How ConsumerAffairs Works
We want to prevent one-star experiences for consumers and brands. Our business model is set up to support this mission.
Our Business Model
Provide free resources
We spend hours researching companies, analyzing reviews and building tools to make your decision process surprisingly painless.
Encourage buyer engagement
We help brands collect reviews, respond to their customers and generate insights from feedback. Brands that choose to pay us for these tools are called Authorized Partners.
Assist your purchase
When you’re ready to purchase, we recommend an Authorized Partner(s) that meets your unique situation. We may earn money when you connect with an Authorized Partner through our website.
- Who are we?
We are a for-profit company. We are not a government agency or affiliated with any government organization. Our website offers information for consumers such as news stories, reviews and ratings from consumers, buyers guides and information on specific topics.
- How do we make money?
We offer our website for free to consumers. We make money with our Authorized Partner Program. We have an authorized partner program for businesses who in turn pay us to participate. Those who participate are our “Authorized Partners.”
We may earn money from certain businesses when you interact with them through our website (such as clicking a link on our website, filling out a form on our website, or calling a number on our website to connect with them) and/or when you make a purchase in connection with such interaction.
Here is a list of the partners we earn money from.
- What is an Authorized Partner?
Our “Authorized Partners” are businesses in a wide variety of industries who pay us to participate in our Authorized Partner Program. Here is a list of our current Authorized Partners.
- What is the ConsumerAffairs Authorized Partner Program?
ConsumerAffairs runs a program called the ConsumerAffairs Authorized Partner Program. Companies who participate in the Program -- our “Authorized Partners” -- pay us fees and receive a variety of benefits such as:
- Review collection - We enable and perform review collection for Authorized Partners.
- Reviewer information - We provide Authorized Partners with access to contact information for individuals that have provided reviews about their business.
- Data and analytics - Our platform allows Authorized Partners to access and export data and analytics, and other exportable metrics.
- Featured Reviews - Authorized partners can choose to feature 1-3 reviews on their profile which will be designated as “featured by” the company.
- Recommendations - We may recommend Authorized Partners via matching tools that appear on our website, as well as in buyers guides, and other material on our website. Business profile pages for companies that participate in our Authorized Partner Program may include additional or different types of information about those businesses than do profile pages for not yet Authorized businesses.
- How do I know if a company mentioned on your website is one of your Authorized Partners?
Authorized Partners are identified by a green shield check-mark on the website. Also, you can check the list of our Authorized Partners at any time to see if a company is Authorized. Company profile pages that do not participate in our program include the statement “This company is not yet authorized.”
- Does the ConsumerAffairs website include companies that are not Authorized Partners?
Yes. Many of the companies mentioned on our website do not participate in the Authorized Partner Program.
- How can I tell whether a company profile is about one of your Authorized Partners?
- You can recognize company profile pages for businesses that do not participate in the Authorized Partner Program because they do not have the Authorized green check shield next to their name. In addition, company profile pages for companies that do not participate in the program, include the statement "This company is not yet authorized."
- Why do some profile pages have more ratings than reviews?
Reviews are collected from consumers and summarize their experience in connection with the service or product at issue. Ratings do not have to be accompanied by a written review; therefore, some profiles may have more ratings than reviews.
- What is an “overall satisfaction rating”?
“Overall satisfaction ratings” appear at the top of profile pages for companies, whether or not they participate in the Authorized Partner Program. These ratings are based on a scale of one (1) to five (5), with five (5) being the highest possible score. A company’s “overall satisfaction rating” is a time-based weighted average numerical calculation of the ratings submitted by consumers in the most recent 12-month period if the company has received 30 or more ratings in the last 12 months. If a company has fewer than 30 ratings in the most recent 12-month period, we average all ratings received, including those from before the most recent 12-month period.
- How are reviews sorted?
Consumers can choose from the following sort options in viewing reviews on our website:
- “Top Reviews” displays the most reviews based on our algorithm that takes into account review recency, length, and other information.
- “Most Helpful” displays reviews ranked by visitors via the helpful ‘thumbs up’ symbol in descending order Helpful
- “Recent” displays reviews in order from most recent to oldest.
- “Oldest” displays reviews from oldest to most recent.
Additionally, consumers can filter reviews by rating as a secondary sort across the categories above.
- How are reviews collected?
Reviews are collected in a variety of ways. For example, consumers can submit a review to us via an online webform. See “Consumer Accounts” if you would like to learn more or click here to leave a review. As part of the Authorized Partner Program, ConsumerAffairs collects reviews for Authorized Partners through a variety of means such as via email, phone, third-party consumer panels, and social media platforms, such as Facebook.
- How long does it take for a review to be published?
