Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

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daveydoo
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Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by daveydoo »

Re-subscribed to CR after a hiatus. I've always found it to be objective and helpful for consumer products, but less so for services and more general-type articles. The latter seems to be a bigger focus now.

This month, there's an overview of "robo-advisors," which has very little content and doesn't seem to compare any of the actual robo-advice given. When they compare cars, they actually drive the cars, right?

The real problem: at the end of the article on robo-advice, they have a ranking of all "Investment Companies" (link to the report's web address but I'm not sure how closely it mirrors the in-print version: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/inve ... -guide.htm). For "Large Investors" (i.e., with > $500K invested), Edward Jones is ranked fourth out of ~ 30 companies ("Reader Score" of 88, with Vanguard at the top at 94). The ranking is based on investment returns, "met goals," customer service, and "online reports," and is derived entirely from a reader survey! I think this is the most shameful thing I've ever seen in CR. It's like publishing a ranking of physicians and adding in the caption that rankings were based on firmness of the physician's handshake. I can't argue with CR's methodology since it is statistically defensible; it's just insane to rate "investment companies" based solely upon clients' perceptions of these merits. And, oddly, these investment companies include a random mix of advisors, discount, and full-service brokerages, and mutual fund companies. They have Janus lumped in with TD -- which is like ranking Honda, Toyota, and CarMax for quality of their cars.

Are they afraid of lawsuits? How can an impartial consumer-advice publication not call out these self-serving advisors that push load funds with high ERs in exchange for revenue sharing?
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"
Big Dog
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by Big Dog »

tbf: aren't their 'reliability' ratings of cars/appliances et al based on their subscribers' reviews?
mptfan
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by mptfan »

The results of that survey highlight the difference between perception and reality. There are lots of people out there who perceive that they are getting good value when they are not, usually because they are being deceived, or because they are not well informed enough to know that they are not getting good value, or because they like the salesperson, or any number of other reasons. I'll give you an example... I know an older retired lady who uses Edward Jones to manage her investments...I've mentioned to her the merits of using Vanguard and getting away from high expense loaded managed funds...but she is not interested. She likes the "nice Edward Jones guy who takes care of my money and sends me birthday cards." I'm not kidding. This is how many people perceive Edward Jones. If she were asked to rate Edward Jones in a survey, she would likely give them high marks for their service. The reality is that she is being deceived and she is being taken advantage of, but her perception is very different, and her perception is her reality, and the results of that survey reflect the responses of many people just like her.
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daveydoo
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by daveydoo »

Big Dog wrote:tbf: aren't their 'reliability' ratings of cars/appliances et al based on their subscribers' reviews?
Yes, but reliability is fairly objective in that context. I've taken those CR surveys and they ask, car by car, if any of these various systems have required a repair in the past year (e.g., exhaust system, etc.). They don't ask "Do you think your car is reliable?" I guess someone could be so in love with their car that they decide to not give it a bad grade on the survey, but that seems less likely.

Satisfaction with investment advice is a terrible metric -- it's not like satisfaction with your lawn care. People hire others to cut their lawn (or cut their hair) because they lack the time, energy, or talent -- but they can still rate the quality of the outcome. In contrast, people seek financial advice because they can't tell good from bad -- and to ask people who can't tell good from bad to rate the quality of the advice they received -- that's nuts.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by BTDT »

I gave up on Consumers Reports a couple of years back and stopped renewing my subscription. While profits are a key to the success of any business, CR seems to have put profits far above all else, and forsaken their original mission/goal of evaluating products and reporting their unbiased findings.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by dpc »

Every time I get a new CR, I think I really need to cancel my subscription (after subscribing for 35 years or so.)

I've had bad luck even with their actual tested reviews - which seem fewer and fewer. The lack of content and added fluff isn't unique to CR - it's happening to nearly all magazines. It's a troubled business. And CR seems to be a troubled organization.

