It is with a heavy, frustrated, and coincidentally, sick heart that I write this blog post tonight. Since one of the major themes on this blog is about surveys, and I like to give my recommendations on what survey companies have worked for me, I also feel the need to share my negative experience with you, as it is in regards to a survey company that I otherwise would have highly recommended.
I have mentioned this quote in a previous post as being a part of my inspiration and vision to write this blog:
“You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.”
That being true, I also feel the need to share my lack of success as a warning to you to prevent you from potentially falling into the same trap. Take it or leave it, I know I would rather learn from others’ mistakes, so I hope that you will do the same.
If I talked to you yesterday, I would have had good things to say about Survey Sampling International d/b/a SurveySpot. However, what has just occurred has dramatically changed my perspective. I recently did an hour-long online forum with a $20 reward (on a side note, I had been invited to do one of these not too long ago with them, and found out they purposely invite more people than they need, so it turned out to be a total waste of time—I signed in early and was still rejected).
I checked my account yesterday, and saw that it had been credited, so I was going to cash out the $20 via PayPal. It kept kicking me out, so I assumed that it was problem with their new payout rules, even though I could not locate an issue. I had never had a problem before, and their PayPal funds were always available immediately, which I loved. I sent them an email, and continued doing surveys.
After finishing up a survey, I tried to log in to my account to check my points, but I was unable to. The next day, I received a generic email reply stating that my account had been terminated per the agreement– a generic, pre-fab email that explained nothing. I wrote them back, expressing my distress and asking for further clarification, and I got the same response again. I called a phone number for them and left a voicemail, and later got the same generic email from that person. I wrote them back, telling them that I would be contacting the Better Business Bureau, amongst other actions, if this was not resolved. I have yet to receive any additional response.
I now realize that I had a similar experience a few years ago, but at the time, I did not realize what was going on. At that point, I was qualifying for a lot of surveys with SurveySpot and making good rewards. All of a sudden, I just stopped getting survey offers, and lost the money I had in my account, because I could not get enough to reach the minimum cash out amount. I just figured it was a quirk in the system or something, and never did anything about it. I signed up again this year, and have been getting a ton of survey offers, and consequently, good survey rewards. I have never had an issue getting payouts previously.
Upon doing some research concerning my own issue, it is apparent that I am not the only one that has experienced this situation with SurveySpot, but rather one of many. And everyone describes the same circumstance– could not get their money, account terminated without specific explanation, and no remedy was ever obtained.
When I attempt to log into their website, it will not allow me to, and when I attempt to get my password, it says that no profile exists, so they have either completely deleted or disabled my account.
Below is the email response that they repeatedly sent to me:
“Thank you for your e-mail.
Your SurveySpot membership has been terminated in compliance with SurveySpot’s Terms and Conditions. http://www.surveyspot.com/OW/index.aspx?ChapterID=10641&FilterID=2323
Without limiting any other available remedies, SSI may, without any notice, suspend or terminate your account if you breach, violate or otherwise fail to abide by or comply with these Terms and Conditions.
In the event that SSI terminates your account pursuant to Section 17 of these Terms and Conditions, you will be deemed to have immediately forfeited your rights in and to any unredeemed reward points accrued prior to such termination, and SSI will immediately terminate your access to, and ability to redeem, such reward points. The foregoing rights and/or remedies are in addition to any other rights and/or remedies available to SSI, whether at law or in equity.
SurveySpot Member Services”
Though they are referring to items that are in their panel member agreement, nobody would agree to such an agreement if they knew a company would arbitrarily and without warning or explanation terminate their account so that they do not have to pay. Other complainants online have said that SurveySpot routinely terminates those who start to earn a lot/long-time survey-takers or those that only answer surveys that earn points upon completion (either of those could have been my “crimes”). At least if they are going to terminate people, they should offer some specific explanation as to why, and also offer the opportunity for the panel member to defend themselves against the supposed charges. I am very disappointed with this company and their deceptive practices.
Since it is obvious that they have tried this tactic with many others without resolution, I have already filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and have posted a negative ranking of the company on SurveyPolice.com (by the way, a great resource to find out the dirt on survey companies). If you look up SurveySpot on SurveyPolice, you will find that their overall company rate is 43.7% (which is pretty low), compared to my other favorite survey groups that are high in the top 10 as far as positive ratings go.
Now, what you do with this information is up to you. I will not tell you not to join SurveySpot, but I hope that you will look up online other individuals who can offer details of their experiences with SurveySpot, so that at least you can make an informed decision. As mentioned, I found similar comments from people on SurveyPolice and even SurveySpot’s own Facebook page. Another good resource is SurveySpot’s Better Business Bureau file. I would not be tricked by their A+ rating, as I have learned in the past that you can have horrible companies with numerous complaints that somehow still manage to keep a seemingly high overall rating. Do note that they have had 173 complaints in the last 36 months.
I will keep you all informed on any progress in the resolution of this issue, but I am not overly optimistic that I will be able to stop something that has obviously been in progress for a while now. I hope that you will forgive me for such a negative blog post, and that you will take my unfortunate circumstances as a vicarious learning experience as you get more involved in the world of survey-taking.
Though downturns like these are rare after so many years of survey taking, they still can occur, and I feel it is important that we all learn from each other ,and also that we collectively take part in stopping companies like this from practicing deceptive procedures. We refuse to work without pay! This is all part of the “Live Simply, Live Thrifty, Live Savvy” lifestyle– we will be savvy to when businesses are trying to take advantage of consumers.