This is a complaint against Vindale Research By: Charles Brewer.
I have been a Vindale member since 2009 and can attest to the fact that incentives for short studies (not their product evaluation surveys, which I do not participate in due to credit card and personal information security concerns) have rapidly declined beginning near the end of 2011 and became far worse throughout 2012. The $5 studies you mention are nowhere to be found on Vindale’s site, not for any short study. Further, there are constant computer glitches and super slow connections. In recent weeks, it has been impossible at times to access the site at all. Statements in regard to ‘computer glitches’ are posted on the website by their, ahem, ‘support team’ with regularity – usually at payout time! That should tell you something.
Another annoying problem of late is the fact that points already credited are often deducted again. Points remain ‘pending’ in what I have come to call the ‘you make it, we take it’ section, often as long as eight months and longer! Some are never credited, they simply ‘disappear.’ To date, I have in excess of $100.00 pending, most of which has been there for nearly a year. No point trying to convince me to be patient yet a little longer as I have had plenty of time for certainty in that they no longer conduct business with integrity. It seems there may have been several complete changeovers of those in charge, and only once for the better. Mostly, things continue downhill. One can only hope for eventual improvement or quit. I would but have too much time invested in ‘pending’ credits.
Further, I take issue with the setup of their claim ticket system. It only works for lost or unusually long missing credits for actual product surveys requiring home evaluation, not short studies. Therefore, members have no way of resolving short study issues. This is especially true if the study arrived via e-mail invitation, as these often start without showing the study ID once clicked. Even when members can name the study’s subject and completion date, Vindale won’t accept this as verification. They insist on an ID, yet, as already stated, often none was shown when the study was clicked, and when there is, the electronic claim ticket does not allow for the proper study information entries as it is only setup for product evaluations/surveys. If members ask Vindale to look into their account after stating subject and date of completion, they respond by saying that they cannot access the member’s account. Excuse me? If that were true, how could they possibly verify anything at all? How could surveys be credited (or held for credit) and payments be issued? And if, indeed, what they claim was true, then precisely who does access and verify account standings? One can only hope that their clients don’t have access to member accounts, which would be in complete violation of the membership agreement between Vindale and its members and could result in serious legal proceedings.
Since late 2012, Vindale began offering short studies, possibly as much as one in five, asking members to sign up for ongoing studies with their clients per ‘their’ e-mail invitation on a once per week or more often basis. Members are asked to give Vindale’s clients their full name, both postal and e-mail addresses and telephone number – all for $1.00. Right! All I ever wanted was to have my inbox inundated with yet more Spam, more rubbish in the daily mail and marketers ringing me up day and night as a result of furnishing my personal information to a company I know nothing about. But Vindale most likely encourages this and profits thereby. They are becoming more than ridiculous, ever more greedy and seemingly want to do no work at all.
At this time, unfortunately, Vindale simply does not accept genuine claims for non-credited studies. They will, however, give you endless red herrings designed to make you give up and forget about money they owe you – intentionally so, it would seem. Members, who become weary of rude responses, if their grievances are addressed at all, have no recourse short of cancelling their account, which brings us to one final issue.
When members do decide to cancel possibly having reached as much as $49 of the $50 threshold by that time, Vindale will not pay the $49 incentive. Their rules only, and always, favor them. That is nothing short of theft and truly despicable. Members do not participate solely for Vindale’s benefit as though they had nothing better to do.
Vindale paid $1.50 for even the shortest studies into late 2011, but as already stated, this has steadily and very rapidly declined and now appears to remain at $1.00 with no regard for difficulty and time invested. Higher incentives have become a thing of the past. Earlier incentives of perhaps $8, $10 or more for higher-level studies aimed at business owners or IT executives are never seen anymore. Well, actually this type study is still offered but requires a greater amount time than ever before for far less credit, precisely $1.00, regardless of content! It has become a predatory game and waste of precious time.
My advice to all survey participants is to sign up with various survey sites. Many offer honest support should there be an issue. After all, these sites make their money from member participation and would be wise to treat the hen laying their golden eggs with respect. If they won’t, may they disappear forever and good riddance!
By: Charles Brewer