I agree the article is worse than useless - it is horribly misleading.
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Northster
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by Northster »

I agree that CR has gone down hill. I'm not sure is a profit motive as much as a cost containment effort. Running real, useful product evaluations of the kind they used to excel in is very expensive and subscription income keeps sliding. I also have a beef with their local 'Checkbook' rating service. Seeking a mason for some chimney repair I read their article on the topic. While they gave no ratings they stressed the need to get multiple estimates and listed prices quoted by a few local masons. I guess I assumed these were in some way vetted and chose one. To make a long story short, the work was never done and I could not get a refund of my deposit. My hearing in small claims court is Friday morning.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

dpc wrote:Every time I get a new CR, I think I really need to cancel my subscription (after subscribing for 35 years or so.)

I've had bad luck even with their actual tested reviews - which seem fewer and fewer. The lack of content and added fluff isn't unique to CR - it's happening to nearly all magazines. It's a troubled business. And CR seems to be a troubled organization.

I agree the article is worse than useless - it is horribly misleading.
+1

I have subscribed about 45 years. In addition to what you mention, I have been turned off by their awkward attempted transition to electronic delivery and their misguided (imo) change in font, paper, and presentation of their magazine. I had already decided not to renew (I think I have another year left), and this article only reinforced my decision.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by RudyS »

Doom&Gloom wrote:
dpc wrote:Every time I get a new CR, I think I really need to cancel my subscription (after subscribing for 35 years or so.)

I've had bad luck even with their actual tested reviews - which seem fewer and fewer. The lack of content and added fluff isn't unique to CR - it's happening to nearly all magazines. It's a troubled business. And CR seems to be a troubled organization.

I agree the article is worse than useless - it is horribly misleading.
+1

I have subscribed about 45 years. In addition to what you mention, I have been turned off by their awkward attempted transition to electronic delivery and their misguided (imo) change in font, paper, and presentation of their magazine. I had already decided not to renew (I think I have another year left), and this article only reinforced my decision.
Subscribed for 50 years, read my parents' magazines long before that. It's gone downhill badly. "the old grey mare ain't what she used to be." This was my last straw too.
TravelGeek
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by TravelGeek »

c078342 wrote:Never paid any attention to Communist Reports -- they have no soul, no joie de vivre. At one point I saw them, in effect, say that sure bacon tastes good, but it's fatty and you have no need to eat it. They view cars as strictly utilitarian and find no enthusiasm in driving a car because it's fun to drive.
Is that why they gave the Tesla Model S such a high rating?
TravelGeek
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by TravelGeek »

mptfan wrote:The results of that survey highlight the difference between perception and reality. There are lots of people out there who perceive that they are getting good value when they are not, usually because they are being deceived, or because they are not well informed enough to know that they are not getting good value, or because they like the salesperson, or any number of other reasons.
Yup. That's why there it seems like there is an Edward Jones office in every strip mall I come across. If their customers knew better, EJ wouldn't be everywhere. Probably has something to do with with small numbers and math skills: a 2% fee seems minute when we regularly dole out 15% tips.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by Toons »

"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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windaar
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by windaar »

CU went south a while back. They sent me some cheesy "raffle tickets" as some kind of deceptive promo. They started putting reviews behind their website for which subscribers have to pay extra. And their new car price reports have been replaced by TrueCar with all its warts.
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The Wizard
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by The Wizard »

Yeah, Consumer Reports is kinda passe in the modern Internet era.
We use focused Internet fora now to research a/v systems, motor vehicles, and financial stuff...
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soboggled
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by soboggled »

The problem is internet reviews can't be believed. Full of fraudulent reviews by fake consumers. At least CR is objective, if often wrong. The biggest problem is they come up with a rating but don't reveal the algorithm so you could adjust it to fit your tastes.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by The Wizard »

soboggled wrote:The problem is internet reviews can't be believed. Full of fraudulent reviews by fake consumers. At least CR is objective, if often wrong. The biggest problem is they come up with a rating but don't reveal the algorithm so you could adjust it to fit your tastes.
I disagree.
F150forum.com (for my pickup truck) and avsforum.com (for my big screen HDTVs) have been very helpful.
Their posting levels are comparable to Bogleheads.
Any false info will be quickly challenged by the regulars.
You must be referring to some Chinese based generic review site...
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joebh
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by joebh »

Consumer Reports is pretty much as objective as you can get. Their lack of advertising distinguished them from almost all other "review" sites and let's them maintain objectivity.

