Consumer Reports Privacy Policy: Your Privacy Rights

 

Jump To:

 

Last modified: September 6, 2017 (View Archived Versions)

What’s new?

Consumer Reports has updated the Privacy Policy that applies to our family of digital services, print publications, our other products, services and programs, and our associated websites, applications and digital tools.  This Privacy Policy also governs our consumer policy and mobilization activities and the Consumerist website.  

Please click here if you would like more information about the updates to our Privacy Policy.

 

Consumer Reports is the independent, nonprofit testing and research organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world.  Consumer Reports and its corporate affiliates (which we refer to in this policy as “CR”, “we” or “us”) publish our organization’s privacy principles and apply them to the way in which we treat your information.  

This Privacy Policy describes the types of information we collect about you, how your information may be used, when it may be disclosed, how it is protected, and how you can control the use and disclosure of your information.

This Privacy Policy covers the Consumer Reports family of digital services, print publications and our other products, services and programs, and associated online and mobile websites, applications and digital tools (including those related to our consumer policy and mobilization activities) that refer to or provide an authorized link to this Privacy Policy (collectively "CR Publications, Services and Programs").

This Privacy Policy applies to information collected about you and your devices when you engage with us.

Information you give us
When you purchase a subscription from us or otherwise engage with CR, you may give us different types of information.

This information can include your:

  • Contact information, including name, email address, mailing address, telephone number, and mobile number
  • User name (which may be your email address) and password
  • Photograph
  • Billing information, subscription preferences and payment card (credit or debit) information where needed for payment
  • Information about yourself and your household, including demographic information (e.g., age, gender, geographic location)
  • Your experiences with specific consumer products and services, including product models you own
  • Your experiences with various consumer issues
  • Your opinions and actions on various topics and consumer policy issues
  • In certain circumstances, the name of your employer or the organization with which you volunteer or are affiliated

  • You may also elect to give us limited information about others, for example, the name and address of someone to whom you give a subscription to one of our publications. That information will be protected according to this Privacy Policy.

    Information collected automatically
    We and our service providers collect certain information automatically about your online activities through technical means, including through the use of cookies, web beacons, and other technologies. This information may include the following:
  • Standard server log information, which is data generated automatically by the computer servers that host our digital publications when users visit them. This information may include your Internet Protocol (IP) address (which is a unique numerical address that identifies your device when you access the Internet), your browser and device type, operating system, name of your Internet service provider, date and time of your visit, and addresses of the websites you access before and after you visit a Consumer Reports website.
  • Geo-location information, which is information about your real-world location at a given time based on latitude and longitude. Geo-location information may comprise your general geographic area or more precise information about your street-level location. This information may be collected directly from your computer depending on how your settings are configured, or may be provided in other ways, for example, in the metadata of photographs you send to us that describe the time and place the photo was taken. Your IP address can also be used to derive your general geographic area at a city or postal code level. Our online and mobile websites, applications and digital tools may collect precise information about your computer’s or device’s geographic location. If your computer or device is equipped with GPS or can connect with wireless access points or hot spots, or if your device is also a phone that communicates with cell towers or satellites, then your computer or device is able to use these features to determine its precise geographic location. If you have consented, the geographic location of your computer or device will be transmitted to CR in real time in accordance with the privacy settings you have set. Once you set your computer or device to transmit its location information to us, it will continue to transmit its location information to us until you set it to no longer do so. You may at any time opt out from further allowing us to have access to your computer’s or device’s precise location information via the privacy settings on your computer or device.
  • Information about your interactions with our content, Consumer Reports ads and communications, including the areas you visit on CR digital services and which of our Consumer Reports ads and content you see on other organizations’ websites (such as the Consumer Reports Facebook page) and whether you open email messages from us or click on Consumer Reports ads served by our ad partners when you visit other websites on which our ads appear.
  • Device information, including the device type you use to access our digital services, your device’s operating system, and unique device identifier information, which is a unique alphanumeric character string associated with an individual user’s smartphone or similar handheld device.

