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National Consumer Panel: Accepting New Members

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Several months ago, I posted about the National Consumer Panel and want to let you know that they’re once again accepting new members! The National Consumer Panel focuses on measuring consumer attitudes and behavior. As a panel member, they will provide you with a hand-held scanner. Every time you or members of your household shop, you’ll use the scanner to scan the barcodes on all of your purchases. Then, once a week, you’ll send them your purchase information. As a reward for doing so, you’ll earn gift points that are redeemable for name-brand merchandise, including electronics equipment, jewelry, household items, toys, and more!

Many readers have emailed me to let me know that their kiddos love to participate in the scanning process. It’s a great way to teach your kids about budgeting while making them feel very important! Make it a family activity and get everyone involved!

Interested? Head on over here and fill out the application and you’ll be on your way to becoming an NCP panelist! Keep in mind that not all areas may be needing panelists at this time, so you’ll need to first register to find out if they’re currently needing panelists in your area.

Check out what some readers have said about National Consumer Panel…

I was on the waiting list for 3 years and have now been scanning for over 1 year! Love it! The surveys are great too! I love saving those points for a really good prize of my choice!!!

I finally got accepted after applying three times! I’ve had mine about a month and it’s kinda fun! If you do have a huge trip to the grocery store with coupons and everything, it does get a little confusing but most of the time it isn’t bad at all. My son loves to help me scan things and put up the groceries now! =) You earn points for scanning and transmitting every week but there are other ways to earn points too such as taking surveys and they even gave me 1000 points just for being accepted!

I have been a panelist for over a decade now, have moved countless times and have been through graduate school, am the sole bread winner in my family and a single parent. Just like anything else in life, if you create some processes and a system to support the required scanning activities, participation doesn’t have to be all that time-consuming. I have redeemed my points for iPods and won $500 in one of the monthly sweepstakes. I’ve had to replace my scanner twice and have never had an issue with the customer service center. My experience has been mostly favorable with the Panel and I have always read the fine print to fully understand what I signed up for.


Side note, I know the National Consumer panel is not for everyone as I have heard good and bad reviews. However, lots of readers have signed up and been really happy due to receiving surprise cash incentives in the mail. So, even if you don’t get accepted to be a panelist, you may receive a surprise just for signing up! :)

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30 Hip Readers Commented

  • Brittany Lightfoot says:

    Question.. can you scan your items once you get home from the store, or are you supposed to do it in the store? Shopping with a 3 year old and a 4 month old, my husband and I try and get the heck out of Walmart as fast as we can! hahaha..anyone know??

    • Kathi says:

      When you get home from the store. It is not something you can put in your bag and take with you. Hope that helps.

    • Cassandra says:

      Ah! I was wondering about this too! I’m glad you can scan it all when you get home from shopping. I didn’t apply for this site at first because I didn’t want to look weird walking around a store scanning items, lol.

    • Jodie says:

      I find it easier to scan at the store. I scan as I put my items in my cart I sometimes forget how much the coupons were worth once I get home so by doing it at the store I get to put in the right coupon amount. I never seen to notice anyone looking at me funny for scanning stuff though.

      You can scan the item once you get home though.

  • CourtneyAmanda says:

    You do it after you are home. It’s a little time consuming, even still.

  • Melanie says:

    I would like to read some of the bad reviews.

    • Kathi says:

      I did it for 6 months and finally couldn’t keep up. You have to be diligent and semi organized and I’m not. It is really good if you can get in a routine and stick to it. It was just not for me. Unlike a survey panel where you can pick and choose which surveys to fill out when you have time, NCP needs you enter every singe transaction. The customer service was always very helpful and super nice people. If you are a couponer, it was a lot more work. It advertises that many store prices are already in the scanner, but only one store of mine was in the system (Target, Walgreens, Walmart and CVS were not). So, if it was not, you have to enter each price, tell it if it was on sale, enter the amount of the coupon used. If it is a coupon for $1/3, you had to break it down to 0.33 off each. And what frustrated me most was all the moneymaker deals that we do through Colin – the scanner beeps at you and tells you that you are wrong, so you have to adjust to make the deal balance out to $0.00.
      I do think it is a good incentive program and the surveys are fun, but I could not commit to it. I hope that gives you some constructive feedback on the cons.

