|legal form||Independent foundation with legal capacity|
|founding||4th December 1964|
|Seat||Berlin-Tiergarten , Germany|
|Number of employees||359 (2018)|
|sales||Income: 43.3 million euros (2018)|
The Stiftung Warentest is a non-profit German consumer organization and by far the most well-known foundation in Germany . On the basis of a government contract and subsidized with tax revenues, their employees examine and compare goods and services from different providers. It is headquartered at Lützowplatz in Berlin district of Tiergarten , the district center .
History of origin
The founding of an organization for product testing was decided by the federal government on September 16, 1964 after years of discussions and the government declaration by Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of October 9, 1962 . The Stiftung Warentest was finally set up on December 4, 1964 by the Federal Republic of Germany , represented by Federal Minister of Economics Kurt Schmücker , as an independent foundation under civil law and as such is mainly operational .
According to historian Kevin Rick, the state founding of the product test institute in the early 1960s marked a paradigm shift in consumer policy. With the state mandate, the government intervened directly in the consumer information market and made it clear with the foundation that it did not see the strongest consumer organization at the time - the consortium of consumer associations , the predecessor of today's vzbv - as a legitimate interest group for consumers. This can be deduced above all from the internal government designation of Stiftung Warentest as the “second best solution”: The optimal solution would have been if such an institute had been founded by a neutral consumer organization. Since there is no such thing in the Federal Republic, the Ministry of Economic Affairs argued, the state must help weak consumers.
In 1966 the first test magazine was sold with a circulation of 210,000 copies. In April 1967 there was a massive slump in sales, the number of subscribers fell to 10,000, and as a result, retail sales were discontinued from 1968; From now on, delivery was only made to subscribers and direct orderers. For the first time from 1968 onwards, the test results were also assessed with a test quality rating (“good” to “unsatisfactory”).
In November 1969 a test of ski bindings was published, with three bindings from the manufacturer Hannes Marker (now owned by Völkl ) with "unsatisfactory". The company sued the results of the investigation by Stiftung Warentest before the Federal Court of Justice and was defeated in 1975 after a long legal battle.
In order to increase awareness of the test results, from 1968 the test results of the Stiftung Warentest were made available to other newspaper and magazine publishers free of charge. The concept worked and from 1970 the sale of test magazine was resumed. Awareness was also increased through spectacular campaigns, for example when in 1973, due to the predominantly poor test results, particularly with regard to the safety of prams, the editors of the test magazine presented them in an unusual way as a living test table on Kurfürstendamm in Berlin.
After the Heysel disaster in 1985, Stiftung Warentest also examined the structural conditions and the safety of 18 Bundesliga football stadiums. Eight stadiums were classified as "very questionable", which the Tagesschau reported , among others .
In 1988 a manufacturer of compost choppers brought a lawsuit against the German Federal Court of Justice against the Stiftung Warentest, because it had higher safety requirements than the usual DIN standard . The Federal Court of Justice ruled in favor of the foundation, as it was also their task to point out deficiencies in the DIN standards.
Since November 1997, the Stiftung Warentest and their magazines are also available online at test.de represented.
According to the coalition agreement for the grand coalition 2013 , the data protection foundation is to be integrated into the warentest foundation.
Tasks and meaning
Its tasks include, on the one hand, the comparison of objectifiable features of utility value , utility value and environmental compatibility , and on the other hand, informing the consumer about economic housekeeping and health and environmentally conscious behavior.
Due to the high level of awareness, the foundation and its ratings have a significant influence on the purchasing behavior of consumers. Good ratings from Stiftung Warentest often have a prominent place in product advertising or on packaging. On the other hand, bad ratings repeatedly lead to slumps in sales and claims for damages by manufacturers - according to the foundation, an average of ten times a year, whereby it has won most of them and has never been legally convicted of damages.
The monthly magazine Öko-Test is, despite the similarity of names, not a publication of the Stiftung Warentest, but rather a competitor in which the Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft is involved.
The Stiftung Warentest has been organizing the youth testing school competition since 1979 to encourage young people to deal critically with goods, services and advertising.
