The Mystery Shopping Providers Association is the leading industry association. To become members, secret shopping companies have to be approved by the MSPA board, and agree to uphold ethical standards defined by the MSPA. If they violate those standards, they can lose their membership. When a company is a member of the MSPA, you can trust that they are a legitimate mystery shopping company.
But how do you know if a company belongs to MSPA? One way is to look for the MSPA logo on the company’s web site. Of course, that is not foolproof. Some member companies do not display the logo. And an unscrupulous company could slap a logo on their site even without belonging to MSPA. However, there is a quick and easy way to determine if a company is a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association . . .
In response to many requests from mystery shoppers, the MSPA has added a company list to the Shopper area of their web site. To view the list of member companies, go to http://www.mspa-na.org/member-companies
There are shoppers who will only apply to and work with MSPA member companies. Certainly, working with only MSPA member companies means that you will not get caught up in a mystery shopper scam.
Although membership in MSPA tells you that a company is legitimate, there are many legitimate secret shopper companies that are not members. One reason is that companies have to provide mystery shopping services for at least two years before they may join. And, there are companies that choose not to join because . . . well, I am not sure why they wouldn’t join, but they must have their reasons. Note: There are Associate Member companies that do not provide mystery shopping services to clients, but provide a service to the mystery shopping industry. My company, Special Interests, is an Associate Member of the MSPA.
Use extra caution when applying to a non-member company to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate mystery shopping company.