    • Micki says:

      I agree with everything Kathi said. I’m been doing it for over 5 years and have finally decided to stop. It’s just too time consuming and I am very organized! There’s just no added benefit for doing it long term. It takes forever to earn enough points to buy a small toy. If you’re interested in taking survey’s for reward points, you might want to try Zoom Panel. If I can put a very vague dollar amount on my time, I’d say that I’ve earned enough points to purchase a $25 toy per year of participation.

    • Amber says:

      Soon after joining, I decided this program was not for me, mostly for time reasons. I went through the process of sending back the unit with their provided return label, and within a couple days, got confirmation through FedEx that it had arrived. Soon after that, I started receiving numerous emails and automated calls to return the unit. I ignored them for awhile, waiting for them to update their system. It never happened. I talked to a representative and explained the situation, and provided the delivery confirmation number. But instead of fixing the problem, they turned a collection agency on me! At that point, I was furious, and sent a lengthy email mentioning that I’m an attorney and detailing exactly what consumer laws they were breaking, and that they would be reported and/or sued if they didn’t stop wrongly harassing me. The problem stopped almost instantly. I don’t know if their records system is just that terrible, or they knew they had it back and were just attempting to double-dip and get some money out of me. Either way, I would never do business with them again or suggest them to anyone else. But that’s just my personal experience.

  • Deb says:

    I attempted this for a few weeks…there is only the 2 of us at home and I was still unable to keep up!
    I Q several times a week-sometimes multiple items in the same trans. Imagine trying to record every single purchase, every coupon!
    And the big grocery store visits were the worst! Dinner to get on the table, laundry, errands to run and I have to stand there and enter all these items! Yikes!
    I knew when I was licked and too smart to not return the device.
    Weigh your lifestyle carefully before you take this on…

    • michele says:

      I have just started and so far so good. I am a little confused on why I see “extra transmissions” on my account and it doesn’t seem to credit me for all my purchases. Has anyone else had this problem?

      • becky says:

        I also had that problem once and realized that I had been a day early with my transmission. If you transmit more than once in a 7 day period, it will show up that you have extra transmissions and will not credit you for that week. Hope that helps.

  • loreina says:

    I’ve been a member since June, and I really enjoy it. I shop twice per week so we just scan before putting our goods up. I do Q and have many transactions, but I usually remember what I pay for everything and what coupons I’ve used, and I always have my receipts handy. It makes my daughter feel like she’s a cashier lol!
    If anything else comes in, I enter it before I put it up, but my routine is usually the same.
    I transmit every Sunday. I’ve received a few “thank you ” gifts in the mail, and my points are adding up fairly quickly. I’m happy so far!!

  • ceeska says:

    It’s a pass for me. I’ve read a lot of negative reviews on other sites. It sounds like you do a ton of work and it takes forever to save up enough points…. and then the rewards are cheap crap (pardon my language). There are many other programs out there that offer better and more tangible rewards. I’m on Swag Bucks, for example.

  • Lynne says:

    I have been doing this for about a year and a half. I like it. I find it takes only an extra minute or two when doing a small trip….maybe 5 min. when doing a big grocery trip. After a year and 3 months I had enough points to get a Step 2 play kitchen for my daughter. (70000 points) Shipping was said to take 6-8 weeks but I recieved in just over a week. Anytime I have had to call customer service they were very nice and helpful. I find it worth the couple extra minutes it takes to put my groceries away. I agree that at first it took a bit to get used to, but now its very easy. I get surveys maybe 2 times a week that give me 150 points each and generally take no more than 3 min each.

  • Samantha says:

    I’ve been a member for almost a year and if I do have large shopping trip to do I will take the scanner with me and do it as I put the groceries in the cart, you are asked to type in a total amount paid for each trip when you’re “finished shopping”, before you get to that point, turn the scanner off and then I do it as soon as I get in the car and I don’t have to do it when I get home. If you have the extra time 5-10 minutes (that’s a high estimate.. small trips of 10-20 items may only take 2-3 minutes) every time you shop it does add up. I’ve received a few gifts in the mail as a thank you for my membership, reusable shopping bag and a can/bottle opener … all in all you have to have the time to do it and the patience to let the points add up.. just like with SwagBucks you aren’t going to make $20 a week doing it {unless you have a ton of referrals! :) }

  • michele says:

    @ Becky…thanks for your help!!! I thought that every time you shopped you were to send it in. I think I am understanding now. So… I should enter all my purchases for the week and transmit at one time? Do I only get 150 points a week regardless?

