Don’t Get Caught By Sugging Or Frugging

Most of us like the opportunity to tell a bit about ourselves or give our opinions.  Taking part in a market research survey may seem like a good opportunity to express your views but you might be giving away a bit more than you realise.  You could become a victim of sugging or frugging:

  • Sugging = Selling under the guise of research.
  • Frugging = Fund-raising under the guise of research.

This is when a “market research” is carried out with the sole intention of either selling you a product or fund-raising for a charity or other cause.

This could be in the form of a questionnaire after a purchase, a phone call out of the blue, or someone with a clipboard in the street.  Tell-tale signs of frugging/sugging are if the survey moves on to questions unrelated to the initial topic, such as probing into your wider interests or spending habits, or turns into an attempt to get you to buy something or donate to a charity.

In today’s episode of You and Yours there is an enlightening account of receiving such a call about 12 minutes in.  The programme also claims this technique is frequently used by major charities to secure donations.

Another aim of such a survey may be so that the “market research organisation” can sell your personal data to third parties, in order to generate sales leads.  Don’t be surprised if after taking part in a “lifestyle survey” you end up with a deluge of sales calls or junk mail.

The Market Research Society has an article with more information on this subject.  You can also report this type of incident to them on the sugging hotline tel: 0800 975 9955 or email