I recently signed up to be a member of the NCP or National Consumer Panel. In months past this program has found itself under the scrutiny of many bloggers and other online social networking groups that have been debating on whether or not NCP is a scam. Just typing "national consumer panel scam" into google draws about 183,000 results for this.
I think the biggest reason why people have shunned this program is because they were either misinformed, not provided enough details before signing up for the program, or unaware of what it takes to be an active panelist for NCP. The biggest gripe that I had found among those who called it a scam was that most of them were unaware of the fact that they would be receiving a scanner for transmitting purchases or that it does take some time to earn your points for rewards.
Today, I am hoping to debunk some of the hasty, nasty news about this program and share with you my experiences with them so far.
I first saw the NCP advertised on a freebie site called ThunderFlap. It was the first freebie listed on their site. It simply said " Get free stuff for scanning your purchases". I was curious. So I followed the links until I found myself applying for this opportunity. So We'll start with the basics.
The scanner I received looks like this, but your scanner may be very different as there are several models in circulation:
It was relatively easy to set up. I plugged it in, put a fresh 9 volt battery in it and busted out the manual that came with it. Inside the delivery box- it was neatly packaged and well protected with foam to ensure there was no damage in transit. Also included in the package was a d.v.d. welcoming me to the NCP with instructions on how to set up my scanner, how to use my scanner, how to scan my purchases, how to answer survey's using my scanner, how to transmit my data, and some info about the NCP website. A 2011 Store List was also included with pages upon pages of stores that are in my area that I may shop at and also a 2011 General Store list which includes stores other then grocery stores like shoe shops, cosmetic shops, and more. I also received a handy dandy reward catalog with some awesome looking rewards that I cannot wait to claim as my own. Then there were equally important, but not so interesting things like a privacy notice, a note on if I need to return my equipment, a return label, a form to fill out if I need my scanner repaired, and instructions to save the box. So, since I am still a "newbie scanner" I don't have very many points yet, but there are plenty of opportunities to acquire and earn them. I am hoping to share my scanning adventures with you as they unfold.
Now for all the informative stuff:
The National Consumer Panel consists of people from all demographic and geographic areas of the United States. By scanning the barcodes on their purchases and completing surveys, panelists' consumer voices make an impact in the marketplace. NCP is an operational joint venture between the two leading consumer insights providers in the United States - The Nielsen Company and SymphonyIRI Group.
For more information about SymphonyIRI Group, please visit www.symphonyiri.com.