JD Powers is a scam


One day, long ago, JD Powers started loudly announcing companies who had won their prestigious and rather made up*** ‘JD Powers Award’.  (editors Wikipedia note:  company started in 1968, but it was 1984 when they came to public attention with their ‘awards‘).

It meant best in class service.  Now, 35 years later, this name carries some weight.  That isn’t because it means anything, it is just through persistence and advertising that they have made their name something.  In those regards, Kudos to them.

Why do they bother?  Well, to most consumers (myself included), there is really only one company’s opinion that meant anything – Consumer Reports.  Know why consumer reports endorsement means so much?  They are a non profit!  They take no grift, which is incredible.  When they test a car, for example, they don’t get one issued to them from the manufacturer.  They actually go out and buy that car.  That way, they aren’t getting a special souped up car that the manufacturer handpicked.  Go ahead and pick one up, notice something you have never seen before:  no ads.  Not a single advertisement!

So, why not just go with Consumer Report’s reviews?  This is where it gets even better; Consumer Reports won’t let company’s use their name.  It is how they stay pure.  This is why you will hear car makers say ‘a leading consumer publication named (insert product here) truck of the year’.

So that is the great and wonderful Consumer Reports.  What does that have to do with JD Powers?  JD Powers uses a similar system of gathering consumer info, complaints, praises… etc.  This is good, and we like this.  Here is where my beef comes in –

  1. they sell that info to other companies.  I have an integrity issue with this.
  2. they charge you to use their name as an endorsement

This last one is a BIGGIE, and I have direct experience with it.  Let’s say your company wins the ‘prestigious’ JD Power award for best butt cleanser.  Let’s say that butt cleanser is your company’s butt cleanser.  This is great news!  I can’t wait to tell the world!  I can’t wait to put this on our door, and in our press briefing.  I want that logo on my website!  Hold up there, little buddy.  That will cost you $50,000.  True story.  I worked for a company that won a JD Powers ‘Best in Class’ award.  We were REALLY proud of that.   Honestly, we were genuinely stoked and proud.  This was a small team that worked their ass off to be the best.  In fact, the line of business that won the award was something I had a large hand in building from scratch.  This was something my team and I were so proud of, but we couldn’t tell ANYONE.  Not without paying $50,000 to JD Powers.

Because I am fearless, and work hard to tell you these tales, I did some research.  I camped out in front of the JD Powers building during their last nominating committee.  I took some pictures, but it’s kinda illegal to just post people up in here without their permission… I have an artists rendering –


While that isn’t exactly extortion, it sure looks like a shakedown.  I would bet when JD Powers started out, they gave away rights to their little prize… like a drug dealer always gives you the first taste free.  Even if you do ‘win’, they are all up in your business –

J.D. Power now fiercely protects the advertising of its ratings, and companies must pay a licensing fee to do so. Additionally, ads must be pre-approved by J.D. Power, and the categories that can be used in advertising pitches are pre-determined each year before the surveys take place.

This reminds me of a very similar scam, ‘Who’s who in Business’.  When I was a kid, I remember my dad was featured in a ‘Whose who…’ feature.  He was a big important banking something or other.  I was so proud of my pop.  Maybe back then (30 or 40 years ago) this was a legitimate thing you had to earn.  Now it isn’t.  I know this because since then I have received many many solicitations to be featured.  They don’t ask your accomplishments, and there is no governing body to decide who is worthy.  Like being a member of the Universal Life Church (of which I am), turns out all you need is a name and ideally a face.  At least it’s free to join the ULC.  I have been a good Reverend under their banner for 19 years now.  Their vetting is akin to JD Powers and Who’s Who.  You have to have a name, be able to type in that name… AND… hit ‘submit’.  Kinda like how I get this web page URL.  Turns out, you don’t have to be correct at all.  I just… am.

You pay these people, and then they feature you in a short write up in their publication.  Then, you can use it on your resume.  I have seen people put this on their resume.  Don’t.  It doesn’t tell me you are a well regarded business person, it tells me you had $100 to spend.

When I see a JD Powers banner on a site, I don’t think ‘wow,  now this is a great company!’  I think, wow, maybe they could have spent that $50,000 on something more meaningful… like hookers and blow.