IMHO they are also far superior to most "wisdom of the crowd" sites. The hivemind isn't always right, and on some sites seems to be consistently wrong. And of course many crowd reviews are of the stuffed ballot kind.

Still, I stopped subscribing to CR many years ago.

I can get most of the data/information I need online. And I can read CR reviews at the library.
mancich
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by mancich »

I used to really enjoy CR, but I also think they have gone downhill. In addition, I don't like how their default solution to just about every problem is more regulation and more government.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by jdb »

I still have a few issues left on my subscription, just received one in mail yesterday, threw in trash without even opening. And certainly will not renew. In my opinion has as much relevance today as Reader's Digest. I have more faith in Amazon reviews for products, and their car reviews have become more than boring. Will not miss them.
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Munir
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Munir »

This thread is sounding like a lynch mob. I don't get the Consumer Reports in print anymore but I subscribe to their online version and have found it very helpful. I consult it before making any significant purchases. I don't find that it covers some areas I'm interested in, but generally the ones it covers are good. It does have some weaknesses in some areas such as medical care (and maybe robo-advisors) but others are worthwhile. Lighten up people, and give it some slack. Maybe you are expecting too much.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by TravelGeek »

The Wizard wrote: I disagree.
F150forum.com (for my pickup truck) and avsforum.com (for my big screen HDTVs) have been very helpful.
Their posting levels are comparable to Bogleheads.
So did you use F150forum when you selected your (new) vehicle? Or for advice post-purchase? I have never visited the site, but the name kind of makes me believe that it isn't a site that aims to offer objective comparison advice when selecting a new truck.

I have used avsforum a few times, too, but usually to research problems post-purchase or about a feature in general.

As a Prius owner I have visited priuschat.com. Lots of useful information, but I wouldn't go there looking for reliability information.

To me these sites and an objective organization like CR are complementary.

I have in the past purchased subscriptions for CR when I was interested in a particular topic. E.g., we bought new appliances last year and I wanted to get some easy to digest information about fridges, dish washers, washing machines, dryers, ... I doubt I would have gotten that from reading countless consumer reviews on Amazon or other sites.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by The Wizard »

TravelGeek wrote:
The Wizard wrote: I disagree.
F150forum.com (for my pickup truck) and avsforum.com (for my big screen HDTVs) have been very helpful.
Their posting levels are comparable to Bogleheads.
So did you use F150forum when you selected your (new) vehicle? Or for advice post-purchase? I have never visited the site, but the name kind of makes me believe that it isn't a site that aims to offer objective comparison advice when selecting a new truck...
You are right.
I had already decided on Ford, as opposed to Chevy, Dodge, or Toyota.
Threads on leaking sunroofs , cooled seat problems, and aftermarket spray-in bedliner vs factory bedliners helped me decide on the options for my factory order.

If I had no idea or preference on which brand of truck to buy, I'd have to find a different website for my research.
This is sort of my point: depending the help you need, there are generally websites out there that can help.
This wasn't true decades ago...
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by amphora »

Munir wrote:This thread is sounding like a lynch mob. I don't get the Consumer Reports in print anymore but I subscribe to their online version and have found it very helpful. I consult it before making any significant purchases. I don't find that it covers some areas I'm interested in, but generally the ones it covers are good. It does have some weaknesses in some areas such as medical care (and maybe robo-advisors) but others are worthwhile. Lighten up people, and give it some slack. Maybe you are expecting too much.
+1

This thread seems way too down on Consumer Reports. Rating Edward Jones highly is unconscionable but I've found CR to be a good guide for reliability and quality of household products. If you're buying a new blender or lawnmower, are you really going to search out some specialty blender forum or lawn care forum or should you check Consumer Reports? I'd vote CR.

