Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't Subscribe to Consumer Reports

A time-wasting experience with a product recommended by Consumer Reports was the last straw. The first straw? It probably landed on my back years ago, but I was too besotted by the idea of an "independent" testing service to pay attention to it.

Over the years, however, I have noticed that CR's advice in areas about which I know something (e.g., retirement planning) is pure pablum. That should have been a tip-off. Another tip-off should have been CR's embrace of "greenness" and other Left-wing causes. But I kept on subscribing. After all, it costs less than $40 a year to receive CR's "wisdom" via print and the web.

Worse, I heeded CR's advice from time to time. Thus the second-to-last straw: CR's ratings of exterior house paints. I bought, at great expense, the highest-rated paint available in my area. A third of a house later my painting contractor informed me that the "liquid gold" I bought is thin gruel. Thanks to my contractor -- and no thanks to CR -- I wasted "only" $600 before switching to a different brand of paint. If my contractor hadn't blown the whistle, I would have wasted about $2,000.

The bottom line: I have canceled my print and web subscriptions to CR. It joins AARP on my long list of phony, worse-than-useless, overrated (pun intended), Left-leaning organizations that enjoy tax-exempt status (at taxpayers' expense).

CR claims to warn consumers against rip-off schemes. Well, it takes one to know one.