  3. ^ Guest, Jim (January 2012). "From Our President - Changes for 2012". consumerreports.org. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Brobeck 1997, p. 183.
  5. ^ a b c d "No Commercial Use Policy - Consumer Reports". consumerreports.org. 2013 [last update]. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Bounds, Gwendolyn (May 5 2010). "Meet the Sticklers". The Wall Street Journal (New York: Dow Jones). ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Stross, Randall (December 11, 2011). "Consumer Reports, Going Strong at 75". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Mickey, Bill (October 2007). "How to Write a Compelling Refrigerator Story". foliomag.com. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Stableford, Dylan (12/03/2007). "Consumer Reports Surpasses 3,000,000 Online Subscriptions". foliomag.com. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Pérez-Peña, Richard (December 8, 2007). "Success Without Ads - New York Times". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Brobeck 1997, p. 182.
  12. ^ Silber 1983, p. 18.
  13. ^ a b Silber 1983, p. 23.
  14. ^ McGovern 2006, p. 320, citing
    • "Dies Investigator Says Reds Utilize Consumer Groups". The New York Times. December 11, 1939. p. 1. 
    • "Consumer Group Heads Deny Red Tinge Charge". The Christian Science Monitor. December 11, 1939. p. 2. 
    • "Consumers' Group Called Tool of Reds". Washington Post. December 11, 1939. p. 1. 
    • "Dies Report Charges Communist Influence in Consumer Groups". Printer's Ink 11 (190): 15–16, 84. December 15, 1939. 
    • "Report of Dies' Aide Assailed". The Milwaukee Journal. 11 December 1939. Retrieved 9 July 2013. . Voorhis is quoted as saying, "I believe the committee is put in a very difficult position by releasing a report which attempts to brand as communist intrigue, protests against high milk prices, the teaching of young women to be wise buyers, or the efforts of consumers to secure the honesty in advertising which every reputable merchant and businessman in America desires as much as the consumers do." Matthews is quoted as saying that communists are "utilizing consumers' protests to overthrow the capitalist system and put in its place a soviet system".
  15. ^ McGovern 2006, p. 319, citing
    • "Hearst Magazines Accused by F.T.C.". New York Times. August 21, 1939. p. 22. 
    • "Good Housekeeping Owners Defy F.T.C. on Ad "Guaranties"". Washington Post. August 21, 1939. p. 2. 
    • "Good Housekeeping Denies Trade Commision Charges". Christian Science Monitor. August 22, 1939. p. 16. 
    • "Seal of Disapproval". Business Week: 20–22. August 26, 1939. 
    • "Good Housekeeping Stands Indicted". Consumers Union Reports 4 (11): 3. September 1939. 
    • "The Case Against Good Housekeeping". Consumers Union Reports 5 (1): 26–27. January 1940. 
    • "The Good Housekeeping Seals of Approval". Consumers Digest 6 (5): 40–44. November 1939. 
  16. ^ H.P.F. (2 September 1952). "More on Consumers Union". Ludington Daily News. p. 4. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Consumer's Report". Time 70 (7): 82. August 12, 1957. 
  19. ^ Gold, Gerald (January 13, 1974). "Consumers Union Picks Lawyer To Be Its First Woman Director". select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Put to the Test". Time 119 (5): 63. February 1982. 
  21. ^ Finn, Robert (October 05, 2000). "PUBLIC LIVES; Still Top Dog, Consumers' Pit Bull to Retire". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f Greenstein, Jennifer (September 1999). "Testing Consumer Reports". Brill's Content. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Hinds, Michael deCourcy (June 11, 1988). "Consumer's World; How Consumers Union puts teeth into 'let the seller beware'". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Jackson, Nancy Beth (3 July 2003). "Opinions to Spare? Click Here". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  25. ^ Huerster, Bob (April/May 1997). "Online Research at Consumers Union". Database (Information Today, Inc.) 20 (2): 27–32. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths PETERSON, ESTHER". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). December 23, 1997. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Boot, Max (September 19, 1996). "Guardian of the Lawyers' Honey Pot". Wall Street Journal. 
  29. ^ Stauber, John; Rampton, Sheldon (Third Quarter 1996). "An Open-ended Attack on the Public Interest". PR Watch (Center for Media and Democracy) 3 (3). 