Stiftung Warentest finances itself through the sale of its magazines " test " (circulation: an annual average of 396,000 copies) and " Finanztest " (205,000), the sale of books such as the handbook on medicines or the aroma book , and special publications and advertising licenses , through test results on the Internet at test.de and through donations from the founder. In 2017, sales were around 48 million euros. In addition, 3.9 million euros came from the founder. These are intended to compensate for the fact that no income may be generated through advertisements in their publications, as these advertisements could make the foundation dependent on a provider. The foundation denies that its results are dependent on public funds, as it generates most of its budget itself.
In 2009 the federal government decided to cut the annual grants and at the same time to increase the foundation capital by 50 million euros.
In 2012 the foundation was in the red for the first time in its history. The deficit of 1.2 million euros was mainly due to a lower interest rate on the foundation's capital.
In order to continue to ensure the independence of the foundation, the federal government increased the foundation capital of Stiftung Warentest by a total of 100 million to 175 million euros in the 2016 and 2017 budget years.
The Stiftung Warentest annually carries out over 200 comparative product tests and service examinations from almost all areas of daily life, the methodology of which it developed in Germany. In addition, new types of products are examined and published for the New on the market section . Since 2002, special offers have been examined weekly mainly by food discounters and published online promptly. Since 2004, aspects of be in selected tests corporate social responsibility (Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR) into account in the investigation. The online database “ Medicines in the Test ” contains information on over 9,000 medicines and 175 areas of application.
Stiftung Warentest employs market researchers and academic staff who are responsible for selecting the market and performing the tests. According to the statutes, each research project is coordinated with the board of trustees and discussed in an advisory board with external representatives of consumers, the supplying industry and neutral experts. The tests are not carried out by employees of Stiftung Warentest, but are awarded to external, neutral testing institutes worldwide. The test samples are purchased anonymously from retailers and are not made available by the providers as pre-series models or prototypes . The objective test results are transmitted to the provider for control and comment after the test and evaluation by Stiftung Warentest and before publication. Editors bring the test results into a readable form. A number of verifiers are tasked with overseeing the compliance of the publications with the test results. In addition to objective measurements and surveys, subjective judgments by suitable test persons are also often included in the evaluation of products, for example in the "Handling" test point.
The approximately 1,600 products that are bought for the tests every year are auctioned four times a year in Berlin if they have passed the test procedure without defects .
So far, the foundation has published around 5,750 product tests as well as almost 3,000 service tests and market overviews (as of December 2016).
In September 2014, Stiftung Warentest had to accept a final injunction in favor of the Ritter Sport chocolate brand. She is no longer allowed to rate their “whole nut” chocolate bar as “poor” due to the criterion that the piperonal flavoring substance found in the chocolate was not naturally produced, although it is labeled as a natural flavor. Stiftung Warentest can also no longer claim that Ritter Sport uses chemically produced flavors in its nut chocolate. Ritter Sport refers to the guarantee of the aroma supplier that it is a natural aroma.
Test results on the website
The website of Stiftung Warentest contains all of the foundation's test results going back to the beginning of 1998. In addition, current reports (recalls for example of batteries, new court decisions, products, tariffs and offers, tests of promotional goods), extensive online specials, interactive calculators and from eight to ten tests per month a free abstract. Accessing these detailed results usually costs between 75 cents and 2.50 euros, extensive product databases (e.g. child car seats, camcorders, digital cameras, televisions, cell phones, investment funds, health insurance companies, medicines, vacuum cleaners, mattresses, interest) cost a maximum of 5 euros.
Until 2012, users in the chargeable area were able to weight the weighting of the individual test points according to their needs under “My judgment” and thus determine an “individual test winner”. In 2012 this function was replaced by extended sorting and filtering functions.
Meaning of the evaluation grade
The number resulting from the assessment is assigned to a quality category according to the school grades scheme in Germany:
- 0.5-1.5: very good
- 1.6-2.5: good
- 2.6-3.5: satisfactory
- 3.6-4.5: sufficient
- 4.6-5.5: poor
One problem with product tests is that it is never possible to include all products on the market in a test, but that a selection must be made on the basis of market relevance or product properties. The offer in the store is therefore much more confusing than in a test publication. Stiftung Warentest tries to counter this fundamental dilemma by including the most popular products in a test on the one hand and by offering so-called product finders on the Internet, which summarize several tests of a product category in a database and thus often come up with several hundred tested models.