  • Amy says:

    I had a great experience except for transmission difficulties that could not be resolved. My phone just would not connect with NCP after a few weeks. Customer service was so-so. I would gladly sign up again, but I’m afraid that my phone is not compatible with their system.

  • Cathy K. says:

    I’ve had a good experience as well and have been a panel member for slightly over two years now. Will I ever make a ton of money from this? No. However, I do get one approximately $25.00 gift per year so that’s a plus.

    I would also urge people to give it a try as there’s no long term commitment. And, the one thing that I feel is super important, I feel I’m making a difference. My input goes to the manufacturer’s and it’s another vehicle (in my opinion) for them to realize that there are people out there that are searching for bargains and who use coupons on a regular basis. Keep those coupons coming!

  • Pat G says:

    Don’t bother with Natl. Consumer Panel – I’ve been a member for several years and while at the time I joined it was fun that is no longer true, In the beginning they’d send little gifts to you now and then but no more. It takes eons to earn points and it takes many thousand points to “purchase” anything at all from their “gift” catalog.

    In addition, many of their surveys ask very, very personal questions especially their yearly “demographic survey”. About 25% or so of the surveys ask you for your race, the race of your family members as well as your yearly income.

    In my family’s years of membership we made ONE (1) purchase with our points for a very crumby plastic stick vacuum for 40K points….our current point balance is 89K with equates to about $40.

    This will be our last month with them. It’s 100% NOT rewarding.

  • Bonnie says:

    I have been a dedicated member for over 2 years and have decided it is a total waste of my time. I was wanting to stay a member for a few more months, but then of course they dropped the item I have been working toward with the new 2012 gift catalog so I have just ordered something else I really didn’t want and as soon as it comes, bye bye National Consumer Panel. If you’re smart, you won’t even get involved with these folks and this ridiculous scheme. They get paid big bucks by business for all the info we provide by using our time/effort and reluctantly give us peanuts in return.

  • Dorothy says:

    Just wanted to say I applied when you posted this in Nov and just got my scanner via fedex yesterday. I was surprised that I was accepted since I never really thought much about it once I signed up. So we shall see how this goes. Read some reviews some pros some cons but I will make the best of it and see how I do for this year. Since it is early enough in the year to get an overall picture of the value of points and extras that I may be able to do all just from shopping. Thanks Colin

  • Jennifer K says:

    I just got accepted and the scanner came in the mail. I setup my home network such that a MAC address is required to be entered into my router in order for that machine to be allowed to talk to anything. Well, I emailed NCP and asked if there’s a way to get the MAC address for my scanner. No reply. I called them on my own after a few days of being ignored via email. They said there wasn’t any way to get the MAC address, you can only get the IP address. Knowing they were being morons, i said ok fine how do you get the IP address and they said to hold Function and 0 while the scanner is in the cradle and you’ll get a menu where you can get the scanner info. So I did that and what do you know, the MAC address is there.

    Fast forward to that evening, I get a reply email to my original request stating “i see you called and got an answer”. It seems as if they avoided answering me and then finally replied when I had already solved my own issue. Then I replied that I did get the MAC address but the scanner still wouldn’t transit and that I “Might have to send it back” i got an email back the next day with no offers of help, just a form letter on how to return the scanner.

    This ticked me off. A good company would see what your issue was, try to help you, and if all else fails, then ask you to return the equipment. Not these folks, they could give a rats a@@ about their users, apparently.

    I’m still hell bent on getting this thing to transmit but honestly after reading other reviews I’m thinking it won’t be worth my time, but now I’m worried about returning it and getting the same hassle that others did.

  • A nnie says:

    I was accepted and just read the comments on here and wrote an email that I no longer want in on this program… we shall see

  • Jennifer says:

    I just sent my unit back this week. I also wrote their leader (Lynne Morrison) an email that I trusted this process would go smoothly (read: don’t give me any hassle because you are NOT ready to deal with me) and of course I’ve not heard back from her. Such a horrible company. Don’t waste your time. After doing it a few times, it really was more of a hassle than it was worth anyway.

  • Traci says:

    Well…I just got accepted and even though all of these comments are so negative, I’m still going for it. I have the summer off so that will give me time to get used to it before school starts again in August. I used to do surveys for another company but they took all my points so I basically said ‘screw you’ and left them several years ago. I had years of points accumulated..

  • Phurface says:

    This is such a waste of time and effort. You only get 150 points per transmission; and the minimum number of points needed for an award are 8500. If you have a helper, no problem, but for someone that routinely shops alone, save your energy.

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