  • Information we obtain from other sources
    We may collect additional information about you from other sources to supplement, correct and validate the information you provide to us directly, to personalize content and activities for you, and to generally improve your experience with CR Publications, Services and Programs. These sources, whose practices are governed by their own privacy policies, include organizations with which we have a business relationship to provide products and services to you, publicly available data sources such as open government databases, and commercial data sources.
    Examples of the type of additional information we may collect include:
  • Updated mailing address
  • Demographic data (age, gender, general income bracket, children in household)
  • Updated payment card information
  • Information about your interests (e.g., pets, sports, travel, cars)
  • Information about products and services you access through our business partners
  • From social media/networking sources like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn we may also obtain your social media profile (including user name, bio, and location) and your engagement with our content, for example, comments or likes on the Consumer Reports Facebook page. If your Twitter profile is public, we may collect information about your public Twitter activities.
    The information we collect from social media sources depends on what individuals choose to make public, their privacy settings within their social media accounts and the social media source’s privacy policy, which we encourage you to read carefully.
  • For certain of our consumer policy and mobilization activities, your legislative district information

  • Use of Information
    The information we collect is used for a variety of purposes. These include:

  • Administering and processing transactions for CR Publications, Services and Programs;
  • CR’s marketing, communications and fundraising purposes, including: management of contests, sweepstakes and other initiatives; serving our Consumer Reports ads; and providing you with information about products and services that may be of interest to you, including services and benefits from our business partners;
  • Consumer policy and mobilization activities, such as running campaigns on consumer policy issues, and informing our efforts to recruit, train and connect our consumer activists;
  • Editorial and survey purposes to inform our testing, reporting, and consumer policy and mobilization activities;
  • Personalizing and customizing the CR Publications, Services and Programs for those who engage with us so as to provide you with a richer, more relevant experience tailored to what interests you;
  • Contacting you regarding your use of our CR Publications, Services and Programs and matters that affect you;
  • Responding to your requests and comments;
  • Updating and maintaining the accuracy of our information about you;
  • Analyzing, testing, securing and improving CR Publications, Services and Programs and other work we do; and
  • Providing others with your information for the limited purposes described in this Privacy Policy.

  • Combining Information
    We may match the information we collect from you directly with the information we receive about you from other sources, and use such information along with information from other sources.

    When You Make It Public
    Personal information you submit to a CR publication or elect to post in a public area of a digital service is and remains public. And because of the way the Internet works, it is likely public forever. If you submit user reviews, those submissions may also be shared by us with other websites or we may provide links to your submissions from other websites. You may also choose to share information about yourself and your experience on our websites, such as the content you view, with third-party social networking sites. Please keep this in mind when deciding what information you want to share publicly. If you don’t want people to know your name, email address, or other information that identifies you personally, do not include that information in your public posts. Additionally, please go to the Choice/Opt-Out section to learn more about how you can opt out of certain of our information-sharing practices.

    Sharing With Our Affiliates
    We may share your information among our corporate affiliates, which currently include Consumers Union Action Fund, Inc., a 501(c)(4) nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, and Consumer Media LLC, a non-profit entity that owns the Consumerist website.

    Sharing for Consumer Policy and Mobilization Purposes
    When you participate in one of our consumer policy campaigns, for example, by signing a petition or sending a message to policy decision-makers or corporations, we pass along to the petition or message recipient certain of your personal information with your message, including your first and last name, street address and email address.

    If you have shared information about yourself and your experiences with a particular consumer product, service or consumer issue, we may also share certain personal information such as your first name and state when disclosing your experiences to policymakers, fellow consumers and groups and the media (unless you have asked us to keep your first name and state private).

    Sharing For Fundraising Purposes
    We may share donor information among our affiliates. We may also share certain donor data (such as full name, mailing address and donation information, but excluding your email address, telephone number(s) and any financial account information) with other organizations.

    Please note:
    If you became a customer of Consumer Reports before January 3, 2013, and make a donation directly to Consumer Reports, none of the information from that donation will be rented or exchanged with any company or organization other than the Consumers Union Action Fund.

    Sharing For Marketing Purposes
    We may share certain information about you with other companies that offer products or services through direct-mail and other channels if you purchased or subscribed to one of our print publications on or after August 1, 2014. If you prefer not to receive these offers, you can opt out. To do so, please go to Choice/Opt Out for instructions.

    Please note that if you are an existing customer before August 1, 2014, and subscribe to Consumer Reports magazine or our print newsletters or purchase any of our print publications either by mail, phone, or online, we may exchange or rent your name and mailing address (but not your email address) with other companies that offer products or services through direct-mail. We screen all such offers and strive to select trustworthy, reputable companies who offer high quality products or services of interest to you. Each mailing list exchange or rental limits the recipient company's use to one promotional effort only. If you prefer not to receive these offers, please go to Choice/Opt Out for instructions.

