Approximate time to read: 5 minutes
ProductTesting.uk.com is a company promising to provide free products for review purposes. Okay, they don’t say EVERYONE will get something but at least you could be in with a chance. I get enough products from companies, agencies and my own pocket to keep me busy but thought, as a lot of these companies can be “too good to be true” to see what happens. Sadly, it was worse than I could have imagined.
Currently they are offering iPhone 4S’s and are heavily promoting this with a Google+ and Facebook presence. Visiting their site you have to initially provide some contact details which they insist on – particularly a mobile number so they can “contact you if you are successful”. You are then presented with pages and pages of free offers to sign up for or questions to answer (most of which, inevitable, lead to more questions in the hope of getting you to sign up for something else). I was very careful and ensured I signed up for NOTHING. 10 minutes later I’d finished it and was told I could claim £20 from another site. I passed on this.
Within minutes I’d received a spam email and within hours I’d received 2 spam text as well. The company themselves have also sent me 2 emails even though I unsubscribed after the first one was received.
The next day I received a cold call asking me about my broadband supplier. I refused and told them I didn’t speak to cold callers. They stated they weren’t because they’d received my details from ProductTesting.uk.com (I should add that cold calling is, by definition, a call that was not asked for. Which I hadn’t). They were rude and refused to remove my contact details from their database.
How did this happen?
So, they’re going to hand your details over to anyone they feel like anyway. Why bother giving the options on the survey and not sign us up to everything anyway? Indeed, their policy states…
By registering and entering your details you consent to us, our clients and selected third parties sending you information by email, post, SMS or telephone about products and/or services that have been selected based on your stated interests. You will also be contacted via phone by either O2, Talktalk, Vodafone or Prizestore.
The link to this, confusingly along with their “Terms”, is a tick box on the initial screen where you enter your first name and an email address. On all further screens there is no link.
It’s my fault, yes? It was clearly in their policy, which they linked to. Except, when you’ve gone through pages of having to turn down being contacted by third parties you’d think that would be it – how many people genuinly look through pages of terms and conditions before doing anything?
I requested that they remove my details from their database and they provided me with an email address that immediately bounced. However, I then used firstname.lastname@example.org, which is shown on their website, and they responded to this one, stating they would remove my details. A week later, though, I continued to get mails from them.
Things took a turn for the worst, though, after I spoke to an angry customer on their Google+ page as it would appear that the company are sending out emails suggesting that they have actually won an iPhone.
I hope this makes your day, you have been selected test and keep the new iPhone 4S.
This is what you need to do once you have done so we can proceed:
– Sign up now and enter your details and complete the questionnaire.
– Use the product for 7 days and write a thorough review.
– Keep the product for your own use for ever!
All the best,
It then directs them to perform the survey – I’ve removed the URL from the email as it will probably identify the source but it does take you to the front page where it does state “if you’re chosen”. Of course, if you’ve got there by clicking on email stating that you have been you would think nothing of it.
The email is sent from Paul Knapp, the owner of Submission Technology, the company behind ProductTesting.org.uk.
The above was taken from their Google+ page, however the original email was forwarded to me and I can confirm that it is genuine. A one-off? Here’s another.
You have been specifically chosen to test the all new ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ with the Samsung GALAXY SIII!
What is ice cream sandwhich you may ask?
Well it’s the brand new android operating system for phones, we need you to tell us if it’s good or not!
We will give you the Samsung GALAXY SIII so YOU can test the phone and new android system!
Also you get to keep the phone for your own use once you have told us your thoughts!
What are you waiting for? Register today!
Now, I’m no lawyer but I think this is stating that the receiver has won the product, even when they haven’t. We’ve now gone from morally questionable activities to a question of legality. To add insult to injury, I’m also told that the emails they send out no longer have an unsubscribe option too.
I got in contact with the company, who stated they were willing to answer my questions, and I sent them a long list of question. Sadly, they answered few of them but, instead, sent me the following…
We were disappointed to see that you regarded us as spam in your first post but we appreciate your feedback we are regulating our 3rd parties more stringently now.
Product testers and products are selected at random on a weekly basis, we frequently give out products you can see the reviews here:http://producttesting.uk.com/blog . We receive the reviews to publish on to our site and our social media pages, they are 100% genuine reviews which help consumers gather an accurate description of the product.
This doesn’t tell us anything other than what we already know. There has, though, been a mild success…
We are currently going through a redevelopment of Product Testing and are excited to announce the user journey will be improved. This is also following on from our own user feedback we have received.
I say “mild” because all this seems to me is a change to clarify the T&Cs more up-front. Otherwise, their business model is the same.
If you’d like to learn more about how their business model works and how to find “genuine” ways to get free products for review, please read my follow-up article on the subject.