Abstract Many laws and regulations aimed at safeguarding consumers deal with the amount and kind of product information that consumers receive. Implicit in these regulations is the belief that consumers can make use of the appropriate information, provided only that it is made available. Recently a number of authors have argued that consumer decisionmaking is subject to consistent biases, suggesting poor purchase decisions may result even with access to the relevant information. Indeed some critics have argued that consumers may be subject to information overload so that they may make worse decisions with extra information than without it. The experimental results presented in this paper address some of these issues. The results suggest that untrained people can use simplifying strategies in quite complicated decision problems. Also, while information overload clearly can occur, the subjects in our experiments appeared able to ignore unnecessary or unwanted information.