    Sharing With Business Partners
    Our business partners are third parties with whom CR teams up to offer you certain products and services, such as car-buying services available through our website(s). You may be asked to provide information about yourself in order to obtain these products and services. When you do so, your information is shared with both CR and the business partner(s), and may be governed by the user agreement and privacy policy of both CR and our business partner(s). CR may share information about you with our business partners to fulfill your request for products and services, and our business partners may share certain information about you with us that you provide to them when you use its products and services.

    Sharing With Service Providers
    We may share your information with third-party service providers who help us with specialized services, such as payment processing, customer support, shipping, mail and e-mail distribution, mobile messaging, website and database hosting, monitoring of user reviews and ratings, digital publishing, analytics, promotions management, surveys, and mobile payment processing. We provide these companies only with the information they need to perform their services. For mobile payment processing, the mobile payment service providers will provide your information to your mobile telephone service provider to bill you.

    We authorize certain service providers to use certain aggregated, anonymous information derived from data collected when you use the products and services they support on our behalf. They do so for their business purposes, such as to report on usage or industry trends to their customer base, and in accordance with their privacy policies.

    Promotional Offers, Sweepstakes, or Contests
    If you choose to enter a sweepstakes, contest or other promotion, your information may be disclosed to third parties who help design, administer and implement the promotion, including in connection with winner selection, prize fulfillment and aggregated data analysis. Your information also may be disclosed as required by law, such as on a winners list.

    Substantial Corporate Transactions
    We may share your information in connection with a substantial corporate transaction, which may include the sale of one or more of our businesses, a merger, the creation of a separate business to provide certain of our products and services, or in the unlikely event of bankruptcy.

    We may also share your information in connection with a transaction in which CR seeks financing, investment, support, or funding.

    If we engage in any of these types of transactions, your information will be subject to our privacy policy in effect prior to the time of the transfer of that information.

    We will notify you if we transfer ownership or control of your personally identifiable information to an unaffiliated third party in connection with a substantial corporate transaction.

    Legal Requirements
    We may access, preserve, and disclose your information if we believe that we are required to do so by applicable law, such as to comply with a search warrant, court order, subpoena, or requests from law enforcement, to enforce our legal rights, or to defend against legal claims.

    Protect Our Websites and Users
    We may also disclose your information to investigate, prevent or take action regarding suspected illegal activities, including fraud, or any violation of CR’s applicable User Agreement or to protect and defend the legal rights, safety, and property of CR and our employees, agents and contractors (including to enforce our agreements) or in connection with any safety or security concerns, including the personal safety of our users and the public.

    Information Collected by Third Parties
    When you visit our digital services, third parties we work with (such as ad networks that serve CR ads, analytics companies and social networking platforms), may collect or receive information through cookies, web beacons, mobile ad identifiers, and other technologies about your online activities over time and across CR’s digital services and other online services, for example, information about your interactions with our ads, our content and the websites you visit.

    The information they collect about you on our digital services may be aggregated with data these companies collect about you across different websites, online services (including social media services), and your associated devices. These third parties use your information for their business purposes and in accordance with their own privacy policies.

    As a non-profit organization engaged in ongoing consumer product testing, news reporting and consumer advocacy, we often engage with consumers like you online and through other communication channels. Your feedback and involvement are critical to our work on your behalf.

    We want to give you control over how we use your information.

    Here’s how to opt-out of receiving communications from us:

    Opting out of email communications (promotional, email newsletters, Ratings alerts and consumer policy and mobilization communications)

    If you subscribe to any CR publication (like Consumer Reports magazine) or digital service (like the Consumer Reports website), participate in our programs, or sign up for Ratings Alerts or email newsletters, we may send you promotional emails about our other products and services or to ask you about your experience.

    If you register to receive consumer policy and mobilization communications or take action on a consumer issue, we may send you email communications about other Consumer Reports services, products and programs, or to ask you about your experiences.

    Opting out online
    You can opt out of receiving these email communications from us by following the instructions and links provided at the bottom of each email. If you use this method, you will stop receiving promotional emails only from the line of business or business unit that sent you the message.

    If you are a subscriber to one of our paid products or services, or participate in certain of our programs you can manage your email communication preferences on your personal account page by clicking here.