All reviews go through a review “moderation” process to ensure they meet our standards. This process typically takes 24 - 72 hours. After this period, a review enters a “holding period” of 5 business days, during which the business has an opportunity to respond to the reviewer and resolve any issues before a review is posted on our website. (During this period, any company with an account, free or otherwise, can choose to forego the holding period and prompt us to publish the review before this full 5-day period has elapsed.) Even if the review is subject to such a period, the review in its original form is published on our website. Click here to read our review guidelines.
- How does your review moderation process work?
Reviews are evaluated during this process to ensure they meet our publishing standards. For example, review content is checked for issues such as typos, profanity, sensitive information, threats or an incorrect company name, to help us identify duplicate or “fake” reviews or spam. Reviews flagged as duplicates, spam, or fake are not published.
- Do you allow consumers to change their ratings or their reviews?
Yes. You can update both your rating and/or review for a company. If you wrote the review through our website, you can update the review by logging in to the ConsumerAffairs website using the same email address that was established during the original review process. Using the drop down caret next to your account name, navigate to the “Your Reviews” section where you will find a history of reviews and/ratings. Click on the review you would like to update, then click "Mark Resolved" to update your rating and/or review, and click "Resolve This Review" to complete your update.
If you gave us the review through any other means or if you have any problems using your account to update your review or rating please email Consumer Help or use our webform to Contact Us.
- How do I know if a review or a star rating has been updated?
When a consumer changes their review or star rating, this change will be visible on our website. The original and new reviews and star ratings will appear next to each other.
- What is a “featured review”?
Authorized Partners may choose to showcase specific reviews at the top of their company profile page. These reviews are labeled in the top right corner of the review as “featured by” the Authorized partner.
- What are your review guidelines?
Please click here to read our review guidelines.
- Can a business contact consumers about reviews?
Yes. Businesses can contact consumers about their reviews if the business has signed up for a basic (i.e., free) or Authorized account on our platform. For additional details on basic (i.e., free) accounts for business see “Accounts for Businesses.”
- How do companies respond to reviews?
Companies that participate in the ConsumerAffairs Authorized Partner program as well as those that have basic accounts (discussed below) can respond to reviews, both publicly or privately.
- Public responses. Public responses from a business to a consumer review are visible on our website, and appear immediately underneath the review they are responding to. Our website will display one public response from a company per review but that response can be updated at any time.
- Private responses. Authorized Partners can contact reviewers via email or using other contact information associated with the reviewer’s account. In addition, companies that participate in the Authorized Partner program and those with basic accounts can email reviewers via the ConsumerAffairs platform; such messages are sent by ConsumerAffairs, which passes the responses between the business and the consumer.
- What are the main components of your website?
Our website is primarily composed of buyers guides and other topical resources, news articles, company profile pages, and matching tools (also referred to as quizzes).
- What are buyers guides?
Buyers guides are written by the ConsumerAffairs Research Team or industry experts to help educate consumers about a product or service before they make a purchase. Some brands listed on a buyers guide may be Authorized Partners; however, buyers guides include both Authorized and unauthorized companies alike. We believe consumers deserve to make smart decisions with their money, and we want to cover as many options as we can, but generally do not cover all businesses who sell a specific product or service.
- In what order are companies with reviews listed on your buyers guides?
We provide four different sorting options for our visitors to use on our guides, as follows:
- "Featured" is a discretionary sort found on some Buyers Guides. This may include sorting on factors including, but not limited to, compensation received by ConsumerAffairs, capacity of the Authorized Partner to service the consumer, or budget of the Authorized Partner.
- “Best Rated” is our default option for most guides, and it sorts companies based on a proprietary formula that takes into account the company’s overall satisfaction rating and number of recent reviews.
- “Most Reviewed” sorts companies based on the total number of customer reviews.
- “Highest Rated” sorts companies based on their overall satisfaction rating from customer reviews on the ConsumerAffairs website from highest (5) to lowest (1).
- How do your matching tools work?
On our website, we display “matching tools.” Matching tools are a series of questions, or a quiz we use to recommend our Authorized or other partners to website visitors. Our matching tools will suggest a partner, if one is available to satisfy the needs and preferences that the consumer has indicated. If no match is available based on the consumer’s responses (such as if we don’t have an Authorized partner who offers services in your geographical location) a page will appear saying that we could not find a match or suggesting that you call us to discuss further.
- What does the "Fact Checked" label mean?
Articles with the "Fact Checked" label were reviewed by a staff copy editor for accuracy at the time of publishing. This process includes verifying general information, statistics, quotes and company information, products, services and prices using authoritative, primary sources, such as:
- Government websites
- Academic research
- Trade associations
- Company websites and representatives
ConsumerAffairs makes an effort to keep its information up to date as facts change. If readers see a fact that is no longer accurate, they can notify our editorial team here.