*** rather made up – ok, I admit that is some judgmental semantics.  Everything was made up originally.  I just feel every move by this company is calculated empty bullshit.  PLUS… I have never once claimed to be objective.  That isn’t why you are here.  Judging by the really terrific response and hits this piece gets… y’all agree with me.  We are Correct!


48 thoughts on “JD Powers is a scam

    • True they say the VM has the best reliability rating and rate the Mazda low?? I have 2 mazda cars 2013 and 2016 3 years each and never had them back to the dealer for problems?????????????????????? Vw ‘ problems all the time. plus they are emission criminals and cheat.

  1. Completely agree.
    Another scam? The Better Business Bureau. It’s simply a franchise with protected regions. Anyone with the funds can become a BBB and start selling memberships and plaques for your business wall. Even 60 Minutes nailed them ten years ago. They are simply in the business of selling their so-called ratings.

    Another one is JCAHO, the private hospital accrediting company. You know how many hospitals have been closed by JCAHO?
    Zero. Hospitals pay THEM for their ratings and inspections. My hospital paid $30,000.


    • That reminds me of a local investigative reporter guy, Tom Martino. He was a respected and damn near loved consumer advocate. Remember ‘fight back with David Horowitz’, where he had a show that would test claims made by products on commercials? Yeah, that kind of stuff. He parlayed his goodwill into a website that would vet companies. Need a plumber? Go to his site, ‘troubleshooter.com’. You could trust any company on that list, because Tom Martino and his crew would thoroughly check them out first, for you.

      Turns out… not so much. I have a buddy who owned a painting company. Very small operation, just a few guys. He applied to be on that list, inviting them to check their jobs, references, books, etc. The answer came back – $10,000 please. That is how you got on the list. They were told they didn’t need to do anything else, just a check for 10K. That is about what they made a year.

      That story never went public. Who would break that story? its kinda the story Tim Martino would have LOVED… had it been about something else. He’s since been disgraced and is mostly out of the public eye. That was because of a drunk driving and spousal abuse mess.

      I’d be worried about getting sued for saying this, but with only about 150 readers a day, I don’t think he’ll see it.

  2. Depends. If you find the J.D. Power award listed on their website, it’s public information and anyone can advertise public data any way they want (JD Power is owned by a Chinese company named XIO…). For instance, if Lexus wants to advertise “highest rated by J.D. Power for dependability,” they can do so w/o paying a license fee. Why? Because it’s public information, here: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2017-vehicle-dependability-study

    • respectfully, I disagree. While I imagine that is the story they want to tell, I have direct experience otherwise. You don’t get to brandish their award until you pay their honorarium… or ‘ransom’.

      To your point… what if JD Powers puts it up themselves, on their website? Isn’t it then public discussion? Not necessarily. Here is an odd analogy. Let’s say Jerry Seinfeld gets caught by TMZ enjoying a coke. The camera man then says ‘Hey Jerry, you a Coke guy? Way better then Pepsi, huh?’

      Can Coke start an ad campaign that says ‘Jerry Seinfeld prefers Coke!’? They could not. Not without his permission, and a truckload of cash.

      • OK, but Jerry Seinfeld drinking a Coke is a different thing.

        If J.D. Power puts something on their website, fair-use law permits anyone, including a commercial advertisement, to quote a small excerpt and link to the website. No different than a film advertising that they won an Academy Award, or a musician claiming they won a “Grammy(c) Award.”

        My company manufactures a product. That product was recently hailed as “the best in its class” by the country’s largest dealer of this particular product. This is public information on the dealer’s website, and we can advertise this information as “fair use” as long as we excerpt their words factually, in context, and with proper attribution.

        That said, I can see where it could be advantageous for an automobile company to buy into J.D. Power’s “membership deal” which could open a lot of advertising doors not covered by fair-use, which sounds exactly like your story.

    • Did you seriously not read the article you posted? Below was the link at the bottom


      It states: No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in J.D. Power press releases or survey results without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power.

      I don’t mean this in a bad way but your post was exactly the ignorance I talked about on my previous comment. People just don’t understand and they profit off of that.

      • It isn’t the ‘express written consent’ that is the racket. The point of my piece is JD Powers charges (at least) $50K for you to use the award they gave you. For example, if JD Powers awarded this the best in class of social satire blogs… I could not tell ANYONE… unless I kicked them 50K. So, what is the point of the award? It’s a shakedown.

