A while ago I wrote an iBotta Review which was a great way to earn money for grocery shopping if you had a smart phone. Many of you have really been thriving with it and realize the value in getting paid for something you'll do anyway. Unfortunately many of you have “mentally challenged” cell phones (aka dumb phones) so you couldn't take advantage of that opportunity. Well I think I may have stumbled on an alternative that you may be interested in. So let's dive into my National Consumer Panel Review to determine if this is actually worth your time.
What is National Consumer Panel (NCP)?
National Consumer Panel or NCP is basically a market research company that rewards people like you and for scanning your groceries. NCP is actually the marriage of two leading companies Nielsen & IRi and has been operating since 1923 (according to the BBB).
Speaking of the Better Business Bureau, NCP under their parent company Nielsen has a rating of A+ at the time of this review. But take that with a grain of salt because of what I've written here in my Work At Home Better Business Bureau article.
How does National Consumer Panel work?
So unlike most market research companies to even join their database your household demographics must match what they're currently in need of.
- But once you are signed up as a free panel member and accepted into the program, you just go about your business of grocery shopping.
- Once you've completed your shopping you use a handheld NCP scanner provided by the company to scan your groceries. This is provided if your household qualifies for one. If not, you will have access to an NCPMobile app to scan barcodes on groceries you've purchased.
- You will also be answering surveys and recording other info about your shopping trips (i.e. where shopped, how much paid, purchase method, etc).
- Once a week you will need to transmit all shopping data to NCP.
If that sounds like too much work then you may want to look into Fusion Cash & Swagbucks.com instead which is a lot easier ad doesn't require any shopping or scanning.
National Consumer Panel Rewards: Show me the money
National Consumer Panel rewards you with reward points for each completed week of shopping and data recording activity.
You'll need about 8k points minimum for cash out. These points can be redeemed for a variety of merchandise via the National Consumer Panel gift catalog. Points can be redeemed for iTunes gift cards, charity donations, household items (vacuum cleaners, small kitchen appliances, etc) and some other things.
You can also use these points to buy cash sweepstakes entries and they can be used towards National Consumer Panel Perks & Discounts. Member participation also entitles you to their NCPRewards+ program which is basically special discounts at major retailers like AT&T, etc.
If you want something that can earn you real cash then you may want to look into Fusion Cash & Swagbucks.com instead.
National Consumer Panel Complaints: No one is perfect
I don't know about you but as I started reading more about the company there were some things that rang off in my mind. But just in case you missed them, I'll break down the possible complaints you'll probably have against NCP. Just keep in mind that every company will have some aspects that people don't like. It doesn't mean it's a scam. But nonetheless you should know what they are to make an informed decision. So here are some of the things that may concern you.
No immediate acceptance
Being immediately accepted into the program is NOT guaranteed because acceptance is based upon if/when there is an opening or a need for specific household demographics, so availability could take a while in some cases. This sucks but I get why. Like all market research everything is based on supply and demand. If they already have a good supply of people that match your household demographic then there is no point in recruiting you. So although it may seem like they're being exclusive for the sake of it, there is a business reason behind it.
Recording product info is too time consuming
Scanning each product is not really a problem but it's the other required info needed that takes up way too much time. Folks have had frozen foods begin to thaw while going thru the info recording process … wow, that's crazy lol. It's not worth it nor does the reward point value match the efforts. I tried doing this for a bit and it was very tedious especially if the machine wasn't working properly.
Unfortunately the scanners don't always work properly. And when I was doing this before smartphones. So I didn't have the option of an app. That said when you did have problems with the scanner, you have to send it back and then there are delays sometimes when trying to receive a scanner replacement. It doesn't happen all the time but when it does it's a hassle and given the rewards are limited it's not always worth it.
Reward points take too long to accumulate
I love the idea of getting rewarded for what I'm already doing. But I want those rewards to be appealing like Paypal payments, checks, direct deposit or a wide range of digital gift cards like Instagc offers me. Unfortunately NCP seems to be content with limiting us with less choices. That alone would probably be a deal breaker for me and why I stopped participating in this opportunity many moons ago.
