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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Staywell Research


Staywell Research


It wasn’t all that long ago that I saw a blog post on the internet, giving instructions to whomever reads it, directions in the development of what is called “multiple streams of income”. There are many suggestions for those who are struggling financially and looking to get some assistance. One of those suggestions is to engage yourself in a medical research trial. This kind of trial requires one to take a certain drug and or other type of pill, and perhaps some other form of trial application, and then after a hand full of months there is a compensation paid for the patient’s time and effort. One of these companies is named: Staywell Research.

I decided I would test this idea out, as one of several I will be reviewing over the next year, and I joined a trial. The ad for this trial on the local Craigslist stated that the trial would consist of a six month period with a “diet pill” test which would pay $500.00 with a $500.00 bonus if the person was still participating at the end of the trial. This would, of course, result in a $1,000.00 pay day for those involved. It’s important to note at this point that the ad makes mention of the total amount to be payed when the client is still present at the end of the tial. (Get your Orwell earphones working!)

In March of this year I joined the trial and was given a bottle of green pills which may or may not have been the real thing. The point, so I was told, was to use placebo pills in the tests to find out the ultimate result of whether or not the medical benefits actually worked. For myself, this had to do with weight loss. The pills themselves were actually appetite suppressants which were to be taken a half an hour before eating in order to discover the effects on my personal weight over the six months during usage. 

I was also given several diaries and charts to keep a record going of daily activities, these included what I had eaten each day, how much I had walked, walking everyday being the method of approved exercise in this case, and other things like my daily weight and such. I was also given a thing called “Fitbit” which records your every movement during the day and reports that to a website where one can also record the daily intake of food, water, and watch the number of steps that I took each day. I really like Fitbit, and I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in tracking themselves on a daily basis. I know there have been complaints in the news about people gaining weight with this thing, but I believe you have to get past the initial temptation to eat more than you should, because Fitbit makes you think about it a lot more than usual. Once I got past that, I was fine.

One is also required to make several visits to the Staywell Research offices and also to speak with a nutritionist on the phone about your progress during the study. There is a lot to do, and if done correctly, then one should be paid for their time and effort. Therefore, I spent a good three months of the trial giving the system a good work out. I tracked all of my water intake, changed the food listing for my daily intake, walked everyday, took the pills, filled out the paperwork and also made the five mile trip to have my measurements taken and my weight recorded. Amazingly, the trial worked! The appetite suppressant was very effective and combined with the huge amount of water I had to drink and all the walking I had to do, I lost almost 30 pounds. I sit here today typing, six weeks later and the weight has not come back. Did I drink and walk the weight off? Hmmmm, could be.

During one of these visits, I saw a man come into the office and try to get his compensation, he had been given the run around several times over the phone and had never received anything. A manager then met with him and when he left, he still had nothing. I kept this event in mind the entire time I continued. 

At the end of three months, I was told that the trial was over, and I was required to return Fitbit and my daily logs and the pills to the research center. I was also told that I would NOT be paid the money they owed me. I made an appointment with one of the managers to discuss the problem since it was not myself who had failed to complete the trial or had quit ahead of time. My position is that if the company says that at the end of the trial I am still on the project, then at that time, I will be compensated. Unfortunately, they play games with the definition of when things come to an end, and stick to the original ending date, which would have been some time in August, even if they, themselves, call an end to things. This is crapola of the highest degree.

I was told that because they had “over booked” the trial, they would have to let some of the participants go early and they would only be compensated for the visits they had completed. I had done five visits, but they insisted it was only four. It was not. I was only to receive $160 dollars instead of the $1,000.00 that the “bait and switch” style advertising had promised. No amount of the 45 minutes or so I spent arguing the case with the manager made any difference at all. According to him, they were continuing with the other people in the study and would not continue with me, which is odd, because I was actually making the thing work. Seems you “over book” because you expect a good number of people to do the study incorrectly or perhaps quit prematurely. So, therefore, you need me in the study in case that sort of thing still happens before the ending deadline. 

Regardless, the arrangement is for a certain amount to be paid at the end of the study no matter who ends it. If I quit ahead of time, then I can understand their position, I did not complete the study and therefore, I am not present at the end of it. However, if I am told the company is ending the study, then the study ends NOW, and I am still here and should be compensated. They did not, of course agree, and despite the ease with which they could do this sort of thing over and over with many people involved, they stood their ground. This is called: “Legally scamming the public”. 

If I were to join another study with any company like Staywell Research, I would insist that they sign a contract written up by myself stating that if the company ends the survey, then they have to pay in full. They will, of course, never sign something that states this, which means they are playing the loop hole and probably paying out to NO ONE the $1,000.00 pay day. Basically, they get to a point where they feel you have made the thing work, and they have all the info they need, and then they pull out on you and leave you with pocket change. There is very little evidence to prove that this is NOT the case.

There are many such complaints about Staywell Research on the internet and I would heed them and myself well if you feel you might be able to make some side money from this endeavor. I realize there will always be the person who will tell you that this has never happened to them and that they make a living doing this sort of thing, but that is not my testimony. I sit here with no payout from this company more than 35 days later and honestly, I expect to receive nothing. 

Be forewarned! 

editor's note: It is now 75 days since this project ended and I still have received nothing. 75 days being the deadline for paying this thing off.

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