My wife and I are both mystery shoppers and work for many of the same companies. Recently, due to a serious error she made on a report, my wife’s account with one company was deactivated and they told her that she could not shop for them any more.
I guess I understand why they did that, but they also notified me that I can not work for them again, either. I have always gotten good scores on my shop reports. Can they deactivate my account even though I have done nothing wrong?
Employment law can be complicated, as rules and regulations can vary by state, the number of employees a company has, and even, sometimes, the industry. However, mystery shoppers are independent contractors, not employees, and here the law is very simple.
The independent contractor relationship is governed by the contract between the parties. That means that what the contract says determines the rights and responsibilities of both the contractor and the company engaging their services.
Each time you apply to a mystery shopping company, you agree to the terms of their independent contractor agreement. This is a legal document, so it is always a good idea to read it and save or print a copy.
I read the independent contractor agreements used by several mystery shopping companies, and found that most of them had language such as:
The term of this agreement shall be ongoing until terminated by one or both of the parties. This agreement may be terminated, without cause, by either party.
What this means is that either the shopper or the mystery shopping company can decide to terminate the contract for any reason or no reason at all. The language may vary slightly from one mystery shopping provider to another, but the meaning and intent are the same.
So the short answer to your question is, yes, they can deactivate you. The other side of that coin is that you can stop working for any particular mystery shopping company any time you wish. It can be because a scheduler was rude to you, you do not like the way their web site works, they don’t pay as much as you would like, or you don’t like the color of their logo. Whatever.
Why would they deactivate a good shopper because of something their spouse did? Chances are this would not happen because the spouse turned in a report a little late or made a minor mistake. However, in the event of a major breech (e.g., violating confidentiality, “fudging” the answers on a report, etc.) some companies might be concerned that because the secret shoppers are married, the “bad” shopper could accompany the “good” shopper on an assignment, perhaps doing something to compromise that shop.
My best advice in this situation: Get on with your life. There are hundreds of mystery shopping companies out there, so work for some of them. And have a chat with your wife about her work habits.
Have questions? I’ve got answers. Submit your mystery shopping questions to me at cathy (at) idealady (dot) com.