Do a quick search online, and there are dozens of apps that promise to pay you for doing simple things. A lot of them perform as promised and users are happy, but the FTC did recently file a complaint against an app for failing to live up to its promises.
Nicole Luboff has bought an X Box, a Go Pro, a vacuum and other items with her earnings from her favorite app, Swagbucks.
“I’ve earned almost $4,000 in the last few years,” Luboff said.
Not bad, considering she earned it all just by clicking on surveys or shopping via the app or site, but she didn’t earn cash, exactly. She earned Swagbucks.
“In order to redeem Swagbucks, you go to the Redeem page and you can get gift cards for Amazon, Groupon, Starbucks, Paypal,” Luboff said.
There are a lot of apps now that pay you in points, rewards or cash for answering surveys, watching videos, shopping or taking photos of places or products.
Field Agent’s Marc Yount says crowdsourcing market research makes sense.
“Things, like taking pictures or collecting price points or checking on a competitive product, can become really valuable information for our clients,” Yount said.
The Federal Trade Commission says numerous apps provide great opportunities for consumers, but the FTC just reached a settlement with one app following allegations it failed to deliver promised cash rewards for meeting exercise goals.
“We believed they were breaking the law,” Jason Schall, counsel to the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said. “The FTC investigated and came to a settlement that helped people get their money back.”
The settlement came to more than $940,000, and it’s not the government’s only case.
Schall says consumers should always educate themselves before using any app. Read online reviews to gauge others’ experiences, go to FTC.gov for information and read the fine print.
“But that’s not something I like to emphasize because, really, it’s the responsibility of companies not to deceive consumers by putting the important terms in the fine print,” Schall said.
“With apps that pay, it’s best to find one that works for you,” Luboff said. “If you don’t like taking surveys or you don’t like watching videos, there are other options out there.”
The Federal Trade Commission says it’s on the beat to make sure all apps are safe, and as new technologies provide opportunities for consumers, they also provide them for scammers.
Officials stress if you see something that isn’t right, it’s important to file a complaint at FTC.gov so the government can look into the issue.
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