In the early 1970s, I quit my job and traveled to many parts of the world, engaging with different people, cultures, and living standards. Flying home across the Pacific, I realized what I would do with the rest of my life.
I was thinking about how most people believe that large, powerful institutions are exploiting them, and often, they’re right, and I wanted to do something about it. So began a career path that led me to Consumer Reports.
People far too often are still being exploited by large, powerful institutions, but years of work by consumer groups—Consumer Reports among them—have given them a voice and access to critical information that once was hidden.
The more you know. Consumer Reports believes that the more good information you have, the less you’ll pay, the healthier and safer you’ll be, and the smarter choices you’ll make. That’s why we’ve worked so hard for up-front disclosure of terms and fees for banking products, accessible databases of problem products, Ratings of hospitals, and greater transparency generally. Yes, there’s a glut of information now, and it can be a burden to wade through it. But tapping reliable sources with current information can mean the difference between a good decision and a bad one.
Do tell. You’re the source of much of that critical information, and we hope you’ll speak up even more. Your reports to saferproducts.gov help the government and manufacturers investigate hazardous products; your complaints to consumerfinance.gov about financial products help the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its goal to see that consumers are being treated fairly; and your reports to nhtsa.gov about car problems help the government determine whether a safety defect exists.
Finally, your experiences are invaluable to Consumer Reports. When the White House wanted to include consumers in a press conference on health care, for example, they turned to us, and we turned to our database of stories. Three of you were invited to stand with the president as he made his address. Talk about impact. To share your story, go to www.stori.es.
Editor's Note: This article appeared in the December 2013 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
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