    If you wish to change your preferences for policy and mobilization email, click here.

    Opting out by telephone
    You may also opt out of receiving these email communications by calling us at 1-800-333-0663.

    Please allow up to 10 business days for changes to your email preferences to take effect. During that time, you may continue to receive email communications from us that were already in process.

    Please note that opting out of receiving email or other communications will not affect your receipt of service-related communications such as those relating to your account, order confirmations, renewal/expiration notices, and payment card notifications.

    Opting out of postal mail promotional communications
    If you subscribe to any of our paid products and services or to any of our email newsletters, we may send you by postal mail promotional materials about our other products and services. If you purchase or subscribe to one of our print publications, we may also share your postal mail contact information with third parties for their marketing purposes as described above under Sharing For Marketing Purposes.

    Opting Out Online
    If you do not want us to send you these promotional mailings or to share your contact information with third parties, please click here to manage your postal mail preferences.

    Opting out by calling or writing
    You can also call us at 1-800-333-0663 or write to us at:
    Consumer Reports
    Attn: Opt Out Preference Center
    PO Box 2109
    Harlan, IA 51593

    If you are writing to us, please include your full name and street address and specify which type of promotional postal communications you no longer wish to receive.

    Opting out through the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
    If you live in the United States, you may also opt out of receiving promotional communications through the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Canadian residents may visit the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) web site to be removed from marketing lists used by Canadian Marketing Association members.

    It can take up to 8 weeks for your postal mail opt out request to become effective. During that time, you may continue to receive promotional mailings that were already in process.

    Opting out of fundraising communications
    If you wish to opt out of receiving fundraising communications from us, please click here. You may also call us at 1-800-333-0663 or write to us at:
    Consumer Reports
    Fundraising Solicitations
    P. O. Box 96552
    Washington, DC 20090-6552

    If you are writing to us, please include your full name and contact information and specify whether you want to opt out of receiving postal mail, telephone and/or email fundraising solicitations from us. Please also let us know if you do not wish us to share your information with third parties as described in the Sharing For Fundraising Purposes section above.

    Because we schedule many fundraising communications in advance, it may take up to 8 weeks for an opt out request to become effective.

    Opting out of consumer surveys
    We have supplementary policies that specifically address information collected through participation in our surveys. You can stop receiving consumer surveys by following the opt out instructions in each survey email invitation. You can also stop receiving future surveys by calling us at 1-800-333-0663 or by writing to us at:
    Consumer Reports Customer Relations
    Attn: Privacy
    101 Truman Avenue
    Yonkers, NY 10703

    If you are writing to us, please include your full name and email address.

    Opting out of digital advertising
    To help maintain our independence and impartiality, we accept no outside advertising. However, we may place ads for our own products and services on our own sites and online properties, as well as on other websites and online properties you visit. Ads for CR Publications, Services and Programs may be customized to your interests and preferences based on information collected as you browse online, a practice that is often referred to as interest-based advertising. Tracking technologies like cookies and web beacons are used for these purposes. You can opt out of interest-based advertising, as well as advertising on your mobile device, by visiting TRUSTe’s Ad Preference Manager.

    Certain third parties that provide us with analytics services employ their own tracking technologies, such as cookies, when you visit our websites and other digital services. Those third parties are able to collect information about your online activities across our digital services and other websites and online services. You can opt out of data collection by some of these data providers as follows:

  • Some CR Publications, Services and Programs, including the Consumer Reports website, use Google Analytics Advertising Features and its associated tracking technologies to help display the CR ads you see on other websites, and to help us manage and optimize our online advertising efforts. To opt out of Google Analytics Advertising Features, visit Google’s Ad Settings page. Website users can also access the Google Analytics Opt Out Browser Add-on.
  • We work with Flurry Analytics to provide analytics in connection with our mobile applications. For more information about Flurry's privacy practices, please click here. To opt out of Flurry Analytics tracking used with our mobile applications click here.
  • Some CR Publications, Services and Programs, including the Consumer Reports website, use Adobe Analytics and its associated cookies to help us understand how users engage with our CR Publications, Services and Programs. To opt out of Adobe Analytics cookies on our websites, click here.

  • Do Not Track
    Some Internet browsers include the ability to transmit “Do Not Track” signals that give consumers control over the collection and use of web browsing information. Since uniform standards for “Do Not Track” signals have not yet been adopted, CR does not process or respond to such signals in users’ web browsers at this time.

