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Ethical dilima

December 30th, 2006 at 06:01 pm

I have participated in Pinecone Research for a while now. I love getting the little $5 checks in the mail (although they're going to be doing it via PayPal in the future). I really have fun with the surveys knowing that I will actually be paid for it instead of a 'we'll put you in a pool of names to be drawn for $xxx'.

I got an email a while back stating that it was a followup and I thought it odd, I'd never gotten one of those before. But I didn't take it because I wasn't really sure what it was. The day after the last day to submit the survey, I received a package from Pinecone Research with another item to test out at home and give feedback. The light went on, apparently I had been sent something to test but I never got it! It wasn't the item I'd just received because the project numbers were different.

I emailed Karen and explained the situation thinking that perhaps there was a signature required and that's why I never got it. I just happened to be home from work the day I actually received a package. She explained that signature wasn't required and if I didn't get the original item it was too late the survey was closed and they didn't have any more. No problem. I thought that was the end of it.

About three weeks ago I got an email stating that the company wanted the test items back, you know the one I never got. I was going to reply to Karen and say 'don't forget I didn't receive this so don't send me the return materials' but I never got around to it. Sure enough, about two weeks ago a large envelope showed up at my door with packing material for the item and a $5 check as a 'thank you' for sending it back.

I don't have the item to send back.

I emailed Karen again, replying to our prior string of emails so she'd know what I was talking about, asking where to send the check back to because I don't have the item to send back. I haven't heard a word since.

I know it's the holidays and she probably has a slew of emails to go through. But I did get one recently regarding the switch to PayPal.

Do I just send it back to their address as listed on the return address when they send stuff out? Do I cash it? Do I just do nothing because it's not really mine to have?

I'm going to give her til the middle of January to respond and then actually do something with it.

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