Consumer Reports Communications Dept Response To PR Communications Questions
January New Comm. Review Published

Should Consumer Reports Apologize?

Consumer Reports holds an important position in the U.S. as an organization that is known for fair and accurate testing and reporting. The withdrawal of the car seat test results damages the credibility and reputation of the organization, even if eventually the current review of the testing procedure proves that the speeds at which the car seats were tested, it will take some time for trust to be regained I believe.

I believe the public needs some sort of apology from Consumer Reports, the withdrawal while an admission that something was wrong with the initial report, does not address the issue that mistakes were made and there are problems with Consumer Reports testing procedures, the issue strikes at the very heart of the power of the Consumer Reports brand, the credibility of its testing and reporting. The head of the organization needs to address this issue with the public and issue an apology, quickly, and also detail the steps that are being taken to address the issues with regular updates.

This is definitely a crisis communications problem and one of perception, while many consumers are thinking about the higher crash test speeds, many more are still focused on Consumer Reports reputation. To move forward Consumer Reports needs to address the credibility issues, and then I think raise the issue of increasing the speeds at which child car seats are tested. If the original report had sought to raise the standards of car seat crash tests with the national averages for car crashes I am sure the public would have welcomed the debate.