NEWS28 June 2011

Esomar probes members’ complaints against online agency

Europe

NETHERLANDS— Esomar is investigating complaints of poor-quality work and unreturned deposits made by members who have commissioned online fieldwork from an Ibiza-based agency called The Research Express.

The industry association says members have reported survey answers apparently originating from the same IP address in Germany when respondents were meant to be based in a number of different countries. Also, surveys that should take 25 minutes were allegedly filled out in less than a minute.

Another complaint levelled against The Research Express is that company website domains provided as references were registered and owned by the same person who owns The Research Express website domain, along with 190 others.

Esomar reports that companies who were unhappy with the work provided have so far been unable to recover their deposits.

An investigation by Esomar’s Professional Standards Committee found “no evidence” to suggest that The Research Express had an officially registered office in Ibiza, as advertised on its website, the organisation said.

Esomar has already taken legal action against the company to force it to remove the Esomar logo from its website as it employed no Esomar-registered members. The logo no longer appears. The organisation says it is also working with authorities in Spain, the UK and Germany who have been alerted to the situation.

Simon Kristensen, marketing manager from The Research Express, declined to comment today “until we know exactly what the claims are”.

He did not respond to a follow-up email outlining the Esomar member complaints. Calls to the company’s Ibiza office went unanswered.

@RESEARCH LIVE

1 Comment

10 years ago

I have first hand experience of this company and can verify that it is a fraud. Having received a number of competitive quotes from The Research Express I decided to engage it for a CATI project. Wanting to ensure interviewers were fully briefed, I arranged to meet with Tony de Marco in the company's Ibiza offices. Having travelled there via Barcelona, I arrived to find that the office was empty and had in fact previously been occupied by a marketing agency. The local police were unable to help, other than to tell me the phone number was actually Mallorcan. I have since helped ESOMAR with its investigations but it appears there is little that can be done until those behind the 'company' can be located. I have carried out my own research and identified the real people behind some of the management team profiles on the website. These include the CEO of global newspaper group, Metro who would no doubt be aggrieved to know his picture is being used fraudulently.

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