Celebrating six decades of fighting for consumers.
1959: It was the year Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, Mattel launched its Barbie doll, Frank Sinatra crooned Stormy Weather on the wireless, the Auckland Harbour Bridge was completed and Consumer opened its doors.
From exposing fish-hooks and crooks to testing thousands of products, it’s been a busy six decades.
A lot has changed in the past 60 years but the reasons we’re here haven’t. We continue to test more products than you can shake a stick at – from toasters to line trimmers – and everything in-between.
And many of the same hustles still flood our desks.
In the 60s, there were dodgy door-to-door salespeople using pressure tactics to flog encyclopaedias. The encyclopaedias have gone but dodgy door-to-door sellers remain. Technology has also opened the digital door to dubious dealings and cut down on the legwork for scammers.
Exposing marketing spin and misleading claims continues to be a big part of our stock in trade.
In 1971, we ran a story about the Conception Days Indicator, touted as a new contraception discovery that promised “exciting news for all married women”. It turned out it was neither exciting nor reliable, whether you were married or not.
Fast-forward to 2019 and our annual Bad Taste Food Awards take aim at the spin put on “healthy” foods that are anything but.
Hip-pocket issues have figured large in our work too, whether it’s the high price of insurance or the rising cost of power. When we set up shop, there was one place to get your electricity. But reforms of the sector in the 80s and 90s put paid to that. Consumers were promised power bills would drop. The reality: decades of price hikes.
With the growth of insta-experts and fake news, our role as an independent, trusted advocate for consumers is more important than ever. We remain evidence-based and not dependent on funding from government or advertising. We plan on supporting consumers for years to come.