Do other people have experiences where CR has seriously steered them wrong?
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by daveydoo »

amphora wrote:This thread seems way too down on Consumer Reports. Rating Edward Jones highly is unconscionable but I've found CR to be a good guide for reliability and quality of household products.
OP here. My focus was this recent "Investment Company" report that I thought was terrible, misleading, and frankly pandering to segments of the industry/lobby. To not caution against advisors that direct clients to load funds with high ERs in exchange for shared revenue is either dreadful "research" or cowardice. I didn't intend this as a referendum on CR as a whole; that said, I agree with a lot that has been posted, and I've been a lifelong fan of CR.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Rob5TCP »

While I do go their online site; it's not what it once was.
To their partial credit they do advise caution when purchasing: ask your advisor how he is compensated - including whether he is paid extra to recommend certain funds
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/inve ... -guide.htm (may require registration or you could try google).
123
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by 123 »

Has anyone else noticed that as we age we are less likely to accept that an "authority" is always (or mostly) accurate? I guess we learned something along the way.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by lemonPepper »

I trust CR. Sure they are not perfect but they don't have conflict of interest. I look at their suggestions as a starting point. I bought their "guide to richer retirement" and it was quite disappointing. They did mention vanguard and that's how I found bogleheads.

I hate advertising. In the age of internet, we have too much information and much of it is low quality or intentionally misleading. Investments & credit cards is a prime example. It's hard to trust many online reviewing systems: so many of them have been gamed. And people tend to provide extreme reviews (five star or one star). No wonder most of us put a very high emphasis on getting personal recommendations from friends and family.

For consumer products, I often use costco as a good reference point. I've been very happy with most of the stuff I buy there. It seems like they only offer products that are good and unlikely to dispapoint customers.

I will continue to contribute to CR even if I don't read them as often. I believe in their mission. I wonder if they had more money whethere they could do a better job of providing better advice.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by 4nursebee »

There is a world of people fully satisfied with EJ and they can't be convinced by fact. They know not what they do. It is not the fault of CR.

I know a highly educated family man, raising a family, hopes for many millions. Listens to his EJ rep every time the guy calls (buy and sell). SPends social time with him, likely goes to his church, uses his beach house. As hard as this guy works for his money to support a family he just could not listen to me. Maybe I planted a seed that will sprout down the road? One of the things perhaps contributing to his relative inability to fathom this is this coworker is in a superior role, has lots of stuff, and I am not flashy nor do I show signs of wealth.

My coworker will likely end up with hundreds of thousands dollars less than he could otherwise. He will reap what he sows. But he will be better off than those that dont invest.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by RadAudit »

OK. I don't read Consumer Report; but, you made me read the article. Without it becoming a puff piece for Vanguard, there seems to be enough "bread crumbs" to lead a reader to take a look at VG.
Vanguard Leads in Satisfaction
Among small investors, Vanguard and Dodge & Cox, were rated more favorably than 60 of the 67 rival firms.
Vanguard beat out each of the other 30 firms in our Ratings and is the only one to get a top mark for returns on investments.
However, the pool from which they drew the survey seems a little un-BHish.
Respondents to our survey told us that:

*They seek and receive personal advice from a finance professional in only 43 percent of all cases;

*Active trades are relatively uncommon, executed in only 36 percent of all accounts; and

*One-quarter (25 percent) of all investment portfolios are largely risk-adverse, containing only non-indexed mutual funds or IRAs.
Large number of non-DIY, active traders, and folks using non-indexed mutual funds. It's rather amazing Vanguard did as well as it did with that group. Maybe robo-advisors would at least get them into index funds.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by bottlecap »

The Internet is killing it. The last microwave I had that was bought based on CR's recommendation died at 14 months. The Internet knew it was junk, but CR said it was the top rated model. I guess they mean it's the best just for the short time that it works.

