Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about J.D. Power and by viewing our list of frequently asked questions.

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General Questions

What is J.D. Power?

J.D. Power is well known for our global marketing information based on independent consumer surveys of product and service quality, customer satisfaction, and buyer behavior. Each year, we interact with millions of consumers to better understand their opinions, perceptions, and expectations about a variety of products and services in more than a dozen industries.

Our services include customer satisfaction research, market research, and performance improvement programs.

J.D. Power: Integrity, Independence, Impact®

  • Conducts research used by companies worldwide to improve product quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Bases its research on feedback from millions of consumers and business customers worldwide.
  • Compiles studies that serve as industry benchmarks for measuring quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Does not publish or incorporate the opinions of J.D. Power or its employees in its rankings.

How does J.D. Power conduct its research?

J.D. Power surveys consumers and business customers by mail, telephone, and e-mail. We go to great lengths to make sure that these respondents are chosen at random and that they actually have experience with the product or company they are rating. For example, ratings for the Lexus IS come from people who actually own one. As a result, J.D. Power ratings are based entirely on consumer opinions and perceptions.

What is an index score?

J.D. Power uses a customer satisfaction "Index" as a means to determine most of its ratings and awards. To determine this Index, J.D. Power asks survey respondents to rate various aspects of their service or product experience. These vary by industry, but include such areas as customer service, billing, ease of use, etc. Based on these consumer responses, we then determine the importance of each of these areas and how each contributes to overall satisfaction. The consumer ratings on each of these areas, and their relative importance, are combined to create an overall numerical Index score--and this score determines which companies or brands receive a J.D. Power award.

What is the difference between Voice of the Customer feedback and expert opinion?

J.D. Power provides "Voice of the Customer" research based on actual survey responses from real consumers. J.D. Power represents the Voice of the Customer by translating survey responses from consumers and businesses into studies and reports that are used by companies worldwide to improve quality and customer satisfaction. These studies, reports, and Power Circle Ratings are based solely on Voice of the Customer feedback*.

J.D. Power researchers who conduct the surveys and prepare study results do not conduct product testing activities. J.D. Power does, however, leverage its expertise within the industries it serves to help companies improve their quality and customer satisfaction performance. Associates at J.D. Power also provide content on that showcases their expertise.

Other companies may provide their own experts to test products and services and generate ratings based on such expert opinions. But, this is not how J.D. Power operates. Our study results, reports, and Power Circle Ratings are solely based on the Voice of the Customer.

I had a negative experience with a product or service provider that ranked highly in a J.D. Power study. How can this be?

Even top performers occasionally receive poor ratings. However, when the responses from thousands of consumers are combined, industry leaders have higher overall ratings than their competitors. The expectation is that you are more likely to be satisfied with an industry leader than with those that receive lower overall ratings.

How do companies receive approval to use J.D. Power awards?

J.D. Power has strict guidelines for advertising claims, and every advertising claim related to a study is reviewed prior to publication to ensure accuracy. Only highest-ranked performers in pre-defined categories are allowed to license the use of J.D. Power awards in advertising.

Results are based on measures of customer satisfaction and quality by consumers that are proprietary to J.D. Power. Awards and performance ranking are based on numerical scores, and not necessarily on statistical significance. Our experience indicates that even when small differences occur in the scores of those being measured, these small perceived differences help drive competition in the marketplace, thereby improving product and service quality and driving increases in overall customer satisfaction.

How can J.D. Power information be unbiased when manufacturers pay for the studies?

J.D. Power industry benchmarking studies generally are not funded by the companies that are measured. Our syndicated studies are funded and owned by the company and based on the aggregated responses of consumer perceptions of product quality and customer satisfaction--not the opinions of J.D. Power. After the study results are published, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, and other industry participants can choose whether or not to purchase the study. Ownership of study data is key to the company's independence and unbiased position. This third-party perspective enables us to provide clients and consumers with credible and clear feedback. Although J.D. Power does conduct custom research for many clients to help drive quality and customer satisfaction improvement, results of this type of proprietary research are owned by the clients that commission the research and the results are not made available to the public.

