How Consumer Reports Could Get My Money

I’ve used Consumer Reports exactly once in my life, several years ago when researching used cars. It’s too bad I haven’t used it more often—the organization features reviews of several products I’ve recently purchased, including cameras and air conditioners.

So what’s the problem? The unfortunate fact is that Consumer Reports makes it too hard for me to pay money to read the research relevant to me. It’s especially ironic that Consumer Reports sucks at making its material available to consumers, given that helping consumers is supposed to be what the organization is all about.

Let’s take the example of air conditioners. To get the relevant information, I’m told that I need to “Subscribe now” at a rate of $30 per year or $6.95 per month.

Well, screw that. I’m not going to sign up for a long-term subscription that I then have to think about and manage just to spend five minutes to learn about air conditioners.

What I did instead is just rely on whatever free reviews I could scrounge up through Google searches and from Amazon customers.

It would be extremely easy for Consumer Reports to get money from me in exchange for research. Just sell me individual reports in pdf format for a few dollars. I would have happily paid five bucks for the latest Consumer Reports information on cameras and air conditioners. But apparently Consumer Reports thinks its more important to unsuccessfully attempt to bilk me out of $30 per year than to actually get $10 right now for specific reports. That’s just bad business.

I really want to pay you my hard-earned money, Consumer Reports! You need merely make it easy for me to do that.