There is an art to deciphering the true from the false on the Internet, but it's free, immediate, and possible to do.

Their increasing injection of "politics" probably didn't help subscriber rates, but the fact of the matter is that it's of limited value, costs money, and you have to wait until they decide to review the product you want.

The Internet beats that.

JT
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by student »

bottlecap wrote:The Internet is killing it. The last microwave I had that was bought based on CR's recommendation died at 14 months. The Internet knew it was junk, but CR said it was the top rated model. I guess they mean it's the best just for the short time that it works.

There is an art to deciphering the true from the false on the Internet, but it's free, immediate, and possible to do.

Their increasing injection of "politics" probably didn't help subscriber rates, but the fact of the matter is that it's of limited value, costs money, and you have to wait until they decide to review the product you want.

The Internet beats that.

JT
+1
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by carolinaman »

I am a longtime CR subscriber and will continue to be. Not everything they do is great but overall I think they provide good, objective product ratings and information. Using the internet for objective product information is risky and not totally trustworthy. At least with CR, you know they are objective and not beholden to advertisers nor a stuffed ballot box. I am a little amazed at the negativity of this thread.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by coachz »

My mom bought CR for me for about 10 years. It just kept coming. I kept reading it but I found my purchases and experiences didn't match up with their reviews. I found items they rated very highly I was often not impressed with. For example High Efficiency washing machines. They didn't even review the SpeedQueen in the issue I read on washers and my own research found it superior to the others out there.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by c078342 »

TravelGeek wrote:
c078342 wrote:Never paid any attention to Communist Reports -- they have no soul, no joie de vivre. At one point I saw them, in effect, say that sure bacon tastes good, but it's fatty and you have no need to eat it. They view cars as strictly utilitarian and find no enthusiasm in driving a car because it's fun to drive.
Is that why they gave the Tesla Model S such a high rating?
Tesla fits within their green narrative nicely
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by bertilak »

c078342 wrote:
TravelGeek wrote:
c078342 wrote:Never paid any attention to Communist Reports -- they have no soul, no joie de vivre. At one point I saw them, in effect, say that sure bacon tastes good, but it's fatty and you have no need to eat it. They view cars as strictly utilitarian and find no enthusiasm in driving a car because it's fun to drive.
Is that why they gave the Tesla Model S such a high rating?
Tesla fits within their green narrative nicely
+1

Many years ago I dropped CR when I found their recommendations leaned heavily towards their social goals at the expense of actual useful information. Example:
  • Basing their ENTIRE lawnmower recommendation on the mowers' adherence to an upcoming safety regulation (auto shutoff). I and everyone I knew with a lawnmower managed without that for years. The review flatly rejected any lawnmower without that feature as unacceptable. No discussion of reliability, durability, usability, power, effectiveness, convenience.

    They were early cheerleaders for the nanny state.
Another oddity:
  • All hi-fi systems have equivalent sound quality. Don't waste money of high-end equipment. It was probably not that drastic, but leaned in that direction.
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TravelGeek
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by TravelGeek »

c078342 wrote:
TravelGeek wrote:
c078342 wrote:Never paid any attention to Communist Reports -- they have no soul, no joie de vivre. At one point I saw them, in effect, say that sure bacon tastes good, but it's fatty and you have no need to eat it. They view cars as strictly utilitarian and find no enthusiasm in driving a car because it's fun to drive.
Is that why they gave the Tesla Model S such a high rating?
Tesla fits within their green narrative nicely
Shrug. I guess I should have expected such a reply when you referred to them as "Communist Review".
keystone
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by keystone »

daveydoo wrote: OP here. My focus was this recent "Investment Company" report that I thought was terrible, misleading, and frankly pandering to segments of the industry/lobby. To not caution against advisors that direct clients to load funds with high ERs in exchange for shared revenue is either dreadful "research" or cowardice. I didn't intend this as a referendum on CR as a whole; that said, I agree with a lot that has been posted, and I've been a lifelong fan of CR.
+1

The "Investment Company" report was quite a disservice to its readers in that they only presented customer satisfaction and did not address the high fees and excessive transactions that one might expect from some of the firms near the top of the list.

