Research
Consumer Information

 

Finding the best products or services can be a difficult and time-consuming process. These websites provide buying guides for various consumer products, offer help on finding vendors, and link to periodical databases in which magazines can be searched for articles on the best products. The consumer protection links also provide information about where to file a complaint after receiving a faulty product or poor service.

Current and past issues of Consumer Reports are available at the Information Services Desk of the Library along with other buying guides for cars, computers, and home appliances.

Web resource Web resource  Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library card Available with Skokie Public Library card  Available in Library only Available in Library only


Librarian Recommendations

These article databases and websites have been selected by librarians at Skokie Public Library as outstanding resources and good places to start a search for consumer information.

Web resourceBecome.com

Become.com provides research on products or services linking to buying guides, expert reviews, forums, safety recalls, and specifications. Also includes a comparison shopping feature.

Web resourceBetter Business Bureau of Chicago

Find Chicago and Northern Illinois company and charity reports or file a complaint about a business at this site.

Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library cardConsumerReports.org from EBSCO

ConsumerReports.org contains information that enables consumers to make better purchasing decisions on the products they are shopping for. The site provides ratings and reviews, recommendations, and buying advice. Additional information includes brand reliability and user reviews, plus news, blogs, forums, and video content. Searchable sections include Cars, Home & Garden, Electronics, Babies & Kids, Money, Food, and Health.

Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library cardConsumers' Checkbook

Consumers' Checkbook evaluates the quality and prices of local service firms and stores, such as auto repair shops, plumbers, dentists, banks, and insurance companies. Chicago-area companies are rated by users and evaluated by Checkbook staff. Consumers’ Checkbook/The Center for the Study of Services is an independent, nonprofit consumer organization founded in 1974 with the help of funding from the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs.

Web resourceConsumerSearch

This excellent website provides the "best reviews" on hundreds of consumer products, including summaries of articles from Consumer Reports.

Web resourceEdmund's.com

From the publisher of Edmund's® Automobile Buyer's Guide, find price information, ratings, and reviews for new and used cars.

Web resourceYour Access to Free Credit Reports

From the Federal Trade Commission, this site provides detailed "Facts for Consumers" regarding the hows and whys of ordering free credit reports.

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General Consumer Information

Web resourceBecome.com

Become.com provides research on products or services linking to buying guides, expert reviews, forums, safety recalls, and specifications. Also includes a comparison shopping feature.

Web resourceCNET.com

Articles, reviews, and price guides to electronic products and computer hardware.

Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library cardConsumerReports.org from EBSCO

ConsumerReports.org contains information that enables consumers to make better purchasing decisions on the products they are shopping for. The site provides ratings and reviews, recommendations, and buying advice. Additional information includes brand reliability and user reviews, plus news, blogs, forums, and video content. Searchable sections include Cars, Home & Garden, Electronics, Babies & Kids, Money, Food, and Health.

Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library cardConsumers' Checkbook

Consumers' Checkbook evaluates the quality and prices of local service firms and stores, such as auto repair shops, plumbers, dentists, banks, and insurance companies. Chicago-area companies are rated by users and evaluated by Checkbook staff. Consumers’ Checkbook/The Center for the Study of Services is an independent, nonprofit consumer organization founded in 1974 with the help of funding from the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs.

Web resourceConsumerSearch

This excellent website provides the "best reviews" on hundreds of consumer products, including summaries of articles from Consumer Reports.

Web resourceEpinions.com

Epinions provides reviews of products and services written by consumers themselves.

Web resourceFederal Citizen Information Center

Browse through hundreds of online consumer pamphlets on topics such as  cars, children, money, food, health, and much more.

Web resourceFindTheBest

FindTheBest has been called a “comparison engine” in that it uses hundreds of specialized online apps that offer users an ultra-detailed comparison of products and services from unbiased, authoritative sources. The apps include searches for things like ski resorts, treadmills, car insurance providers, and smart phones.

