Shilling at CR?

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Via HBL, I have learned that the Consumers Union has been caught, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "prostituting itself" to sell Tesla cars and the government policies that make them:

Harder to remedy, even with an overnight overhaul of its website, will be the impression that CR abused its own rating process to inflate the score for the $127,000 Tesla Model S P85D. The magazine claims the pricey Model S is so good, it "broke" CR's rating system. But it looks more like CR broke its own rating system. Hard to reconcile is a perfect score in a review where the words "glaring omission at this price" or some variation are commonplace in reference to everything from sun visors to cup holders to malfunctioning door handles. Plus the car gets only an "average" rating on reliability, which already seems generous in light of complaints from Tesla owners on enthusiast message boards.
In arguing against government regulations, I have in the past mentioned that the tasks of many regulatory agencies could be subsumed by organizations such as the Consumers Union. This incident actually strengthens that argument: That organization hasn't the power that government regulators have to fine or jail me for not following its guidelines. Rather, we can choose other advice on purchases, and the Consumers Union will repair its damaged reputation or it will eventually be supplanted.

-- CAV

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