Question from a secret shopper:
I did a mystery shopping job that included a required purchase, for which I will be reimbursed. I didn’t open the package until after I had entered my shop report. When I did, I discovered that the item was broken.
Would it be okay to return the purchase? I still have the original receipt, as the mystery shopping company just had me input the receipt number in my report.
The answer, as is so often the case, is “it depends.”
Some clients do not want shoppers returning merchandise purchased on a mystery shop for a cash refund. Their reasoning is that your compensation was the purchase reimbursement and any fee. If you take cash instead of the purchased merchandise, their costs go up because the wholesale cost of the merchandise is less than the retail value.
Before returning an item purchased on a shop for a cash refund, check the guidelines to see if they say anything about returns. You may also want to ask your scheduler.
Even if the client does not want shoppers to get cash refunds, it would probably be fine to exchange the defective item for one that is not broken. Take the item and your receipt back to the store and do an even exchange for the same item. After all, the reimbursement is part of your compensation, and if you got a defective item you did not receive all of the compensation you are due.
Before you make the exchange, scan or take a digital photograph of your receipt. Even with an exchange, the store may mark the receipt and you should have a clean copy in case the mystery shopping company requests it for some reason.