Advertising with test results
Since July 2013, advertising with test results from Stiftung Warentest has been subject to a charge. The price range extends from 7,000 euros net for advertising on the product and in media other than cinema or TV for one year, up to 25,000 euros for two years in all media. Before July 2013, a processing fee of only 500 euros was due. Stiftung Warentest has commissioned the non-profit company RAL, the German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labeling , to issue the license .
Until April 24th, 2008 the Stiftung Warentest used the following word-image mark :
Since then, the publications and logos for advertising with test results from Stiftung Warentest have been marked with the following uniform symbols:
The legally responsible and independent Stiftung Warentest is, in accordance with its statutes, equipped with the three foundation bodies of the board of directors , the board of trustees and the board of trustees and is based in Berlin. The foundation supervision lies with the Berlin Senate Department for Justice .
The sole director has been Hubertus Primus since January 1, 2012 . His predecessor was Werner Brinkmann from 1995 to 2011 , and his predecessor was Roland Hüttenrauch from 1972 to 1994 (1928 to 2006). The foundation's first chairman of the board in 1964 was Hans Otto Wesemann . Another member of the five-person, honorary board when the company was founded was Erika Luther .
Board of Directors
The board of directors is appointed by a seven-member board of directors and its activities are monitored. The politician Lucie Beyer was one of the chairmen of the board of directors from 1972 to 1984 . From 1999 to 2012 the chairman was the legal scholar Karl-Heinz Fezer . Economist Andreas Oehler from the University of Bamberg has been chairman since April 2012 .
Other board members include:
Other former board members include:
Board of Trustees
The board of directors and the administrative board are advised by an 18-member board of trustees on all fundamental issues. It consists of one third each of the representatives of the business associations, the consumer protection organizations and the expert authorities.
The board of trustees includes the following people:
The following people participated in the Board of Trustees:
- Werner Brinkmann (later board member of Stiftung Warentest)
- Thea Brünner
- Klaus Müller
- Franz-Georg Rips
- Friedrich Wilhelm Schwartz
- Lukas Siebenkotten
The Stiftung Warentest has given itself a new structure on January 1st, 2012. So there is not more separate editorial offices and investigation departments, but topics teams for the magazines test and financial test and the website test.de publish.
- Hans-Dieter Lösenbeck (1966 to 1999)
- Hubertus Primus (1999 to 2011)
- Anita Stocker (since 2012)
- Hubertus Primus (1993 to 1999)
- Hermann-Josef Tenhagen (1999 to 2014)
- Heinz Landwehr (since 2015)
Collaboration with other institutions
International community tests
International community tests are usually carried out as comparative product tests with the umbrella organization International Consumer Research & Testing (ICRT) in London and mostly under the leadership of Stiftung Warentest.
Larger partner organizations
- Consumer Reports in Yonkers , United States of America
- Which? in London , UK
- Consumentenbond in The Hague , Netherlands
- Union fédérale des consommateurs in Paris , France
- Test Achats / EuroConsumer in Brussels , Belgium
Smaller partner organizations
- Fédération romande des consommateurs , Switzerland , Lausanne
- Consumer Protection Foundation , Switzerland, Bern
- Association for Consumer Information (VKI), Austria , Vienna
- Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC), Brussels , Belgium
- Consumers International (CI)
- European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), Crete , Greece
- Foundation of Consumer Centers for Independent Quality Assessments at the Russian Consumer Association
- Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin
- German Institute for Standardization (DIN), Berlin , among others in the consumer council of DIN
- German Commission for Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Information Technology (DKE), Frankfurt am Main
- German Food Book Commission
- Evaluation and information service for food, agriculture and forestry
- Insurance ombudsman
- RAL German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labeling , Sankt Augustin
- Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Dessau
- Federal Association of Consumers (vzbv), Berlin
- Literature from and about Stiftung Warentest in the catalog of the German National Library
- 40 years of Stiftung Warentest, December 2004, Berlin
- 45 years of Stiftung Warentest, Berlin 2009
- Hans-Dieter Lösenbeck : Stiftung Warentest - A Review 1964-2002 , ISBN 3-931908-76-3
- G. Silberer & H. Raffée (Eds.): Product test and consumer . Campus, Frankfurt / New York 1984.
