Writing about different ways to make money, I often search the internet to find new ideas for doing so. That is how I came across American Consumer Panels.
On the surface, becoming a product reviewer for this company looks like an excellent opportunity to make some extra cash on the side.
However, like most things on the internet that look too good to be true, some aspects of this scheme are questionable.
Read on to learn more in our American Consumer Panels review below. However, be sure to read the section on whether it is legitimate before you consider signing up.
Based on the research performed that is summarized in this article, American Consumer Panels is a scam. The site and job offerings are essentially a scheme to get you to sign up for affiliate programs.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for further details.
What is American Consumer Panels?
According to its website, American Consumer Panels is a firm that specializes in product testing and development.
They conduct in-home usage testing to provide manufacturers feedback on their products, packaging, instructions, etc.
Their website appears to be primarily built to gain new business clients through a free consultation.
What is In-Home Product Testing?
In-home product testing is when a company sends you a product for you to provide feedback before selling it publicly.
Typically, these in-house testers are hired by marketing firms for companies.
The testing may occur at home, depending on the product. However, testing for some products may require you to go to a designated location.
Additionally, while you may be able to keep some of the smaller products or one-time use/consumable products (i.e., food or makeup), larger or more expensive products may require on-site testing or returning the product after evaluation.
Some testing may require answering a survey after testing the product, while others may require participating in a panel discussion.
What Companies Use American Consumer Panels for Product Research?
According to their website, their team has directly or indirectly tested products from over 25 different brands, including:
Those are some pretty big-name brands with great products.
However, I'm not quite sure what indirectly means or if large companies like those above would need to use a company like American Consumer Panels for product testing and feedback.
But more on that in a bit.
How Do You Join American Consumer Panels?
As discussed above, their website is designed more around getting companies to request their services.
Additionally, there doesn't appear to be a clear link to the careers page anywhere on the site.
In fact, the only place I found a link to their careers page was a link under “What tasks do I have to perform as a Paid Product Tester?” on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
The careers page lists four positions:
- Payroll Assistant
- Account Executive
- Application Developer
- In-Home Usage Tester (Product Tester at Home)
Interestingly, under the Payroll Assistant job description, the first bullet states, “Prepare and process Payroll for 516+ product testers external employees paid weekly.”
So it gives you an idea of how many product testers they may have as well as that they are “external” employees.
For the first three positions, it states to send in your resume and salary requirements via email. However, for the In-Home Usage Tester, a link is provided that takes you to the “application” process.
Considering how little there appeared to be on their site about getting hired there, I did a Google search for “American Consumer Panels jobs.”
The only job that appeared was the product tester position. And it is listed under numerous job boards, including LinkedIn, Jobilize.com, HelpWanted.com, Internships.com, and several others.
They drive interested candidates to their site using these job boards.
All of the job descriptions are the same. And they state that to apply, you need to follow a link which takes you to the In-Home Usage Tester position page discussed above.
American Consumer Panels Application
After clicking on the “Click Here to Start Your Application Process” button on the In-Home Usage Tester page, you'll need to enter an email address.
Pro Tip: For any survey sites or sites you aren't sure about, create a free Gmail account. Some of these sites will send you a lot of emails, and some may spam you as well.
After entering your email, you'll see this page:
It states to complete the two steps to establish your consumer profile and demographics.
The two steps are signing up with other consumer panel or survey sites. For me, it was LifePoints Consumer Panel and i-Say Ipsos Consumer Panel.
It isn't always the same sites either. Others have reported signups for MySurvey Consumer Panel, InboxDollars, VIP Voice, and Vindale Research Consumer Panel.
More on the actual links later…
You'll also receive an email (via Convertkit) with a link directing you to the page above if you didn't complete it already.
So, that is it. Join the two sites you're directed to and wait.
It states they'll contact QUALIFIED candidates as soon as any test matches the demographics, consumer profile, and client's needs.
How Much Money Can You Make?
According to the job description for the In-Home Usage Tester, you'll be guaranteed 15-20 hours per week with an hourly pay between $25 and $45 per hour, depending on the project.
Additionally, it states testers are paid after each assignment is finished by a mailed check or direct deposit.
Is American Consumer Panels Legitimate?
Having real job postings for jobs making $25-45 per hour and a website discussing quality brands that they work with makes it seem like an excellent, legitimate opportunity.
But let's take a closer look at this organization.
First of all, don't confuse American Consumer Panels with National Consumer Panel or American Consumer Opinion.
I don't know if it is an attempt to trick people with similar names, but be aware that those are legitimate companies.
Either way, that is just the beginning of why you should question the legitimacy of American Consumer Panels.
Related: Legitimate Work From Home Jobs
What Is the Deal With the Survey Site Signups?
It is quite an odd job application process.
Provide an email address, sign up for a couple of survey sites, and wait to hear back from them.
