Question from a mystery shopper:
I just started mystery shopping, and I have completed two shops this week. Is there an unwritten law about how much you should buy during a shop? My shop fees were $10.00 and $11.50 but there was no given dollar amount for the merchandise I could obtain free from the shops. To be on the safe side I just bought things I could really use in case I was stuck with the bill.
As a brand new shopper who has completed two shops in her first week, you are off to a good start. Here is an explanation of how mystery shoppers get paid.
When an assignment is offered to you, the mystery shopping company should tell you exactly what the compensation will be, including any available reimbursement. For example, they might say that the shop fee is $10.00, and you will be reimbursed for a purchase of up to $20.00. If, in that case, you spent $15.00, you would receive a total of $25.00: the $10.00 fee and reimbursement of the $15.00 you actually spent. In the same scenario, if you spent $25.00, you would receive a total of $30.00: the $10.00 fee and the maximum reimbursement of $20.00.
In most cases, the reimbursement is designed to cover any required purchase. If you are to purchase a specific product or service, the maximum reimbursement should be large enough to cover that purchase. It is a maximum, however, and you may receive less if you spend less than the maximum.
Sometimes there is no reimbursement. That may be because a purchase is not required, or the shop involves both the purchase and return of merchandise.
Some mystery shopping assignments that require a purchase do not include a specific reimbursement. The company may say that the shop fee is $X, and you are required to make a purchase; however, they do not specify what you must purchase and the purchase is not specifically reimbursed. In that case, the fee in intended to cover both the shop fee and reimbursement. You may purchase something that you need and plan to keep, or you may purchase something and return it later (if appropriate).
From your description, it appears that you received a fee for the shop that covers any required purchase. That means that you will not receive additional compensation for any purchases you made.
It is never safe to assume that there will be greater compensation or reimbursement than is specified in the shop offer. If you have any questions about a shop offer, contact the scheduler or other mystery shopping company representative before you accept the shop.