Beware of apps that pay

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Beware of apps that pay
Do a quick search online, and you will find dozens of apps promising to pay you for doing simple things but you do not earn cash exactly, you earn Swagbucks.

Do a quick search online, and you will find dozens of apps promising to pay you for doing simple things. Many follow through and users are happy.

But the Federal Trade Commission recently filed a complaint against one app for failing to live up to promises.

"I've earned almost $4,000 in the last few years."

Not bad, considering Nicole Luboff earned it all just by clicking on surveys or shopping on one of her favorite apps. But she did not earn cash, exactly. She earned Swagbucks.

"So, in order to redeem Swagbucks, you go to the redeem page and then you can get gift cards for Amazon, Groupon, Starbucks, Paypal," explained Luboff.

There are lots of apps now that pay you in points, rewards or even cash for answering surveys, watching videos, shopping or taking photos of places or products.

"So, things, like taking pictures or collecting price points or checking a competitive product, can become really valuable information for our clients," said Marc Yount.

The Federal Trade Commission says numerous apps provide great opportunities for consumers. But the FTC just reached a settlement with Pact after allegations the app failed to deliver promised cash rewards for meeting exercise and diet goals.

"We believed they were breaking the law. The FTC investigated and came to a settlement that helped people get their money back," said FTC's Attorney, Jason Schall.

The settlement came to more than $940,000. Schall says consumers should always educate themselves before using any app: read online reviews to gauge others' experience, go to for information, and read the fine print.

"But that's not something I like to emphasize because, really, it's the responsibility of companies not to deceive consumers by putting the important terms in the fine print."

"With apps that pay, it's best to find one that works for you. If you don't like taking surveys or you don't like watching videos, there are other options out there," said Luboff.

The Exercise App company eventually sent an e-mail to users letting them know it decided to shut down.