I hear your dilemma. Even if we discount CR as being "not very independent", and to a certain extent, a popularity contest, you'd still be left with "I don't know a single person who has an American Range residential piece of equipment!". Also, I think the ratings may also have to do with low expectations for GE (easily achieved, or close to it) and friggin' high expectations for AR (achievable provided they're realistic and the person using it understands how to get the most out of it.)
That was actually exactly my concern when trying to research these convection ovens. I spoke to the company and they put me in touch with 3 people who had this oven in their operations. Once I spoke to the 1st guy, I didn't have to go any further. While I got the names from the company themselves, I took it for granted that once speaking on the phone to them, I'd get honesty. I asked the pointed questions and was more than satisfied with the information I got.
Maybe you can do something similar through an AR distributor?
I know you're the one buying this, but my feelings are that American Range does what they do well - commercial or residential. They seem like solid, well-made pieces of equipment, without all the bells-and-whistles people think they love. Look at how simplistic their designs are, while still incorporating new baking technologies! So they're no circuit boards to get fried, etc.
Good luck! And I'm interested to know how it all works out.
*1 disclaimer* I have never seen, much less used any American Range residential equipment. But their commercial line blew me away to such a degree that I now have such faith in the quality of all their equipment.**