Friday, September 23, 2011

No Check? Don't Panic!

Seasoned online earner that I am, the first thing that crosses my mind when I don't get a prompt payment from one of my earning sites is, "It's a SCAM!" Usually my initial response is not incorrect, but a couple of experiences in the past year have taught me that jumping to conclusions regarding payments is not always wise, particularly if the said payments involve checks. I must admit that if I don't get a payment from a click site I probably will simply drop the site without so much as a word of complaint to the admin -- that's because I know scamming sites are rampant in that sector and because the amounts I'm owed are relatively small. I don't necessarily even EXPECT to be paid from a bux site...often the site goes scam before I reach payout and I stop clicking at that point! Survey sites are a different story, however. In fact, I've never once been scammed by a survey site because I always research them before joining up. Many established survey companies have been around for years; some were doing mail and phone surveys decades before the Internet became mainstream. So, when a survey site doesn't pay me on time, I get surprised.

For the first few years of my "survey career," I never had a single problem with receiving a payment. In the past year, however, I've experienced not one but two different instances of not receiving a check from a survey company in expected time frame. Bear in mind that it can take months to receive a check "on time" -- in both cases, I was waiting for more than FOUR months for a check that did not arrive. Since I'd been paid by both companies in the past, I was reluctant to write them off as scams. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and inform their customer service departments (I had to fill out an online form in both cases) of my predicament. Surprisingly, it worked out well -- in both cases, my checks were promptly sent out after I complained. If you haven't received a payment from a legitimate survey site, I urge you to contact the company that owes you first...sometimes good things can happen despite all the scamming that goes on online.

I must admit that the thought has crossed my mind that perhaps I WAS scammed after all, even though I ended up receiving my earnings. If I hadn't complained, I never would have been paid...perhaps the sites were hoping I would simply not notice or not bother to contact them. Frankly, there's no way for me to know what really happened. However, I suspect both were probably just mistakes, mainly because I haven't noticed a lot of other people complaining about the same thing happening to them. One thing to consider is that payments by check are marginally more complicated than those by PayPal or other online means: the payment request must be accepted, the check must be issued, and the check must be sent out. In one case, my check had been ISSUED several months before when I made my just had never been mailed out. Perhaps it had been sitting on a desk or in a drawer for several months. In the second case, my check was newly issued and sent with an apology letter. There are several points of failure in the check sending process -- even the postal service could goof on the last step of the journey, though that doesn't seem to have happened to me yet.

All this may make you wish that all online earning sites paid by PayPal, but I'm actually glad the check hasn't completely gone out of style. We all can use PayPal just as long as PayPal wants us to...plenty of people out there feel like they've been frozen out of their PP accounts for no good reason. My personal experiences with PayPal have been good so far, but I have no desire to put all my eggs in one basket. I am still grateful that the check option still exists despite the hazards.