  30. ^ H.F.P. (May 26, 1952). "Consumers Union". Ludington Daily News. p. 4. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  31. ^ Silber 1983, p. 83-85, citing Consumer Reports: 3. June 1936. 
  32. ^ a b c d e Kitman, Jamie (April 2013). "The Appliance Enthusiast". Automobile Magazine. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ a b Silber 1983, p. 83-85, citing Consumer Reports: 190. May 1950. 
  36. ^ a b Silber 1983, p. 87-89.
  37. ^ Silber 1983, p. 87-89, citing Consumer Reports: 218. May 1953.  and local newspapers covering the story.
  38. ^ a b Silber 1983, p. 91, citing Consumer Reports: 212-217. May 1956. 
  39. ^ Silber 1983, p. 91-92, citing
    • New York Post. 3 June 1956. 
    • Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons (American College of Surgeons). July-August 1956. 
    • New York Times. 19 August 1956. 
  40. ^ Silber 1983, p. 91-92, citing Hearings of the House Subcommittee on Traffic Safety of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, June 1956. Source online not confirmed but it could be this.
  41. ^ Silber 1983, p. 94, citing
    • Crooks, Lawrence E. (July 1959). "New, smaller cars will come from behind in handling, steering"". SAE Journal: 28–29. 
    • Hearings concerning administered prices before the Senate Committee on Anti-trust and Monopoly, 29 April 1958, pp. 3067–3068 
  42. ^ Silber 1983, p. 94, citing Henry Dreyfuss (July 1958). "The Car Detroit Should be building". Consumer Reports: 218. 
  43. ^ Silber 1983, p. 95, citing
    • Consumer Reports: 411. August 1958. "many manufacturers sold "brake fluid with all the performance virtues of orange juice"" 
    • various archived letters in Consumer Reports' collection
  44. ^ a b Silber 1983, p. 97, citing "Passenger car design and highway safety; proceedings of a conference on research sponsored by the Association for the Aid of Crippled Children and Consumers Union of US, Inc". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 184: 83–10. 1963. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700140139042.  edit, reviewed at
  45. ^ Silber 1983, p. 98, which gives for example
    • Henry Dreyfuss (July 1958). Consumer Reports: 351.  , which Silber states was reported in more than 100 magazines and newspapers
    • Printer's Ink. 27 June 1958. 
    • Automotive News. 1 February 1960. 
    • The Tennessean. 1 May 1958. 
    • The New York Times. 30 April 1958. 
    • BusinessWeek. 3 May 1958. 
    • and others
  46. ^ a b c d Silber 1983, p. 99-100
  47. ^ "Storm over the Omni Horizon", Time, 26 June 1978.
  48. ^ Legal Watch Defamation Claim Arising from Consumer Report Dismissed
  49. ^ "Update: This is a revised report on "The dollars and sense of hybrids"". Consumers Union. September 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  50. ^ "No Test Dummies" Fortune, 11 June 2007
  51. ^ "2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Handling Concerns Resolved - KickingTires". Blogs.cars.com. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  52. ^ Leonard, David. "Consumer Reports maintains old-school values". Bloomberg Businessweek/MSNBC. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  53. ^ a b "Suzuki and Consumers Union Agree on Dismissal of Lawsuit". consumerreports.org. April 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  54. ^ Hakim, Danny. "Suzuki Resolves a Dispute With a Consumer Magazine", The New York Times, 9 July 2004.
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h Gray, Paul; Curry, Tom (20 February 1995). "Evaluating the Buyer's Bible". Time 145 (7): 64–67. 
  56. ^ a b c Parloff, Roger (December 13, 2004). "The Ionic Breez is no match for Consumer Reports". Fortune. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  57. ^ a b Lazarus, David (November 14, 2004). "Sharper Image fogs up". San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco: Hearst). ISSN 1932-8672. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  58. ^ a b
  59. ^ The Associated Press (5 April 2005). "Consumer Reports calls air purifier 'unhealthy'". msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  60. ^ a b "The Truth About Air Cleaners". Mother Earth News. Ogden Publishing. August/September 2005. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  61. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (October 10, 1983). "ADVERTISING - Regina Still Restrained On Consumer Reports". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  62. ^ Dougherty, Philip H. (December 6, 1983). "ADVERTISING - Regina Restraining Order Is Vacated". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  63. ^ CONSUMERS UNION OF UNITED STATES, INC v. GENERAL SIGNAL CORP. and Grey Advertising, 724 F.2d 1044 (United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Dec. 6, 1983).
