Newest Review: ... they are very infrequent, there is no fixed pattern. Surveys are about all different topics, from beauty products, to food. I found they g... more
Shame about the customer service
Member Name: hcafclaura
Advantages: Quick payment, interesting surveys
Disadvantages: Customer surveys
Pinecone research is one of the better survey sites, that pay you to complete their surveys. They carry out online research on behalf of various companies and organisations.
More information can be found on the website www.pineconeresearch.co.uk.
I joined Pinecone around 2 years ago now. Unlike the majority of survey sites, Pinecone is very difficult to register with. They do not have a registration page on their website, and there are two main methods of registration. The first is referral. Every now and again Pinecone will email its current members offering them the opportunity to invite friends to join. The other way of registering is by clicking through an advertising banner on another website. These banners are pretty rare, as Pinecone do not recruit very often.
When you finally get round to registering, it is a pretty simple process. You are asked all the personal questions you expect, such as name, address etc, along with other questions such as how many people are living in your house and occupation. After that you are already do go.
Pinecone are quite strict with their members. If you miss a few surveys, they will suspect membership. If you are not the main shopper in your household, they will not allow you to join. If you are going on holiday for a couple of weeks it is worth letting them know so they can put a note on your account.
You receive survey invites direct to your emails. Sometimes invites are fairly regularly, perhaps one or two a week, and other times they are very infrequent, there is no fixed pattern.
Surveys are about all different topics, from beauty products, to food. I found they generally involve evaluating a new product, or advertisement, but this was not always the case.
I have had several product trials from Pinecone, which I find very enjoyable. Normally you will complete a product evaluation survey, and members are then asked at the end if they are interested in trialling the product. The product is then sent in to post with instructions of what you should do. A few days later you will receive another survey to your email inbox and have to answer questions about your experiences. I love doing these, as you often get a sneaky peak of a product before it goes on sale to the general public. It is also always good to get something for free.
Surveys take around 15 to 20 minutes, which for the size of the payment is pretty good. They can at times become quite repetitive, with similar questions asked over and over again, but I have found this to be the case with many surveys so Pinecone are not alone with this.
Occasionally members receive an email with the subject 'Household Questions'. These surveys are unpaid, and are basically a screen for future surveys. They are much shorter than the proper surveys, normally taking no more than 5 minutes to complete. These often lead to a paid survey, so it is very worthwhile doing them.
When I joined Pinecone, the payment was £4 for each survey, however I understand this has now decreased to £3 per survey for new members.
For the first few months payment was made via Luncheon vouchers. These were sent in the post, and usually arrived within a week of completing surveys. The list of places the vouchers can be used is huge, my favourite place to spend my vouchers was Nandos, but the list is endless. I would recommend checking with the store or restaurant before ordering, as I did have trouble using my vouchers at one particular fast food chain (Starts with an 'M' and ends with a 'nalds') despite their name been clearly listed on the vouchers.
Last year Pinecone started to pay via Paypal, which was much better as it meant you were not restricted as to where you can spend your reward. I found payment was made the next working day after completing a survey, which is very fast in comparison to some of the websites.
Until recently I have had very few reasons to contact Pinecone since joining. I have always been paid swiftly after completing a survey, and never had any technical issues with surveys.
If you have any problems, you are told to contact 'Karen Scott', who is also the sender of surveys.
A few months ago I did not receive payment for a survey I had completed. I waited a couple of days, and then sent a very polite email to Karen asking if she could look into this, as payment was usually very fast. I also sent a screen shot of my Paypal account, which showed no money had been sent.
I received quite an abrupt reply, basically accusing me of lying, and saying the money had been sent. I replied again politely explaining the money had not been sent. I did receive payment, but I found the manner of the emails quite rude.
Since then I have had no need to contact Pinecone until last week.
I noticed I had not received a survey in over 6 weeks, which was very ususual. Even during quiet spells I would always receive at least one survey a month.
I sent an email asking if there was something wrong with my account as I thought it was a little strange I had not had any surveys. This is the reply I received:
"Periodically we have found it necessary to refresh the composition of our research panel in order to stay current with changes in the general population and to provide clients with the broadest possible spectrum of consumer opinions. In doing so, on occasion we have had to discontinue the membership of some of our panelists.
Your household was on the list for deactivation and subsequently removed from the panel."
I was quite shocked by this. I always completed surveys immediately after receiving them, and put effort into my survey responses. What I found even more disappointing was that I was not contacted by Pinecone until I contacted them myself to ask what had happened. I feel this is not a good way of treating loyal members. I replied explaining my disappointment, but unsurprisingly, received no response.
I enjoyed my time as a member of Pinecone. They reward members well for survey participation. However I feel their customer service is awful, and really letting the website down.
Summary: It was good while it lasted