Well, I did receive the followup email to ensure we signed up for the first two sites.
And the next day, I received another email titled “RE: Your Next Step in Your Application Process as Product Tester,” recommending I sign up for an additional survey site with their “new” partner.
This time it is Vindale Research, and it states, “Please take the time to register with them (not mandatory but highly recommended) so you can establish a consumer profile with them too and increase your chances to become an In-Home Usage Tester.”
I'd expect the emails to continue, likely with more signups to other survey sites.
So what is the deal with these survey site signups?
The signup links are affiliate links.
The link for LifePoints Consumer Panel was clearly a Max Bounty affiliate link.
And there isn't any apparent connection between American Consumer Panels and these survey sites other than being an affiliate for them.
If they were really “partners” with these companies to create a demographic profile of you, they wouldn't be using an affiliate link.
Primarily, it appears that all of the job postings promising up to $45 per hour is just a way to drive people hoping to find a good job to their affiliate links.
Yes, those are my affiliate links, but I clearly state that my posts may contain affiliate links at the beginning of my articles.
And I'm not going to pay you $45 per hour for anything or give you any hope of that.
But, as I discuss in my post about making money when you're bored, if you need a job, online surveys are not an efficient way to make money.
Survey sites are okay in your spare time, but they aren't going to make you a decent amount of money for your time.
What About the FTC Guardian Badge On the Site?
American Consumers Panels claims that having the badge in their footer and being a verified member of FTC Guardian asserts their legitimacy.
First of all, FTC Guardian has no affiliation with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It states that right in the footer of their site.
Further, if you click on the badge on a valid site, it states that it isn't a guarantee or warranty of legal compliance with FTC Regulations.
All it means is that the company has agreed to FTC Guardian's Code of Conduct. However, FTC Guardian is a paid service, and it doesn't mean companies adhere to their Code of Conduct.
Finally, if you click on the FTC Guardian badge on the American Consumer Panels site, it shows as “Not Verified.” So, while they show the badge, they apparently haven't paid their dues.
But most importantly, it seems apparent that American Consumer Panels is not following FTC guidelines by not disclosing that they have affiliate links clearly and conspicuously on their site.
Based on the lack of evidence that there are actual jobs, American Consumer Panels is essentially tricking job seekers into signing up for these survey sites to earn a commission. All while stating it is using the survey sites to create a detailed consumer profile and demographic profile.
Who Really is American Consumer Panels?
Short answer, it really isn't clear.
I was going to cover this question first, but there are several parts to it, and I think it really paints a picture of what you should think of American Consumer Panels.
Other than first names on their product testers picture gallery (more on that in a bit…), there are no names to be found on the website.
A phone number is listed on the Contact Us page (917-677-2043), but no human answers.
Generic email addresses like email@example.com, careers@ american-consumer-panels.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org are provided.
But I'm guessing you won't be getting a response from those either.
The About page has its mission and values, which includes being a verified member of FTC Guardian, as well as acting with integrity, honesty, and respect.
And the sales email address again.
Real Physical Address?
On the FAQ page, under “How do I know this is not a scam?” it states, “We have a real physical address,” with a link to the Contact Us page.
The address on the contact page is One World Trade Center, 285 Fulton St., Suite 8500, New York, NY, 10007.
While this is a real physical address, it actually belongs to VirtualOffice.com, which is run by a company called Servcorp.
As the VirtualOffice.com website states, “First impressions matter. Choose from four recognizable New York locations.”
Exactly what American Consumer Panels wants – An excellent first impression.
So Who Runs American Consumer Panels?
Finally, if you check one of the LLC Annual Reports for Innovation Consulting, you'll find that the principal office address is located in Montreal, Canada.
So, it appears that American Consumer Panels is operated by Innovation Consulting LLC, formed in Wyoming by someone in Montreal, with a virtual office in One World Trade Center in New York City.
Clearly not trying to hide who they are…
But Wait, It Gets Better…
It is interesting to see the photos of the products they test with their testers.
But I was curious, so I decided to do a reverse Google image search of some of them.
And, for most of them, two results appeared.
American Consumer Panels
Canadian Consumer Panels
So I head over to Canadian Consumer Panels, and what do I find?
It was pretty much a carbon copy of American Consumer Panels.
No FTC Badge and a different address and phone number, but otherwise, it is the exact same site.
Same About Page, same job openings. Very little difference.
And of course a “real physical address” in the Toronto Star Building:
1 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1W7 Canada
And, what does a search of that address give you?
Davinci Virtual offices.
Another “real physical address” that is actually their virtual address.
And Those Photos?
The majority of the photos on both sites are the same.
And, if you zoom in on them, the papers they are holding up all say ProductTestingUSA.com or ProductTesting.uk.com.
