OK gang, if any of you have any past experiences with a website called ProductTestPanel.com then I’d like to hear about them. I got an email this morning that I’m sure was little more than spam, but it caught my eye and piqued my curiosity. It basically said that Best Buy was looking for folks to participate in a Secret Shopper program during the holiday buying period and that if I signed up I’d be sent a $1,000 gift card that I could use to purchase whatever I wanted which I would be allowed to keep afterwards for nothing more than filling out a questionnaire about how my shopping experience was.
Now this immediately set off warning bells in my head especially seeing as the link provided didn’t have the words Best Buy anywhere in them, but money is very tight this year and even I am vulnerable to being tempted by a free grand to spend as I wish when faced with a possible empty Christmas tree this year. The link itself pointed to a subpage of a site called FineBaskets.net and if you go to the root URL for the site it displays a page about a company called “Bonus Bonez” with little info on what the company is about, but the full URL in the email ends up redirecting you to a page at RetailReportCard.com which is a subdomain of ProductTestPanel.com. The page presented gives some brief info on the Secret Shopper program that sums things up in three points: 1) Get FREE money to shop! 2) Complete a retailer survey. 3) Keep the things you buy! And it has a nice big picture of a $1,000 Best Buy gift card. There’s a small FAQ outlining what a Secret Shopper is expected to do such as pay attention to the layout, cleanliness, and friendliness of the clerks as they shop and so on. Finally, there’s a spot to put in your zip code to see if there’s any opportunities in your area.
So I put in my zip code and found out that none of the BBs in my area needed anymore Secret Shoppers, but Circuity City was and it had a similar $1,000 offer. Checking the terms and limitations it appears that this is all quite legit and about all I open myself up to is some direct marketing in both email and/or snail mail most of which may consist of offers to try out products for free in exchange for answering surveys about the products. Seems you can opt-in for additional freebies by accumulating “points” to qualify with by agreeing to various offers from marketers as well. You’re not required to participate in anything you don’t want to, though.
It sounds great, but I’m always leery of anything that seems too good to be true or something for nothing (or not much effort) so I haven’t rushed to sign up yet. Mentioned it to Deadscot and he says he’s participated in something similar from time to time, though I didn’t get a chance to ask him if this was the same program before he had to rush off to work. So I’m turning to my regulars to see if anyone else has taken these folks up on their offer? Is this legit or a scam? Let me know if you’ve had any experiences with this company and how it went and whether you think I should bother. It’s certainly a tempting offer that would be a big help with gift shopping this year, but I just can’t shake my cynicism of it.