- How do I create a consumer account?
You can create an account on our website by clicking the Login button at the top right of the page, and picking a login method.
- Do I have to create an account to leave a review on your website?
Yes. Anyone who wants to submit a review for a company on the ConsumerAffairs website must register for an account. However, we also collect reviews for Authorized partners through other means from consumers who may not have accounts.
- Can ConsumerAffairs contact me if I sign up for an account?
Yes, we may contact you about your review via email or using other contact information you have provided in connection with your account to obtain additional information about your review, seek to resolve an issue, or see if you would be interested in updating your review or rating of a business.
- How can a business seek to become an Authorized Partner?
If you are interested in becoming an Authorized Partner, you can do so by contacting us in one of several ways. If you do not already have a basic account, you can use the Contact Us general form inquiry and a team member will contact you. If you already have a basic account, you can contact us via your account profile within the “Upgraded Plan Feature” section.
- My business doesn’t participate in the Authorized Partner Program. Can I get a free account for businesses with ConsumerAffairs?
Yes. We offer what we call “basic” accounts, which are free, to businesses that qualify. Use the Contact Us form and navigate to the “Claim your free business account” to submit your information and a team member will contact you to get started. You can also search your profile page and click on the “Are you this business?” button which will take you to the sign-up page. You can also use the general inquiry form on the Contact Us page if you do not see your business profile listed.
- What are the benefits of a basic account for businesses?
Basic accounts allow a company to learn that a consumer has submitted a review before the review has been published. The company can then interact with the reviewer privately through the ConsumerAffairs platform during a period before the review has been published, and then interact with the reviewer using public and private responses after the review is posted. We also offer some email review collection services as discussed here. Basic accounts do not expire.
- Who can see reviews?
Reviews are publicly available on our website to users, the company and we may also share your reviews with others, including authorized partners. We may also format and re-distribute your reviews on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr or a ConsumerAffairs affiliated website.
- Can a business contact me about a review?
Yes. If you sign up for an account and leave a review, certain businesses (those that participate in our Authorized Partner Program or have basic accounts with us) can contact you about your review via email or other contact information you have submitted in creating your account. In addition, they can contact you via emails that come from the ConsumerAffairs platform (rather than via the business).
In these messages, the business may, for example, ask about your experience with the brand, seek to resolve an issue, or ask if you are interested in updating your rating or review of the business.
If you gave us the review through any other means the business may contact you directly.
- When will ConsumerAffairs contact consumers?
ConsumerAffairs may contact consumers for a variety of reasons, such as:
- To obtain additional information about a review;
- To facilitate a communication between the business that is the subject of the review and the consumer who submitted the review -- such as to enable the business to address any issues or request a new review or rating;
- To solicit a review for an Authorized Partner;
- To request additional reviews; or
- If you have asked us to contact them by either calling, chatting, completing a form or otherwise consented to be contacted.
- Will ConsumerAffairs call me if I do not have an account?
With the permission of a business, ConsumerAffairs may call consumers who have purchased goods or services from an Authorized Partner, whether or not the consumer has an account with ConsumerAffairs, to ask the consumer about their experiences with the business and to see if they are interested in providing a review. ConsumerAffairs does not use a consumer’s telephone number provided for review collection to market any goods or services, and does not sell or license the number to other companies to do so.
- Where can consumers get additional information?
Consumers may wish to seek additional information from the Federal Trade Commission (www.consumer.ftc.gov/), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/), the state attorney general in your state or the state where a business is located, and/or the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org/).
- What do I do if I believe ConsumerAffairs is hosting information or material that infringes my copyright?
If you believe that ConsumerAffairs is hosting information or material that infringes your copyright, please follow the steps below to notify us of your good faith claim under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA):
- Identify the copyrighted material you believe has been infringed
- Specify details, such as a URL, that will provide us enough information to locate the claimed material that you would like removed or disabled
- Make a statement that you have a good faith belief that use of the material is not authorized by the copyright agent, its owner or the law. Include the following language “I have a good faith belief that the material claimed as copyright infringement is not authorized by the copyright agent, its owner or the law. I swear under penalty of perjury that the information in my notice is accurate and I am the copyright owner or I am authorized to act on the copyright owner’s behalf for matters pertaining to notification of infringement of its rights in its material.”
- Provide your contact information so that we may respond to your complaint (address, telephone number and email address)
- Signature (physical or electronic) of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive right that is alleged infringed
- Mail or e-mail your notice of alleged copyright infringement to our designated agent
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgSNAIL MAIL:ConsumerAffairs
Attn: DMCA Notices
297 Kingsbury Grade
Stateline, NV 89449