Web resourceFurnace Compare

Furnace Compare rates over 45,000 models of air conditioners, boilers, furnaces, and heat pumps. It also provides tips on how to purchase such items and choose a contractor.

Web resourceJ.D. Power Consumer Center

Ratings of consumer products and services based on consumer surveys.  Covers autos, boats, electronics, investing, healthcare, telecommunication, travel, and more.

Web resourcePriceGrabber.com

This site offers product and price comparisons, consumer reviews, and merchant ratings for a wide range of consumer products.

Web resourceRecall Warnings

This website by Nolo Press provides recall warnings and alerts for cars, clothing, appliances, and hundreds of consumer products.

Web resourceViewpoints

Viewpoints gives people who enjoy reading or writing reviews a one-stop outlet for topics ranging from laptops to hotels, blenders, even hospitals and schools. Reviews are included in over 700 categories. Along with reviews, most categories include "Consumer Guides" to help evaluate products.

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Article Databases

Evaluations of individual products, such as furnaces and blenders, are often printed in magazines or newspapers. The following magazine indexes allow you to search for articles on various consumer products. Simply type in the product or the model name in the search box to get a list of up-to-date periodical items. Many of the listings are in full text format and can be read directly from the screen.

Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library cardMasterFILE Premier from EBSCOhost

MasterFILE Premier contains full text articles from nearly 1,700 periodicals covering general reference, business, health, education, general science, multicultural issues, and much more. This database also contains the full text of more than 500 reference books, over 107,000 primary source documents, and an image collection of over 592,000 photos, maps, and flags.

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Automobiles

Web resourceAutobytel.com

Resources on this site include automotive information, specifications, vehicle reviews, manufacturer incentives, dealer invoice price information, and on online tool to begin the buying process for new and used vehicles.

Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library cardAuto Repair Reference Center from EBSCO

Auto Repair Reference Center contains step-by-step procedures written specifically for the do-it-yourselfer, but is comprehensive enough for professional technicians. Auto Repair Reference Center contains information on most major manufacturers of domestic and imported vehicles, with repair information for most vintage makes. Coverage of approximately 25,000 vehicles starting as far back as 1954 includes more than 65,000 technical service bulletins and recalls issued by the original equipment vehicle manufacturer; wiring diagrams for easy viewing and printing; a labor time guide and estimator; and over 100,000 factory drawings and step-by-step photographs.

Web resourceAutoSite

AutoSite provides pricing, comparison, repair, and maintenance information for new and used vehicles.

Web resourceCars.com

Research a new or used car, place an ad to sell your own car, or find a new or used car to buy. The site also includes car news, repair information, and much more at this site. 

Web resourceDriveChicago.com

Use this website to research your prospective vehicle, or to search automobile classified ads and dealer inventories.

Web resourceEdmund's.com

From the publisher of Edmund's® Automobile Buyer's Guide, find price information, ratings, and reviews for new and used cars.

Web resourceKelley Blue Book

This online partner to the print version of Kelley Blue Book provides price information on new and used cars dating back to 1978.

Web resourceMSN: Autos

This online guide covers all aspects of purchasing a vehicle.

Web resourceNADAguides.com: Free Vehicle Pricing & Information

Find prices for used boats, cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, motor homes, trailers, and snowmobiles on this website from the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Web resourceNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Search for vehicle safety information, recall notices, and more on this United States government website.

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Charities

Web resourceDonors Forum of Chicago

The mission of the Donors Forum of Chicago is to provide resources for grantmakers, non-profit organizations, and anyone interested in philanthropy. This website includes the Grantseekers Toolbox, a resource to help people find funding for organizations, programs, and special projects.

Web resourceGive.org

This site from the National Charities Information Bureau and the Council of Better Business Bureaus' Foundation provides detailed reports on hundreds of charities.

Web resourceGuideStar

"The National Database of Nonprofit Organizations" includes information on more than 600,000 charities and nonprofits, news on philanthropy, and resources for donors and volunteers.