I received a J.D. Power questionnaire but I've misplaced it. How can I request another survey?

At any one time, there are more than 400 projects in various stages of the survey/data collection process. Therefore, it is not feasible to provide another survey for a particular study and be assured that it can be included before the study closing deadline. We appreciate your interest in participating in our surveys; hopefully, there will be another opportunity in the future for you to complete one.

If you have additional questions about a J.D. Power Survey you have received, visit our Survey Helpdesk >

Why am I no longer receiving email communications from J.D. Power?

Due to firewall restrictions at the recipient level, some previous email subscribers may have been removed from the distribution list. If you are a previous subscriber but have not received any of our recent emails, please contact your IT department and have them designate the following domains as “safe” to receive email from:

Auto Questions

Why are ratings unavailable for certain models?

Many of J.D. Power's key automotive studies are conducted after a minimum of 90 days of new-vehicle ownership. As such, some newly introduced models have not been on the market long enough to obtain a sufficient sample size to provide accurate ratings. Additionally, for some low-volume vehicles (i.e., Aston Martin, etc.), it is difficult to accumulate enough survey responses during the survey period to make the results meaningful and reliable.

What do IQS, APEAL, CSI, SSI, and VDS stand for?

These are acronyms for J.D. Power's five key automotive studies that provide the data for this site:

  • Initial Quality Study (IQS)—provides manufacturers and suppliers with in-depth diagnostic information on new-vehicle quality after 90 days of ownership. The study uses problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) as a unit of measurement of owner reported problems.  IQS also includes quality comparisons by make and model, as well as by assembly line. More than 230 problems are identified, and all problems are categorized as either defect/malfunction or design-related problems. IQS has been an industry benchmark since 1987.

  • Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)—measures long-term quality after three years of ownership. Therefore, the 2014 VDS measures the dependability of 2011 model-year vehicles. The Vehicle Dependability Study is used extensively by manufacturers and suppliers worldwide to help them design and build better vehicles, which typically translates into higher resale values and customer loyalty. It also helps consumers make more-informed choices for both new- and used-vehicle purchases.

  • Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL)—identifies new-vehicle owner likes and dislikes during the first 90 days of ownership. The study helps manufacturers and suppliers develop innovative new products and identify key features that “excite and delight” owners. It also helps automakers understand the relative importance of these features as perceived by owners. The study, which may be used to support new-product development initiatives, is based on new-vehicle owners’ evaluations of more than 75 attributes in 10 categories. The APEAL study was first conducted in 1996.

  • Customer Service Index Study (CSI)—measures the satisfaction of vehicle owners who visited the dealer service department for maintenance or repair work during the first three years of vehicle ownership. The study, initially launched in 1981, provides an overall customer satisfaction index score based on five measures: service initiation, service advisor, service facility, vehicle pick-up, and service quality. CSI is a nameplate study, which means that performance is reported at the nameplate level (i.e., Ford, Mitsubishi, etc.), rather than at the model level (i.e., Mustang, Eclipse, etc.).

  • Sales Satisfaction Index Study (SSI)—measures the satisfaction with the entire shopping and buying experience among new-vehicle buyers and lessees (Buyer).  It also examines new-vehicle buyers’ satisfaction with the makes and dealerships they shopped but rejected (Rejecter). The overall sales satisfaction index score is comprised of both the Buyer Index Score and the Rejector Index score each carrying equal weight. The Buyer Index is based on four measures: facility, salesperson, working out the deal and the delivery process.  The five categories of the Rejector Index include salesperson, fairness of price, experience negotiating, facility and variety of inventory.  SSI is a nameplate study, which means that performance is reported at the nameplate level (i.e., Ford, Mitsubishi, etc.), rather than at the model level (i.e., Mustang, Eclipse, etc.).