I use Consumer Reports ratings as a starting point, and nothing more. Then I move on to actual user reviews. I research every potential purchase extensively. Consumer Reports has it's vested interests like all high profile, established review sites/publications.
Like our governments.....you don't blindly trust them!
For sure. I do the same. CR as the starting point at what to look at. Then any opinions from individuals with their experience about a specific product. Lastly I look up the recent recall history of the companies products within the last 3 years or so.