    • JD powers is a ripoff company. More than once I have done surveys through survey.junkie for them. Instead of getting the allied .35 I get the going prize of .02 and they don’t give me that. Survey junkie does.

  3. I live in Oklahoma where we are forced to deal with a company called OG&E, Oklahoma Gas & Electric. They are the monopolized energy company that most of us around the Oklahoma City area are forced to deal with. They are the most hated company by a large margin. They have the worst customer service by far and are consistently slammed on their Facebook page because it is an open forum for consumers to voice their opinion.

    To make a long story short. They recently “won” the J.D. Powers award for Customer Service…. so I have been on a search to find out who they had to kill or blow to “win” this award and have lost ALL respect or trust I had for JD Powers firm along the way.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your article!

  4. This all confuses me. The author does not have any first hand info or experience with JDPower, does he? He speaks of camping out when there was a “nominating committee”. This isn’t at all the case in how the awards are based. Go back to school and take Market Research 101. Also, there is a difference between J.D. Power (owned currently by XIO, and McGraw-Hill before that) and J.D. Power and Associates (the company prior to the sale to McGraw-Hill and run by J.D. Power himself). If you are going to blog, please do your research and fact check. If the purpose of your blog is to rant and vent, please state things are your opinion or belief.

    • Jp,

      thank you for reading and replying. i am sorry i took so long to go into and approve comments. As you can see, there is no censorship against people who disagree with me. I just want to clarify a couple things. the part about hiding out and watching the nominating committee was satire, and a silly chance for me to make the moneybags criminal pic. I absolutely have direct experience with JD Power. Without naming the company, out of respect for my former employer – they told us we ‘won the JD Power Best in Class award’. That was very awesome, and we were proud of the very hard work our small team put in.

      We really thought it was a mark of industry excellence. Then, they demand $50K (in our case, it is probably a sliding scale) for us to use their name. To me, that is a shakedown. Let me make an analogy. Let’s say you read that Chevy wins Car and Driver’s ‘Truck of the Year’. Well, that is pretty great for them. I am a truck guy, so I would stand up and take notice. Until I find out that Chevy paid millions to receive that award. Doesn’t the award now seem compromised a bit tainted?

      To me, if you want to see integrity (and I used to be a fraud investigator, so integrity means a lot to me)… look how consumer reports handles everything. First, they are a not for profit. Second, their magazine has no ads. They have no sponsors. The products they test, they pay full retail for them on the open market. They know that if manufacturers cherry picked products for them to review, it may not reflect the experience the average consumer has. Lastly, here is the gonzo wonderful thing about Consumer Reports – they won’t let you you use their endorsement. Not for free, not for money. If they rate a product a ‘consumer reports best buy’, that is never allowed to be used in advertising. How hard they work to be clean is just inspiring.

      Of course JD Powers is a business, and it is a businesses duty in life to make money. I don’t begrudge that, it is the American dream. I strongly feel how they go about it is disingenuous. Now, when I see a company advertise they were ‘JD Powers Best in Class’, all I can think is ‘geesh, wonder how much it cost them to use that plug.

      i want to be open about all of this. You see about half the posts agreeing, and half the posts saying I am full of shit. I could certainly be wrong, and what I write is entirely my opinion. I just wanted to clarify my experience and the reason behind my opinions. I think it is important to do. Most of the negative posts are just character assassinations with no value. That drives me nuts. I don’t want people to come here to tell me I am an idiot. I want them to explain with logic and facts why I am an idiot. Let’s discuss. You made a decent point though.

      again, thank you for reading and stopping by

  5. Yep. Worked for a bank that JD Powers worked with to craft a survey that they knew would skew in favor of said bank. Charged a ton of money, we got to advertise as a JD power award winner… total scam.

  6. Don’t forget that James D Power III who founded JD Power & Assoc. (The associates he referenced originally were actually his wife and children) also worked marketing for Ford, and Marplan which did marketing for General Motors Corp. JD Power rankings are bought and paid for garbage…

  7. i find J D Powers’ endorsements over the decades – first the pathetic Chrysler Corp now the (crooked) GM endorsements – driven by greeeed alone. My 2011 Cruze was the resurrection of the Corvair re lie abilitywise, yet they seem to be getting PRAISE lately which may/may not be J.D.P. driven? bottom line: all my faith goes to Consumer Reports –
    NONE to J.D.P. btw, forewarned is forearmed…

    • nice analogy to the Corvair. Not many people know, but that thing was such a deadly piece of shit that Ralph Nader pretty much made his bones as a consumer advocate writing about it. “unsafe at any speed”

  8. I worked for a competitor that touted the JD Powers Award. I strongly believed we were a better company. This being said, the JD Powers Award is simply a bought and paid for award.

