Consumer Reports Report Faulty
The Associated Press reported today that Consumer Reports has retracted a recently published study on infant car seats. The magazine, which provides consumer information through ratings reports and product reviews, originally reported in its February issue that most of the infant car seats it crash-tested “failed miserably” at speeds as low as 35 mph. The study was withdrawn after the magazine learned from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the tests had reportedly been conducted at speeds representing twice that amount.
A statement released by Consumers Union says that it will be reviewing how the test was performed and will be issuing a new report with revisions as soon as possible. “Our tests were intended to simulate side crashes at the NCAP speed of 38 mph. The new information raises a question about whether the tests accurately simulated that speed, however, so we are now reviewing our tests and the resulting article,” the statement said.
This is not the first time the magazine has had a report challenged. Sharper Image filed a lawsuit against Consumers Union in 2003 over negative reviews on its Ionic Breeze air purifier. A U.S. district court in California dismissed the suit in 2004, reportedly causing Sharper Image to pay Consumers Union $525,000 in legal fees.
And, as an illustration of how impactful the magazine’s reports can be, it released a follow-up study on air purifiers in 2005 that once again faulted the Sharper Image product, triggering the company’s shares to fall 9 percent.