Vindale Research is well known company that lets participants take online surveys in exchange for cash. They have less than glowing reviews online, however, and Consumer Affairs has them at a 1.7 star rating out of 5, and Reviewopedia just 2/5 out of the 156 member reviews. Yelp isn’t much better with just 2.5/5 stars. Across forums and around the internet, people everywhere are accusing Vindale Research as being a giant scam and fraudulant company that refuses to pay their participants.
But.. is any of this true? Let’s take an in depth look at Vindale to find out more about them.
How does Vindale Research work?
When you sign up, you’ll be invited to take part in “studies” for cash. The studies come on a first come, first serve basis and some even claim you may take them up to 10 times per day.
They also encourage you to sign up for their panel offers, which are just other online survey companies. They connect you to places like Pinecone Research, Global Test Market and MySurvey Panel, among many more. The more companies you sign up for, the more offers you’ll get.
According to online ads, you’d think you could easily earn a full time living from this. They claim you can earn $5 – $75 per survey and that there are plenty of opportunities to take them.
Some ads on Craigslist even go so far as to claim you can earn up to $1,600 per month!
After signing up it’s soon discovered most of the surveys they offer are nowhere near the $5 – $75 per survey claim they make! While a few did show around $5, they were few and far between and there’s a good chance you probably won’t qualify to take it.
How do you actually get $75 for each survey?
The surveys that pay larger amounts are a particular type of product testing and aren’t as widely available to everyone as they make it seem. Also, the high payment amounts associated with these are rather deceptive.
The surveys that do pay $5-$75 usually require you to test out some type of product or service and consequently will require you card card. Why? Because you’ll have to actually buy the product or service they want you to review, or at the very least sign up for a trial offer.
I would be extremely hesitant to participate in any surveys that required a credit card. If you have to spend $145 to test out say, car insurance, and the survey pays you $50… you made nothing. In fact, you lost a lot of money.
If you sign up for a “free” offer, your credit card details will automatically sign you up for future payments or products, so you’ll have to make sure you cancel before that happens. You’d have to carefully read the site’s terms of service to know exactly what you were getting yourself into.
According to the BBB complaints on Vindale Research (known as SayForExample,Inc.) there have been many who’ve signed up for these credit card surveys and ended up with nothing but unwanted credit charges.
Of course, you obviously don’t have to take any surveys that require you to put down a credit card beforehand. The thing to keep in mind is they’re the only surveys that pay any type of decent amount, and even then, you’re going to have to spend money to take the survey in the first place so it’s probably not as much profit as you may think..
Vindale does offer a lot of surveys on a daily basis, but most of them pay basically nothing. In fact, most of them pay less than a dollar and take anywhere from 4 – 45 minutes to complete.
In fact, here’s a sampling of surveys I found that were ridiculously low paying. They take about 30 minutes to complete, on average, and all pay significantly less than a dollar. These weren’t just cherry picked either, the majority of them were this low. I was able to find a handful above $2 but they weren’t very common.
Although the company may seem to offer a ton of surveys, there’s a good chance you won’t qualify to take the vast majority.
According to Vindale’s terms of service, reasons for disqualification may include:
- Inconsistent answers to survey questions (they tend to ask the same questions over and over again throughout each survey, if you’re lying it’d be easy to screw up)
- Survey demographical quota limit has already been reached
- The survey has specialized qualifications you don’t meet (for example, you need to have purchased a color printer for your business in the past 6 months, or have stayed at a particular chain of hotels recently).
- You didn’t take long enough to go through the survey in relation to the survey’s complexity (if you’re not being genuine, they’ll know).
You may be disqualified from taking up to 90% of surveys offered.
What’s extremely time consuming about this is you’re not prescreened. For each survey, participants must go through and answer screening questions, which could take up to 10 minutes and sometimes even longer.
According to Consumer Affairs, many users have been kicked out of surveys just minutes or seconds before completion. Perhaps it was the case of the company believing they were going to complete it in too short an amount of time, but we’ll never really know for sure as they won’t ever tell you.
Unlike most survey companies that offer a wide variety of “prizes” for payments (like gift cards), Vindale sticks to simple cash.
You can opt for a PayPal deposit or a mailed check, although the mail route could take up to 2 weeks.
On Hold Payment issues
Vindale seems to have a shady history when it comes to payment. According to complaints on Consumer Affairs, several people have had their payment get put on hold and were requested to send proof of their identity, such as a driver’s license to the company. This seems a bit odd considering out of all the survey companies out there, plus all the affiliate marketing programs I’ve joined, I’ve not once had to submit my drivers license for payment.
Upon further digging, within their terms of service page it does indicate they have the right to hold payments and request photo identification to “prevent fraud”. They won’t give a reason other than the case of fraud prevention, although the requests for ID seem random. It happens often to people who have received prior checks from Vindale, sometimes even to those who have been with them for years.
If this was something truly necessary you would think they’d make it clear upon signing up under “required documentation” or something.
Either way, I wouldn’t trust sending out that sort of information to such a company.
How long does it take to earn money?
The company has their minimum payment cashout set at $50 which is low compared to other survey cashouts. Because you get paid so little for each survey you take, it could take a very diligent person months to reach it, and most will give up before they get close.
“I have been with Vindale a couple of years now and have received 4 or 5 $50 checks. You have to be consistent with your surveys.” – via Survey Police
The above quote seems to be the norm among people who work from Vindale. You have to constantly keep up with surveys and spend a lot of time on them even to receive their extremely nominal payments.
So in short, it will take a minimum of a month or two to reach the $50 and that’s assuming you’re visiting the surveys on a daily basis. It’s a lot of effort for very little in return, so you just have to decide if that’s worth it.
So, is Vindale Research a scam?
While Vindale Research may not be a full fledged scam (many members who reach the $50 do receive actual checks in the mail or paypal deposits), there are still too many questionable things going on within this company that I can’t recommend anyone join. Their ID requirement isn’t ethical, they disqualify you from most surveys and they hardly pay enough to make it worth the while.
There are a lot of other online survey companies to join if that’s your cup of tea.
If you think about it, you could go work a minimum wage job for literally a single 8 hour shift and get paid MORE than you would with months of effort taking surveys here.
I understand the appeal of being able to get paid working from home, or trying to earn extra money to help with bills. But online surveys are hardly the most effective way to do it. The truth is there are just much better options than taking surveys online with Vindale.
I made 50 in about 8 hours of work.