Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization that conducts unbiased testing of consumer products. They publish these test results and issue ratings on a broad range of products. These ratings take into consideration such factors as safety, durability, pricing and reliability.
Consumer Reports was founded in 1936. Its original channel of communication with the public was its Consumer Reports magazine. It has since expanded its information distribution network to include two websites and a consumer advocacy group known as the Consumers Union.
Each year, the organization tests thousands of products. For these tests, Consumer Reports operates 50 testing laboratories in addition to a 327-acre automotive testing facility.
Consumer Reports has had success in effecting change in the marketplace on many occasions. Some of its landmark moments include advocating for better seat belts and pushing for a set of federal standards. A report generated by the organization's consumer advocacy unit was used as part of the foundation for the 1964 Surgeon General's warning regarding the dangers of smoking. More recently, Consumer Reports has been active in lobbying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for improved standards regarding vehicle rollover tests by the federal government.
In addition to the its direct product testing teams, Consumer Reports also has a team of anonymous shoppers throughout the country for the purpose of testing and grading the product acquisition experience.