That said, I still find enough value in CR to continue my subscription. The long term reliability data for cars is something that I find very useful and it's about as objective as you can get.

On the other hand, like several other posters I am starting to notice what I refer to as the "review gap." The review gap is when CR rates a product one way, but the reviews on sites like Amazon reflect it another way. I've noticed this several times recently and CR just seems like they are losing their touch. I've had good luck recently choosing products that received poor ratings on CR and high ratings on Amazon so I no longer trust CR as my go to source.

And the Tesla perfect score was really annoying, for reasons mentioned on this and other threads.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by Da5id »

TravelGeek wrote:
c078342 wrote:
TravelGeek wrote:
c078342 wrote:Never paid any attention to Communist Reports -- they have no soul, no joie de vivre. At one point I saw them, in effect, say that sure bacon tastes good, but it's fatty and you have no need to eat it. They view cars as strictly utilitarian and find no enthusiasm in driving a car because it's fun to drive.
Is that why they gave the Tesla Model S such a high rating?
Tesla fits within their green narrative nicely
Shrug. I guess I should have expected such a reply when you referred to them as "Communist Review".
I think this was widely believed at the time, and they later lowered the rating. e.g. http://www.consumerreports.org/cars/tes ... rformance/

I think it is fair enough to say they have a left of center agenda. I used to be a subscriber, and bailed not because of that agenda but just because my perception of the value/quality of the magazine dropped over time. I in particular found their reviews were not of current products, and weren't timely enough...
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Ninegrams »

I gave up on CR after they priced an "economy DIY" kitchen remodel( 150 sq. ft) at 12K. Seriously though, there's a lot of fluff in their reviews now and hard to take very seriously a lot of it. Should the "need" to read a review of theirs ever arise, there's always the public library.
TravelGeek
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by TravelGeek »

Da5id wrote: I in particular found their reviews were not of current products, and weren't timely enough...
Product release cycles for many products seem to be getting shorter and shorter. I remember a few years ago I was looking into getting a new laptop, and by the time I had worked out from various sources (online reviews, online forums, ...) the perfect new model for me it had already been discontinued and replaced with a slightly different new one.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that the appliances I bought new last year are no longer offered.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by barnaclebob »

soboggled wrote:The problem is internet reviews can't be believed. Full of fraudulent reviews by fake consumers. At least CR is objective, if often wrong. The biggest problem is they come up with a rating but don't reveal the algorithm so you could adjust it to fit your tastes.
Its pretty easy to determine which good and bad reviews are fake online. Looking at the distribution on amazon also says a lot.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by soboggled »

barnaclebob wrote:
soboggled wrote:The problem is internet reviews can't be believed. Full of fraudulent reviews by fake consumers. At least CR is objective, if often wrong. The biggest problem is they come up with a rating but don't reveal the algorithm so you could adjust it to fit your tastes.
Its pretty easy to determine which good and bad reviews are fake online. Looking at the distribution on amazon also says a lot.
It is? Please educate me.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by barnaclebob »

soboggled wrote:
barnaclebob wrote:
soboggled wrote:The problem is internet reviews can't be believed. Full of fraudulent reviews by fake consumers. At least CR is objective, if often wrong. The biggest problem is they come up with a rating but don't reveal the algorithm so you could adjust it to fit your tastes.
Its pretty easy to determine which good and bad reviews are fake online. Looking at the distribution on amazon also says a lot.
It is? Please educate me.
I'd need a specific example but in general the negative and neutral reviews are what to look at first. Good bad reviews will substantiate what is wrong vs just saying its a crap product. Weed out reviews like "1 star, my cast iron pot rusted when I let it soak overnight"
Da5id
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you?