  9. When I purchased my vehicle I was promised free oil changes if I gave perfect scores of the dealer on my JDPower survey….

  10. You can publicize what they publish on the web site, but they only publicize big picture on the website. If you want to tout that a particular model received best in class, you have to pay to get the individual model data and pay to use their name.

    • Jerry, yes. and that is why I think it is a disingenuous bullshit shakedown. Do you think Meryl Streep has to pay the Academy 50K every time it is mentioned she is an Oscar winner? I have since learned another interesting and kind of sad scam… the hollywood walk of fame. You got a star by making a VERY large donation. that is the selection process. It has nothing to do with merit. I guess I am naive, and maybe everything in life works that way. I wish I could say more about the specifics of which I speak. However, I do’n’t want to slander anyone or get myself sued. Nor do I want my last employer to get in to trouble for stupid shit I said. They are the victims here.

  11. This is true its a scam and it means nothing. I bought a new GMC truck in 2015 and two weeks after I had it I got this paper from JD power and it had a servy in there asking me all these questions that you shouldn’t answer until you have owned the vehicle for a few years. How can you tell someone thT this vehicle is reliable and the quality is 100% when that vehicle is brand new? Well I never filled it out and ive had nothing but problems with my $50,000 truck. GM has no customer service when it comes to their junk and thata all it is, is junk. I had to get a lawyer and sue them. Now im trading the truck in just to get rid of it. Total lemon!! I’ll never buy another GM or American vehicle again! Total waste of money!

  12. It’s strange that he powers hands out rewards to general motors knowing that most of their cars and trucks have major problems with their engines and transmissions. Also they should check into all the lawsuits against them!!

  13. I was once called for my opinions on a company with which I was doing investments. It became clear that the person from JD Powers was not liking my answers regarding my dissatisfaction. She tried to end the conversation quickly at that point. From then on, I never trusted JD Powers.

  14. Consumer Reports may have been valuable at one point, but to me, the most important thing to listen to is consumers that own the product, not someone reviewing and testing it in a non-typical way. Consumer Reports has become a liberal voice that is hard to listen to. They are against herbal remedies, pharmaceuticals, food that isn’t super healthy, among a few things. I don’t need Consumer Reports telling me what I should be eating or putting in my body. Report on the facts, leave the opinions out. JD Powers still sucks, because nobody knows what the hell it is. I’ve heard it mentioned in 100 commercials, and it never meant anything to me. Are PEOPLE happy with the car? What do they like, what do the not like? That’s what I want to hear.

  15. Pay me 500-grand and I’ll tell you how great your company is. That tells you all you need to know about J.D. Power. They’re a total crock. Just the names of the categories that they rate tell you that they know nothing about cars.

  16. I am a Jet Blue member. At times I am asked to answer questions for points to my account, for various companies such as J D Powers. Specifically, and only J D Powers, Fiver – ten minutes into the survey after I have answered many many questions, across the screen flashes something to the effect, “Sorry you are not qualified to continue with this survey”.
    Really when initially I am asked to answer specific questions to qualify me to take a specific survey. I beleive this is how J D Powers operates so that they do not have to pay for the survey, yet use the answers. THE PERSONFICATION OF A PROFESSIONAL SCAMMER COMPANY.

  17. Attempting to post my negative critique of J D Powers, above my verbiage appears, “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. What does this mean?