    Cookies
    We or our service providers may collect tracking information through cookies. You can opt out of accepting cookies or disable them from your browser. The Help function on most browsers contains information on how you can set your browser to notify you before accepting cookies or can disable them entirely. If you opt out of cookies, you will not be able to take advantage of various features of the Consumer Reports website that are available to other users. For example, we use cookies to recognize you by name when you return to this site so you don’t have to login again and provide your password.

    If you have provided your personal information to us in an online account for a CR publication, service or program, you can access and edit that information by logging in and visiting your account here.

    If you registered to receive policy and mobilization-related communications from us, you can access and edit that information here, or click the “unsubscribe” link in any policy and mobilization-related email communication from us and follow instructions to edit your information.

    If you registered to receive emails from the Consumerist website, you can follow the links at the bottom of every email newsletter to update your information.

    For any other requests, please contact us in any of the ways described in our online Customer Care portal.

    We are committed to protecting your information. We have put in place physical, technical and administrative procedures designed to help safeguard and prevent unauthorized access and misuse of your information.

    While we endeavor to protect the security and integrity of information that we collect via our websites and other online properties, due to the inherent nature of the Internet as an open global communications vehicle, we cannot guarantee that any information, during transmission through the Internet or while stored on our systems or otherwise in our care, will be absolutely safe from intrusion by others, such as hackers.

    Visit the Protection of Information page to learn more about how the information you provide is secured.

    If you create an account on a CR website, you are responsible for maintaining the strict confidentiality of your account password and for any activity that occurs using your account credentials. Please notify us of any unauthorized use of your password or account or any other breach of security.

    CR Publications, Services and Programs are intended for general audiences and are not directed to children. If you are the parent or guardian of a child under age 13 and believe your child has provided us with his or her personal information, please contact us. You must be 18 or older to participate in certain activities, such as contests and sweepstakes.

    We maintain a presence on several social networking and blogging platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. For your information and convenience, CR’s websites and other services incorporate some third party social networking features onto CR’s websites and contain links to websites, applications and services maintained by other organizations that operate under their own privacy policies. Through these platforms, features and links, we receive some information about you. Unless otherwise indicated, this Privacy Policy does not cover any information that may be collected through another organization’s website, application or service.

    Similarly, if you purchase a CR publication or digital service or communicate with us through a company or service other than Consumer Reports (such as a magazine subscription service, online store, digital application service provider, telecommunication service provider, or social media service), then the privacy policy of that company will control any information you provide to that company. However, information that is provided by you to that company and later provided by such company to CR will be covered by this Privacy Policy.

    We encourage you to review the privacy policy of any company before submitting your personal information.

    We may change this Privacy Policy from time to time. When we do, we will let you know by posting the changed Privacy Policy on this page with a new “Effective Date.” In some cases (for example, if we significantly expand our use or sharing of your personal information), we may also tell you about changes by additional means, such as by sending an e-mail to the e-mail address we have on file for you, or other means consistent with applicable law. In some cases, we may request your consent to the changes. If you use the CR Publications, Services and Programs or other products and services after the new Effective Date, you are deemed to consent to our updated privacy policy, provided that we will obtain your affirmative consent where legally required.

    Under California law, residents of the State of California may request from us once per year and free of charge a list of all third parties to whom your personal information has been disclosed during the preceding year for those third parties' direct marketing purposes. If you are a California resident and want such a list, please submit your request in writing in one of the following two ways:

    Email us at: legaldept@consumer.org

    OR

    Write to us at:
    Consumer Reports
    Attn: Legal Department
    101 Truman Avenue
    Yonkers, NY 10703

    For all requests, you must put the statement "Your California Privacy Rights" in the subject line of your request and include the name of the CR website with respect to which you are requesting the information, as well as your name, street address, city, state, and zip code.

    If you have questions about this Privacy Policy, you can reach us in any of the ways described in our Customer Care portal.

    If you feel that we have not followed our Privacy Policy, please let us know and we will do our best to address your concerns. You may also contact:

  • The Direct Marketing Association's Committee on Ethical Business Practices at ethics@thedma.org
  • Your state or local consumer protection office
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), or
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by phone at (202) 326-2222 or online at http://www.ftc.gov.
  • Any disputes regarding this Privacy Policy are subject to the applicable User Agreement.

     

    © 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc.