Question from a mystery shopper:
I did a shop over 5 weeks ago and have not been paid. I have been in contact with the company and received a return email that they were going to investigate, but have not received a response.
How would you handle this?
Most of the time, shoppers are paid according to schedule for the mystery shops they complete. If you are not paid when expected, here are the steps you should follow.
First, check when they said you would be paid for the assignment. The mystery shopping company usually states somewhere (on their website, in the assignment email, etc.) when payments will be issued.
The time can vary, depending on their pay cycle and when the shop was completed. For example, if they pay around the 20th of the month following when the shop was done, and you did the shop on the 2nd, it could easily be seven or eight weeks before you get paid. This information is usually in the shop offer.
If they are past the time when they are supposed to pay, start with your first contact (usually your scheduler). If you do not receive an answer or at least some indication that they are looking into it, or have taken some action, move up the chain of command. See if you can locate other contacts at their website and email or call them. Let them know about any previous contacts/correspondence.
If you still can’t get an answer, and the company is a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, let MSPA know. Although they can not resolve individual situations between shoppers and companies, if they see a pattern of late payments from a company they will contact the company to find out what it going on and may go so far as to suspend or terminate the company’s membership.
Beyond that, there isn’t a lot you can do. You can report them to the Better Business Bureau, but that doesn’t get your money. You can sue them in small claims court, but even if you win, you still have to collect. (And the filing fee may be almost as much as they owe you.)
I certainly wouldn’t do any more shops for them if they are late in paying, at least until this is resolved.
In this case, they say they are investigating so keep following up to get your reimbursement. If you can’t get an answer from your scheduler, move up a level and keep moving it up. Also check that your information is correct. If they pay with PayPal and they have an email address for you that is incorrect or not associated with your PayPal account, the money goes into “limbo” until someone can figure out where it belongs. The same would apply if they pay by check and your mailing address is incorrect.