  64. ^ CONSUMERS UNION OF UNITED STATES, INC v. NEW REGINA CORPORATION and Grey Advertising, 664 F.Supp 753 (United States District Court for the Southern District of New York June 23, 1987).
  65. ^
  66. ^ Castro, Janice; Samghabadi, Raji; Constable, Anne (14 May 1984). "The Supreme Court rules in favor of Consumers Union". Time 123 (20): 74. 
  67. ^ "Opinion: Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union - 466 U.S. 485 (1984)". United States Supreme Judicial Court. Justia. 
  68. ^ "Editorial: A Sound Affirmation". New York Times. 02 May 1984. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  69. ^
  70. ^ a b "About Consumer Reports - MSN Autos". autos.msn.com. 2013 [last update]. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  71. ^ "Dangerous Toys Target of Consumers Union". Eugene Register Guard. November 18, 1970. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  72. ^ This citation is from a problematic website, but this story does seem to be copied from elsewhere. Is there a better source? Citation needed! Mazzulo, Yvonne P (October 30, 2011), "Consumer Reports turns 75 - National Pop culture trends", examiner.com 
  73. ^ There must be governmental or journalist records somewhere which would be better sources than these self-published ones.
  74. ^ Tenenbaum, Inez (December 1, 2011). "Chairman Tenenbaum, Chairman's Circle of Commendation Awards Ceremony, December 1, 2011". cpsc.gov. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  75. ^ Detroit News
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  81. ^ American Library Association v. Federal Communications Commission, 04-1037 (District of Columbia Court of Appeals May 6, 2005).
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  149. ^ a b
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  164. ^ Lipman's "Bias" paper cites these:
    • "Miracle Drugs or Media Drugs?". Consumer Reports: 142. March 1992. 
    • "Drug Advertising: Is This Good Medicine? June 1996, at 62.". Consumer Reports: 62. June 1996. 
    • "Free Rein for Drug Ads?". Consumer Reports: 33. February 2003. 
  165. ^
  166. ^ Findlay, S. D. (2006). "Bringing the DERP to Consumers: 'Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs'". Health Affairs 25 (4): W283–W286. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.25.w283. PMID 16757490.  edit
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  172. ^ Here are some examples:
  173. ^ Here are some examples:
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    • Consumer Reports: 18–19. July 1938. 
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    • New York Times. February 4, 1953. 
    • New York World-Telegram. February 4, 1953. 
    • Magazine Digest. May 1953. 
    • the syndicated column of Walter C. Alvarez published in various newspapers on June 19, 1953
    • Advertising Age. January 24, 1955. 
  184. ^ This hearing published a report which should be in a government archive but is not identified. Commentary on that report is at the following:
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    • "Umpiring the Cigarette Ad Claims: The Methods and Ethics of Testing Labs". Printer's Ink: 56. July 4, 1958. 
    • "CU Tobacco Fact Sheet". Vend (Chicago). April 1958. 
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  188. ^ Brecher, Edward; Brecher, Ruth; Herzog, Arthur; Goodman, Walter; editors of Consumers Reports (1963). The Consumers Union Report on Smoking and the Public Interest. Mount Vernon, NY: Consumers Union. 
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    • It is not clear which source is Spock's, but Silber quotes him as writing, "parents would be wise to read the CU Report on Smoking so that they can influence their children before it is too late."
    • The New York Times. 17 July 1963. 
    • The New York Times Book Review. 20 October 1963. 
    • Styron, William (26 December 1963). "The Habit". The New York Review of Books. "if not a joy, then at least agreeable to read." 
    • Christianity Today. 8 November, 1963. "the religious community can "no more look at the cigarette-lung cancer problem from a morally neutral point of view than it can be oblivious to the moral implications of the daily slaughter on the highways and the human wreckage through alcoholism."" 
    See also the following review of this book:
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    • Maurine Brown Neuberger (1963). Smoke Screen: Tobacco And The Public Welfare. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs. pp. 49–66. "ASIN B001KRAFTI" 
    • Whiteside, Thomas (30 November, 1963). "A Cloud of Smoke". The New Yorker: 67–77. 
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External links[edit]