When it comes to issues of auto
, Consumer Reports is the dominant authority for car buyers. But who gave
Consumer Reports all that sway? Douglas
at 24/7 Wall St. questions the public perception that the 600-person Consumers Union is infallible at testing, evaluating and reporting on auto defects. The strange thing, McIntyre notes, is that "no organizations monitor the
monitor." In other words, the "Consumers Union does not have another group that
audits its results."
test dozens of cars and light trucks each year. That means only a
moderate time can be given to each set of tests. Tests are prone to
error, even those done by government and universities. ... Perhaps every report that the CU has ever issued on every product is
test was perfect. But, batting 1,000 is impossible when the tests
involve the perception of the tester no matter how skilled they may be.
Is this huge amount of power deserved? Or is it
unwise to concentrate this sort of power in the hands of one company?
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
jkeller at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.