Robot member support
Unfortunately like so many companies today you're faced dealing with annoying automated recording prior to talking to live support. Eventually you do get to speak to someone though. It's just the day and age we live in folks!
So is National Consumer Panel Scam or Not?
I know everyone likes to throw that work scam around a lot to describe any company they don't like for whatever reason. But that's not how I roll and I try to be objective as I can. So with that said despite the complaints I listed above, I don't think National Consumer Panel is a scam. You can earn rewards for participating if you can get in.
But personally I stop participating in programs like this because they were a hassle and the limited rewards just weren't appealing to me given the effort required. However everyone is different and you may find this opportunity to your liking. If so at least you know what to expect before you join.
If you're looking for a way to make some real money online without having to scan groceries then you may want to check out some of the options I have personally made money with right here. I can literally teach you step by step how I've made some serious money and you can too in time.
Well that's enough for me guys. Hopefully you enjoyed this review. I would love to hear your thoughts about this company and opportunity. Is it appealing to you, would you be willing to try it? Let me know by posting a comment down below.
Until next time,
Eddy with a y
30 thoughts on “Review of National Consumer Panel”
Great Experience for me! I use the Mobile App !
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Hi Eddy, I was just accepted for the NCP and wanted to check out regarding it being legit when I ran across your site:) Thank you for the work you’ve put into your post:) What I’m interested in is, first I am going to give it a go and let you know, but has anyone else done this without them sending a scanner? I’ve been approved, but instead of sending a scanner, I’m to download the app and use my phone instead? Just curious if anyone else is doing it this way and what their experience has been:) Again, thank you for your time:)))
You’re welcome Tasha.
I did all my research and checked the reviews before I got involved with NCP. I was so excited to finally get my equipment . So funny, the laugh was on me because when I first got my equipment it was broke. That wasn’t a big deal they sent me a new one. It did take awhile to get the new equipment and then I had to learn how to use it. Well then Christmas came and I didn’t have the time to deal with all the stuff they want you to do. Well if you get behind they send a billion e-mails reminding you to do your part and if it takes you more then a month you lose points and rewards. Oh and the rewards take you forever to get. They advertise that you can make money and win or use reward points for cool stuff. Let me tell you, it take a lot to every get enough reward points to get something from their catalog. Which the catalog is limited to things I didn’t really think was that great. You never see any money unless your lucky enough to win it. Then I got a lot of hateful letters and e-mails about returning their equipment. After Christmas I was very ill in the hospital and when I got home and was able to call them I explained that. The girl on the phone explain how to return the equipment and asked my to give her the tracking number. I also wrote it down for my records. One week later I receive several e-mails and two letters in the mail stating that I would be turned over to collections for their equipment. Now I called the company, several times tried working with them to find this equipment over the next month. My last call to them I spoke to someone that was so hateful and rude, she told me she didn’t care I was going to collection and I was a lair that they never called me that day about the equipment and that I never returned it. The return slip they give your in the box conveniently was invalid and if it wasn’t for the great people at FedEx I guess I would be in collections for that equipment. So anyone thinking about joining please don’t. It is such a hassle and not worth your time.
Wow, that’s crazy! This definitely doesn’t make this appealing to try.
I have been calling and calling to return the scanner, but no one answers. Receiving threatening letters to return the scanner or they will add it to my credit report. Requested labels l. Never opened the box
I’ve been told many times that I won things.
Like $1,000 Walmart gift cards , Amazon cards , Electronics , and the list goes on . Anyway, I have never received anything that I won from this National Consumer thing that keeps popping up on my phone . Not sure about this !?!? Red Flags . I might ask my relatives that owned Walmart for years .
I signed up for this and was accepted. Was so excited to get the scanner in the mail, and looked forward to using it. Then I realized what it entailed, which was fine. But where is the compensation? Oh I get entered into sweepstakes I have almost no chance of winning? Whoop-tee-do. and points? 6,000 points gets you a 10 dollar gift card. Pitiful. I got it in the mail 2 days a go, and Im shipping this thing back to them. Totally not worth my time. Why anyone would waste their time with this is beyond me.
