Protection of Information
Consumer Reports surveys consumers to understand their experiences with products and services they use and their views on various consumer issues for the purposes described below. We address information collected through participation in these consumer surveys separately because we treat these survey responses differently.
Consumer Reports conducts consumer surveys using our own research staff or through research firms we hire. Because Consumer Reports tests and reports on products sold in the U.S. and Canada, our consumer surveys are intended for residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Our consumer surveys are conducted by phone and in electronic formats. We store survey data securely and retain it beyond the initial publication of results so that we can track trends over time.
When you participate in one of our consumer surveys, we ask for a variety of information – some of which constitutes personally identifying information about you or your family, including: (1) demographic information, such as your age, gender, and geographic location, and other information about you; (2) your experiences with products and services; and (3) your views and opinions on various topics.
The following principles govern our use of the information we collect through these consumer surveys:
First, your survey responses will be used in combination with those of other survey respondents to produce information designed to help consumers in today’s marketplace, including our own efforts to provide better products and services to consumers, and to move the marketplace in ways that protect and empower consumers. Aggregated survey information is used to develop content for our editorial reporting.
We use aggregated and de-identified individual-level survey information to support engagement and advocacy efforts to influence legislative and regulatory bodies, and other important marketplace actors, working to get them to do more to protect consumers from unsafe, risky, or poorly performing products and services.
We may also provide aggregated and de-identified individual-level survey information to government agencies, policymakers, researchers, manufacturers, and other third parties to aid research and drive change in the marketplace on behalf of consumers consistent with our organizational mission.
In certain circumstances, CR may be compensated when we share this data, or obtain access to another party’s datasets, research findings or other materials. There can be value in including in the shared dataset a consumer’s verbatim survey responses, for example, to illustrate a specific problem with a product. CR obtains the survey respondent’s consent to share his or her verbatim survey responses, with the understanding that CR will not share the respondent’s name or any other identifying information.
Your survey responses that identify you will remain confidential to Consumer Reports (and our agents and service providers) and will be used only for such research, product and advocacy purposes in a manner that does not identify you, unless you expressly agree otherwise.
Consumer Reports currently retains your survey responses to analyze product reliability, satisfaction, and usability over time and to avoid asking you the same questions in subsequent surveys. For example, if you have already answered questions about a product you own, we may later ask whether you still own that product and whether you have encountered problems with it since you previously reported on it in our Quarterly Questionnaires.
There are two general exceptions to these principles concerning when and how we contact you:
(1) As part of our quality control efforts, if you participate in a survey, you may be contacted by Consumer Reports or its agents to validate that you did take part in the survey; and
(2) Our researchers may follow up with you based on your specific answers to a survey. For example, if you tell us you have a particular car model and we have additional questions about that car, we may select you to participate in a second survey. If you do not wish to receive follow-up contacts, you can opt out of receiving survey-related communications from us. If you opt out, you will not receive any follow up questions about past surveys and you will also not receive any more consumer surveys described in this section from us.
For some surveys we may contract with other companies to issue survey invitations on our behalf, host surveys for us, or to perform other information-gathering, processing, and validation-related services. We provide these companies only with the information they need to perform their services.
If you opt out of receiving survey communications from us, please allow up to 10 business days from the time you contact us for your opt out to take effect. During that time you may continue to receive communications from us that were already in process.
To opt out from receiving consumer surveys, you can follow the opt out instructions in each survey email invitation. You can also call us at 1-800-333-0663 or write to us at:
Attn: Member Support
101 Truman Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10703.
© 2022 Consumer Reports, Inc.