- Kevin Rick: The establishment of Stiftung Warentest as the “second best solution”? Consumer policy between consumer associations and the state in the 1960s . In: Historical magazine. Volume 303, No. 2, October 2016, pp. 428–456 (DOI: 10.1515 / hzhz-2016-0382).
- test.de: Economic figures from Stiftung Warentest
- Annual reports of the Stiftung Warentest
- In the secret laboratory of Stiftung Warentest: This is how the testers from Nation Spiegel Plus work on March 22, 2019
- “The quality is more important than the price” , Tagesspiegel , December 15, 2006, interview with foundation board member Werner Brinkmann
- The vacuum cleaner show , Zeit online 2008, accessed on December 22, 2009
- Article about the right and wrong advertising with test results at Wahr.de
- Consumer information obligation for advertising with a test result at jurpc.de
- LG Duisburg: False test advertising at Aldi
- Presentation of the legal basis for advertising with test results
- ↑ Structure: This is how the foundation is organized - Articles of Association: The Basics of Test Work, §1 (2) , test.de , accessed on September 16, 2016
- ↑ Germans want foundations to be socially committed ( memento of October 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), source: www.stiftungen.org / Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen, Hamburg, September 30, 2013.
- ^ History of the Stiftung Warentest test.de, accessed on January 6, 2020
- ↑ a b Kevin Rick: The establishment of the Stiftung Warentest as the “second best solution”? Consumer policy between consumer associations and the state in the 1960s . In: Historical magazine . tape 303 , no. 2 , October 13, 2016 ISSN 2196-680X , doi : 10.1515 / hzhz-2016-0382 ( degruyter.com [accessed on November 1, 2016]).
- ↑ Hans-Dieter Lösenbeck: Stiftung Warentest - A Review 1964-2002 , p. 16.
- ↑ Hans-Dieter Lösenbeck: Stiftung Warentest - A Review 1964-2002 , p. 47.
- ↑ Svenja Bergt: Vanilla made properly. In: taz . January 14, 2014, accessed January 14, 2014.
- ↑ Andrea Exler: War between Stiftung Warentest and Öko-Test. In: welt.de . May 30, 2007.
- ↑ a b Facts + Figures: Editions, test results and economic data , test.de , accessed on May 28, 2018.
- ↑ Lina Panitz: Stiftung Warentest reports historical loss. www.welt.de, October 27, 2012, accessed December 15, 2016 .
- ↑ Marco Wurzbacher: Criticism of the Stiftung Warentest rebounded. A difficult year for the testers. In: HardwareSchotte.de . May 16, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- ↑ Foundation assets are increased. From the archive on Deutschlandfunk. www.deutschlandfunk.de, December 13, 2016, accessed on July 6, 2019 .
- ↑ Markus Bautsch: Usability and practical value , Table 35.1, p. 794, in: Tilo Pfeifer, Robert Schmitt (Ed.) Masing Handbook Quality Management , Carl Hanser Fachbuchverlag Munich Vienna, 6th revised edition (2014), ISBN 978-3-446 -43431-8
- ↑ http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/343/mangelhaft_wie_die_stiftung_warentest_zu_ihren_endungen_kom.pdf .
- ↑ Advertising: Stiftung Warentest calls for fees for quality seals , Spiegel online (accessed online on May 17, 2013).
- ↑ RAL Logo License - General Terms and Conditions (pdf) RAL LOGO LICENSE . October 16, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- ↑ New corporate design for Stiftung Warentest - changed conditions for advertising with test results . On: test.de.
- ↑ When monkeys burn and washing machines explode , Tagesspiegel from May 12, 2011 (online).
- ↑ test, magazine of the Stiftung Warentest, 20th year, January 1985, pages 3, 17 and 18
- ↑ Board of Directors: The committee members , Stiftung Warentest (accessed online on July 7, 2016).
- ↑ Kuratorium: Die Gremien members , test.de , accessed on July 7, 2016.
- ↑ Organization chart of Stiftung Warentest , accessed online at www.test.de on March 9, 2012.
- ↑ International Consumer Research and Testing (ICRT) .
- ^ Stiftung Warentest and BfR sign cooperation agreement , BfR, October 21, 2005, accessed on February 21, 2014.
Coordinates: 52 ° 30 ′ 15 ″ N , 13 ° 21 ′ 12 ″ E