Post by Da5id »

barnaclebob wrote: I'd need a specific example but in general the negative and neutral reviews are what to look at first. Good bad reviews will substantiate what is wrong vs just saying its a crap product. Weed out reviews like "1 star, my cast iron pot rusted when I let it soak overnight"
I have to say, what I first look for is quantity of reviews. Much easier to game/shill something if there are 3 reviews. I like that Amazon (at least supposedly) tags the verified purchasers too. Quantity isn't proof, but it helps.

But yes, studying the well written negatives is a good tactic as well...
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Jack56 »

I gave up on CR a few years ago. Too much political stuff and propaganda that is irrelevant to why i used to read it. It also seemed to me that a lot of their reviews were inaccurate and you could now evaluate most products on line for free.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Munir »

Many of the negative comments above about CR complain of perceived "politics" of the organization. I wonder how much that has contributed to the negativity of the comments in contrast to just poor quality of the the content.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Da5id »

Munir wrote:Many of the negative comments above about CR complain of perceived "politics" of the organization. I wonder how much that has contributed to the negativity of the comments in contrast to just poor quality of the the content.
Don't think it is. Their politics are largely not mine. But that hasn't changed much over the years I think, and I was a subscriber for quite a long time. I always appreciated the fact that they didn't have advertisers and were independent. I believe most printed periodical content has suffered a decline of readership/revenue and quality has fallen across the board -- most newspapers and magazines are really suffering. Like most media providers, CR hasn't made the digital leap all that well.

But more than anything, I think the failure of CR is that the world moves faster. Product generations, even for clunky things like appliances, seem shorter, and more than ever CR seems to be reviewing things I don't see in stores...
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by TomatoTomahto »

keystone wrote:And the Tesla perfect score was really annoying, for reasons mentioned on this and other threads.
I was a subscriber, let it lapse, renewed, and have given them their last chance, which they flunked.

When I look at reviews on things I know something about (investment companies, HDTV, audio equipment, Tesla, etc), they usually flunk it. I am a Tesla fanboy, and believe it is the safest mass production vehicle, but it is not now, nor was it then, perfect. Their later recommendation, that AutoPilot be turned off, was a disservice to drivers and gave in to media hysteria.

It's too bad.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by bertilak »

Munir wrote:Many of the negative comments above about CR complain of perceived "politics" of the organization. I wonder how much that has contributed to the negativity of the comments in contrast to just poor quality of the the content.
Pushing a political agenda at the expense of objective reporting IS poor quality, so there is no wonder it generates complaints.

There is a tendency for people not to see politics where the politics on display agree with their own. We all have that tendency. I know I do, but I accept that some of my opinions are political and don't deny it with "scare" quotes.
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet
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Munir
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Re: Consumer Reports, how could you? [Investment Company Buying Guide]

Post by Munir »

bertilak wrote:
Munir wrote:Many of the negative comments above about CR complain of perceived "politics" of the organization. I wonder how much that has contributed to the negativity of the comments in contrast to just poor quality of the the content.
Pushing a political agenda at the expense of objective reporting IS poor quality, so there is no wonder it generates complaints.

There is a tendency for people not to see politics where the politics on display agree with their own. We all have that tendency. I know I do, but I accept that some of my opinions are political and don't deny it with "scare" quotes.
Bertilak: I do not understand the last phrase in your post "and don't deny it with scare quotes". I don't know what you are referring to.
My point was that I would like to judge a publication that recommends a product such as a refrigerator on the merits of the article's content in making that recommendation and not on what I choose to believe are the publication's political leanings. At least, I hope I can differentiate between those two spheres when I'm deciding whether or not I trust the recommendation about the product. I was questioning whether some people do not or cannot separate the two areas, and thus make a judgment not based on non-political hard facts in the article but on the perceived political leanings of the publication.
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