No Commercial Use Policy

Why it matters

Consumer Reports' No Commercial Use Policy: ensuring fair, objective, independent reviews

At Consumer Reports, we believe that objective, impartial testing, reviews and Ratings are critically important for consumers. That is why we have a strict "No Commercial Use Policy" preventing the use of our name and information for any promotional or advertising purposes. The policy helps ensure we avoid even the appearance of endorsing a particular product or service for financial gain. The policy also guarantees that consumers have access to the full context of our information and are not hearing about our findings through the language of salesmanship.

Why it's important

For consumers, our No Commercial Use Policy provides peace of mind that the information they are receiving is free of influence, bias or commercial interference.

For manufacturers, service providers and other retailers, adhering to the policy bolsters their own reputation for honesty and integrity. Our more than eight million subscribers to our information products and services recognize and support our organization because it allows them to make their own purchasing decisions based upon expert, independent, unbiased reviews and recommendations.

Encouraging support for the policy

We take all appropriate steps to prevent promotional and advertising use of our materials, our name, or our content. We carefully monitor the use of our trademarks, as well as copyrighted material such as articles, ratings and reviews, in order to preserve our reputation as a source of information not influenced by, or associated with, commercial interests.

Our No Commercial Use Policy has been respected by manufacturers, service providers, retailers, and other commercial interests for decades. Overwhelmingly, once they learn of our Policy, they agree to refrain from advertising or promotional use of our trademarks, Ratings, and materials. Businesses understand that if they violate our No Commercial Use Policy, it may have a serious impact on their own reputation for honesty and integrity (indeed, we have written about violations of our policy in our publications and in some cases, even encouraged consumers to write to those companies expressing their concern and disapproval.) Manufacturers, retailers and other businesses realize that adhering to our No Commercial Use Policy is in the best interest of their customers, the marketplace and their own commercial enterprise.

What you can do: Report a violation!

Our subscribers take this policy as seriously as we do, and we most often learn of violations through our readers. Many of the more than eight million subscribers to Consumer Reports' information products and services are vigilant in reporting violations of our No Commercial Use Policy. Subscribers can become understandably upset at any commercial activity that threatens to damage Consumer Reports' most precious asset - our reputation for integrity, objectivity, and lack of bias.

We encourage consumers, businesses and others to report any apparent commercial, advertising or promotional use of any Consumer Reports content, including its website, ConsumerReports.org, newsletters, Consumer Reports on Health and Consumer Reports Money Adviser, and its sister publication, ShopSmart; to do so, please click here to fill out a report.

We review every reported violation. At Consumer Reports, we are committed to ensuring our No Commercial Use Policy continues to serve consumers.

Any manufacturer, service provider, or retailer should feel free to contact us with questions about the policy at externalrelations@cr.consumer.org.

No advertising, no freebies . . . no bias

As a nonprofit organization, we are not beholden to any commercial interest. We accept no free samples, and we pay for all the products and services we test.

We also accept no advertising. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org®, and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants.

Read the policy

Consumer Reports' mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To accomplish that mission, Consumer Reports relies in large part on our reputation for independence, integrity, and impartiality. Consumer Reports' No Commercial Use policy is intended to preserve that reputation, and to protect our rights as a publisher and information provider.

The policy is as follows

The No Commercial Use policy is included in the products and information services that Consumer Reports sells or otherwise distributes. The policy is stated in summary form, for example, in the front of every issue of Consumer Reports® magazine, Consumer Reports on Health®, and Consumer Reports Money Adviser(TM); in our books and special interest publications; on ConsumerReports.org, ConsumersUnion.org, and our other websites; and in other products and services of Consumer Reports.

Published information from Consumer Reports, including our Ratings and Reports, is intended solely for the benefit of our subscribers and other consumers, in order to help them make informed choices and decisions about consumer products, services, and other consumer matters. Such information may not be used by others in advertising or to promote a company's product or service. In addition, this policy precludes any commercial use of any of Consumer Reports' published information in any form, or of the names of Consumers Union, Consumer Reports, or any other of Consumer Reports' publications or services, without our express written permission.

Unauthorized use of our material may violate multiple legal rights of Consumer Reports. All of Consumer Reports' products are fully protected under the United States Copyright Laws, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq., and unauthorized copying of, or quoting from, our materials is strictly prohibited. Consumer Reports® and other trademarks of our organization are federally registered trademarks. Advertising that deceptively or falsely misrepresents our findings, or that creates confusion, infringes on our rights under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C., §§1051 et seq. Such advertising may also contravene our rights under state laws prohibiting false advertising and other unfair trade practices. Furthermore, under §397 of the New York State General Business Law, the use of the names or published results of a nonprofit testing organization, such as Consumer Reports, for advertising or trade purposes is strictly prohibited without obtaining prior written consent.

If Consumer Reports learns that this policy has been violated, it will take all steps necessary to prevent the misuse of its names or of any of its materials, including legal action where appropriate.

October 2011

Related articles

The No Commercial Use Policy is often featured in our publications and online. The policy guarantees that consumers have access to the full context of our information and are not hearing about our findings through the language of salesmanship.

The full story

From our president
Consumer Reports magazine: November 2011

Why Consumer Reports has a no-commercial-use policy

September 12, 2011