I hear ya Jeff. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I signed up for ncp and they sent letters and emails staying that they sent me a scanner, but I never received it and I completely lost interest in them. Now I have a letter in the mail saying I owe them $200 for equipment I never received. There are no words for how pissed I am. There is literally no reason for me to have to go through this headache.
That’s crazy Jenna!
I’m contacting you for my non-computer friend. She was a panelist for 18 years. She needed a new catalog. They sent her one in Spanish. On request they sent her one in English. She compared catalogs… In three items alone there was a difference in 29,000 points in favor of the Spanish catalog!!!!!! Why? It’s an insult and blatant discrimination that the English panelists have to acquire more points! She has returned her unit and will contact State & Federal authorities about their unsavory practices.
Carol, thanks for sharing. You have to keep in mind all research companies are hired by different organizations. So with that said certain companies may pay more to learn more about a different demographic. Now that said it sucks for the demographics that aren’t as in demand but its really more about a supply and demand thing. You could even reach out and ask them why there is such a big disparity and I’m sure they’ll tell you the same thing.
Been an NCP member for many years now, I agree it can be time consuming to scan everything when you have a large order, and I am a bit disappointed that they took away a lot of the good prizes like iTunes cards. But when my scanner died a while back I emailed them and had a new one within a few days. The box it came in was reusable to ship the broken one back, all I had to do was turn the address label around. And I received points for the weeks I did not have a scanner! I’m looking at other companies, though, and will change if the prize list shrinks again. I did want to comment on transmitting my info to them, I have a direct wired connection between the scanner base and my WiFi router so the scanner automatically transmits my data weekly (overnight Sunday/Monday) I think.
Hey Dollar Billy,
Thanks for sharing your experience with NCP. It sounds like you’re enjoying it for the most part. It’s a shame they’re getting rid of the more appealing prizes.
Hi, overall I have had a good experience with this company, like many have said it is time consuming, you just have to get your family to help you as it makes it much faster. I won a 500.00 gift card not too long after I joined. I have ordered and received a set of silverware with my points. No problems with customer service.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I appreciate it.
This company is legit but very time consuming and it does take a long time to accumulate points. I did some time ago and stopped.
Yeah that seems to be the common consent Aletha. Thanks for sharing your experience and insight.
I signed up for this several years ago. They contacted me saying that they were out of scanners but would let me know when they would be sending me one. I never heard back from them for about 5 months. At that time I was to be receiving a scanner in 2 weeks. I never received one and I have not had any contact with them since or any explanation.
That’s unfortunate Del. You would think they would at least contact you. Did you ever follow up with them to see what happened?
Eddy, I joined this several years ago, but gave it up almost immediately. I found nothing wrong with the company, but it was a hassle trying to scan all the groceries while my frozen foods were dripping. I just did not want to put up with the hassle and got out of it. My opinion is that it is legit if you have the time to carry it through. I didn’t and that was MY problem.
Hey Sandy, Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve heard this same complaint. So thanks for reaffirming it. I appreciate you taking the time to chime in.
I’ve been a member for several years now. It does get somewhat time-consuming, I have had to send back a scanner twice – and I was very disappointed when they stopped offering some better rewards, including itunes cards! I have been considering quitting.
Thanks for sharing your experience with this company. It’s a shame they don’t offer a wider range of rewards because it would make this more appealing.
We have been with this company now for over 10 years, so we are up there in the point earning category. We also receive a 25% discount on our AT& T cell phone. I agree that at times it can be time consuming. It is much easier when stores do not require you to enter prices. The gift redemption changes on a basis. As for their customer service I have yet to have a problem. I will always send and email, I get a response in a very timely manner and I don’t have a problem on the phone when I call. I have had a scanner break on me, not bad for over 10 years of service. I did get a new one and it works just fine! It is a program that works good for my family, it isn’t for everyone! 🙂 I can say for me entering things with the scanner is very easy and fast for me! I have through the years turned in many points for items. My favorites were my NAO and LLadro, they no longer have them but that is okay, as I see a few things in the catalog that I am in need of and redeeming my points is much better than having to buy them! Keep up the posts!
Thanks for sharing your positive experience with us. Clearly you’re enjoying it and haven’t really experienced some of the issues we found and that’s great!
don’t have a smartphone so couldn’t do this one.
Don’t need one.