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  19. I agree years ago I thought who the hell of a JD Powers seems like they give an award for anything and everything. It’s just greed and total bullshit

  20. Ive been a reverend for about 20 years also father git stil got my cardboard from universal life church time to get that framed l ove the story bro

  21. We have Consumer Cellular phone service and we are trying to get Cricket phones due to our location and not paying for a hot spot. For two days we have tried to get our numbers ported and Consumer Cellular has refused to release the numbers saying it was a glitch in their system, it is not, Cricket corp offices says they have not tried to release them at all. I tried to call them 3 times and was on the phone over 20 minutes and the third time I waited over 31 minutes and they never did come on the line. Please help. Thank You Naoma Read

  22. I love this post but just a tip… you should really write longer articles. I was sad this post ended, and I think your writing style would keep people really interested in what you had to say about all of this

  23. I have not liked General Motors since they became Government Motors. Their cars are cheaply made, including the Cadillac. JD Power is a scam. Their ratings are paid for.

  24. Great article and lots of valuable feedbacks. Now I am looking at their Sales Satisfaction Index (https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2019-us-sales-satisfaction-index-ssi-study), I realized that the difference between the highest and lowest ranking make (Porsche and Land Rover) is only 6.4%. Yes, only 6%? What is the confidence interval here? What is the standard deviation for each make? What is the sample size? If they would give answers to these questions, it will appear that this report is trash, even to someone who knows nothing about statistics.

    The other point, they did not include Mitsubishi to the list because of low sample size, but Fiat is there. Are there really any Fiat dealership in the country? Everyday I make 50 to 150 miles in a metropolitan area, I see much more Lamborghini, Ferrari or Rolls Royce than Fiat.

    Same for the Mini. How can you put it on the same graph with Toyota?

  25. I think consumer reports is a scam too! If you want to know how well built a car is, ask a mechanic! I know Scotty Kilmer laughs at all of these bullshit artists. How can Consumer Reports rate a car when it just came out? If you wanna tell me that it has a lot of cupholders and the seats are comfortable, go ahead. But dont tell me a Kia is better than a Toyota! Fart sound

    • Here is why I trust consumer reports… almost blindly. When they test a car, they actually go buy that car ‘off the street’. Most companies would send you a car to review. Consumer Reports actually buys a car and then tests it. So that they get a real car available to the public. As for rating cars that just came out? Note they use the term ‘predicted reliability’. With 100 years of information, it’s a pretty safe bet a Toyota is going to last you longer than a GM car. This bagel will last longer than a GM car.

      Also, they are non-profit… which blows my mind.

      Lastly, everything is paid for by your subscriptions. Take a look at a Consumer Reports magazine. There are no ads. Wrap your mind around that.

      Now people mention “I would trust a mechanic to tell me about reliability…” Yes, I would do. I don’t have time to reach out to microwave repair men, or bicycle helmet manufacturers. Consumer Reports does that for me.

      So where do they get all this information? From us. Every year, we get an exhaustive survey on everything we have recently bought. Did it break? Was it different than advertised… etc etc.

      Someone also mentioned they are liberal. Not sure where that comes from, but I would love if you would expound. As I see it, they use data and feedback from consumers. I feel that is pretty agnostic. Unless, you are one of those folks who believes anything they disagree with is ‘fake news’. That happened with the big Toyota recall about brakes and acceleration issues. I owned a Toyota truck at the time, and so followed Tundra forums for various issues. Toyota fans did NOT take that recall report well. They all slandered CR, and said they lost all faith in their reporting. Stuff like ‘I’ll never read or trust that garbage again. Just ridiculous. CR gets no joy out of reporting bad news. And they are VERY careful about printing bad news. Remember the Geo Tracker that would rollover a bit too easily. They got sued like crazy for that, it dragged on forever. The gist was CR used selective info and testing to basically force a rollover. and they won.

      Wow. I had no idea I was so passionate about Consumer Reports. I guess these days there is so little media of any kind that I feel i can trust. Once I find someone, i fight to protect them.

      I could be wrong, though. Keep pinging, keep commenting, and keep opining. I think these are cool and interesting discussions. You will note I don’t censor criticism against me (like say… er… JD Powers). I am fine with you calling me an idiot, and I’ll publish it. Just make the effort to prove why. That is all I ask.

  26. What JD power award won’t even buy you a cup of coffee if you tried to trade it in it’s all bulshit I’ve known that for years and years put on the construction industry selling construction materials and you see these companies that get the JD power award go to go measure the walls and see how out of line they are houses nowadays are built like s*** but you pay a premium builders that get the daily power award.

  27. JD Power is a scammer. There ratings on cars/suv/trucks is useless and biased!
    On the other hand Consumer Reports is slightly better because their ratings based on consumer surveys.

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