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Collectibles

Web resourceAntiques Roadshow Online

This online companion to the popular public television program contains many subject collection guides along with appraiser and auction house directories.

Web resourceAntiqueWeek Online

This website contains calendars of events around the country, classified ads, articles on collecting, and links to antique sites on the web.

Web resourceKovels Online

Kovels, a publisher of books on collectibles and antiques, makes available an online price guide for various collectibles. Registration is required.

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Consumer Protection

Web resourceThe Better Business Bureau

This website provides consumer information, news, alerts, a directory to regional Better Business Bureaus, and more.

Web resourceBetter Business Bureau of Chicago

Find Chicago and Northern Illinois company and charity reports or file a complaint about a business at this site.

Web resourceConsumer Action Website

This federal government site contains various consumer guides along with information on resolving consumer problems. Valuable contact information is included for corporate consumer affairs offices, BBBs, state and local government offices, federal agencies, and more.

Web resourceConsumer Information

From the Federal Trade Commission, this site contains consumer guides on a wide range of topics in the areas of money and credit, homes and mortgages, jobs and making money, and privacy and identity. Links to file an consumer complaint, register for the “Do Not Call” list, report identity theft, or get your free credit report are also included.

Web resourceIllinois Commerce Commission (ICC)

The Illinois Commerce Commission regulates utilities in Illinois such as electricity, natural gas, water and sewer, and telecommunications.  Their website includes information for consumers about filing complaints.

Web resourceNational Do Not Call Registry

Register your phone number on this Federal Trade Commission site to remove your number from telemarketer's call lists.

Web resourceThe National Fraud Information Center

Sponsored by the National Consumers League, this site provides information on telemarketing fraud, Internet fraud, and fraud against the elderly.

Web resourceRecallWarnings

This website by Nolo Press provides recall warnings and alerts for cars, clothing, appliances, and hundreds of consumer products.

Web resourceUnited States Consumer Product Safety Commission

This government agency is responsible for monitoring the safety of the American marketplace. The Recalls section includes a searchable database of product recalls.

Web resourceYour Access to Free Credit Reports

From the Federal Trade Commission this site provides detailed "Facts for Consumers" regarding the hows and whys of ordering free credit reports.

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Credit and Money Matters

Web resourceCredit InfoCenter

This website includes a collection of articles, tips, and selection aids for credit cards, loans, and bankruptcy.

Web resourceHow to Obtain a Free Credit Report

Check this site from the Illinois Attorney General to see how to obtain free copies of your credit report.

Web resourceProject MoneySmart

From the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, this site provides advice and guides on spending, budgeting, banks, mortgages, and credit. 

Web resourceYour Access to Free Credit Reports

From the Federal Trade Commission, this site provides detailed "Facts for Consumers" regarding the hows and whys of ordering free credit reports.

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Insurance

Insurance Information

Web resourceA.M. Best Ratings & Analysis

Find information and ratings for over 6,000 United States and international insurance companies. Some resources on this site require free registration and user login.

Web resourceConsumer Information from the Illinois Department of Insurance

This website contains consumer guides for auto, health, homeowners, and life insurance and an auto premium comparison guide.

Web resourceNAIC Consumer Information Source

Consumer Information Source provides a central location for consumers to submit insurance company complaints online or create reports on the number of complaints for individual insurance companies.

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Insurance Quotes

Web resourceInsWeb

InsWeb allows you to compare insurance quotes among major insurers including auto, life, health, small business, home owners, renters, and other types of coverage.

Web resourceNetQuote

NetQuote® helps consumers choose cost effective insurance policies by providing competitive insurance quotes for auto, home, renter's, life, and more.

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Telephone Service Plans

Web resourcePhone Scoop

This site contains user reviews and specifications for cell phones via its "Phone Finder" tool along with in-depth phone reviews, technology guides, and industry news.

Web resourcephonedog.com

This comparison site provides information and rates for long distance, local, and cellular plans as well as other telecommunication services in your area.

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