It's not clear if these are legitimate sites or if they are affiliated with the American/Canadian Consumer Panels sites, but it's just another problematic aspect of this site.
And again, I find it hard to imagine that Sony is using these sites to get feedback on large screen smart TVs. Same for Microsoft and Xbox Ones.
What About the Better Business Bureau?
According to the Better Business Bureau website, American Consumer Panels is not BBB Accredited.
Additionally, mail sent to their “physical address” at the World Trade Center was returned by the U.S. Postal Service as Undeliverable as Addressed.
Furthermore, the Canadian Consumer Panels has similar BBB results. Not accredited and again, returned mail.
The BBB Rating of the Canadian version is an F. Canadian Consumer Panels did respond to 3 out of the 7 one-star reviews.
However, all of the responses are from anonymous people, one stating Human Resources and another Recruiting Team, but no names.
What About the Press Releases?
American Consumer Panels (as well as the Canadian one) also refer to being featured in publications as further proof it isn't a scam.
For the American site, it states they were featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and US Financial News Today.
Well, the US Financial News Today link returns a 404 Page Not Found error.
And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article is from AB Newswire, which is a paid press release service. That doesn't provide much credibility.
Further, reading the article, there are a few quotes from a “senior spokesperson” and a “senior manager from the company.”
Additionally, a contact person is listed for the article: Sales Manager
Again, no names, just generic titles.
Similar Press Releases in Canada.
What Others Say About American Consumer Panels?
If you look at Glassdoor.com, the reviews for American Consumer Panels are either outstanding or terrible, calling it a scam.
And mostly with poor grammar.
I tend to believe the outstanding reviews are fake and the terrible reviews are from people who feel they've been scammed by the company.
It is hard to find reliable data pointing to American Consumer Panels as being a legitimate business.
But They Discuss Legitimacy and Being Called Scammers
First of all, if a company needs to include information on its website to try and convince people of their legitimacy, something is likely wrong.
The first FAQ under “Questions and answers for In-Home Usage Testers” is “Is this a legitimate company?”
They claim that being a verified member of FTC Guardian means something and state to beware of websites reviewing them and calling them a scam. They state that it is just clickbait.
Well, yes, sites like mine do want people to visit them, and if those visitors see an advertisement or affiliate link, which is disclosed to them and interests them, I want them to click on those links.
However, I do not trick them.
I am providing an honest review of a site that advertises well-paying jobs to get people to click on their affiliate links without being upfront about it.
That seems to be the definition of clickbait.
Further down in the FAQs, they answer, “How do I know this is not a scam?”
Most of what is discussed there is covered above. Press releases, photo proof, their real address and phone number.
They also state McAfee Antivirus certifies them as a secure site.
Well, that is great that the site is secure. That has nothing to do with how they are getting people to click on their links to make them money, while those people believe there is the potential for a job in the end.
Again, if they need to try and make the case for why they aren't a scam, which they do a poor job of, there is something wrong.
What Could They Do to Be Credible?
If somehow everything I've discussed above is wrong, and this is a legitimate company, then they should make some changes to their site and job descriptions.
They should be clear upfront that to be considered as an In-Home Usage Tester, you will be joining two survey sites. Sites that take a good amount of your time and personal information for little in return.
And they should explain and discuss their relationships with those sites in detail if that is actually true. Beyond just being an affiliate.
There shouldn't be multiple identical versions of the site in different countries with the same pictures of “testers” without some reference to the other website.
And the photos they show on the site shouldn't have a different website on the paper that their testers are holding.
Additionally, the claim of a real physical address is misleading when they are using virtual offices (if they are even using them).
And the complete anonymity is glaring for a company that claims to work with such well-established brands.
So, Is American Consumer Panels a Scam?
This is a tougher question to answer than it may seem.
In my mind, yes, it is a scam.
However, they aren't directly taking money from you.
They don't promise a job.
They tell you to join the two programs, and they'll contact you only if they find you qualify for a product test.
But it isn't clear (and seems unlikely) that any of these jobs actually exist.
And it is pretty apparent that they are just driving people to click on their affiliate links to make money without being upfront about it.
So, the definition of a scam is a dishonest scheme.
And this seems like a pretty dishonest scheme to me.
When I started writing this article, I didn't expect it to be very long.
It appeared early on that American Consumer Panels was not a legitimate business. However, it surprised me more and more the deeper I looked into this company.
I recommend everyone stays away from American Consumer Panels, as well as Canadian Consumer Panels. There are way too many red flags to put any trust into them.
Even for a $25 to $45 per hour job that may or may not exist.
There are plenty of legitimate jobs available out there. But, if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
If you are interested in making money in non-traditional ways, that is what this site is about.
But be aware, making money takes work. There really aren't any shortcuts.
Do you know anyone who has tried American Consumer Panels? Do you have any experience with them or other similar sites? If so, please share your experiences in the comments below.