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.
Cory Jensen says
Nice post. I would also add to review ALL the emails you received relevant to that job and make sure you actually received it, especially if you are a new shopper.
A couple of months ago we had a new shopper misunderstand an email listing out an available opportunity as a job offer. She went and completed the job (without having access to the form or any guidelines) and contacted us when she couldn’t access the form on the website.
After investigating we discovered she was never given the assignment which also meant we could not pay her for it.
This is also a good example of why shoppers, especially new shoppers, should read EVERYTHING they receive from the mystery shopping company, make sure they understand the process, and ask any questions they have if something isn’t clear.
Have a great weekend!
Cory Jensen, Owner
I-Spy Mystery Shoppers
Depends on whether you feel that you are at fault. There have been times I was not at fault, had all my documentation, sent it in, disagreed with not being paid, and I got paid anyway. Then there have been an occasion I was at fault, was not paid, and I decided to take it as a learning experience, and make sure it does not happen again.
Cathy Stucker says
@Betty–I should have said that if you are at fault, you should let it go. Good point. Because the shopper who contacted me said the company was investigating the delay, I assumed that they had accepted the shop in this case. However, often when a shopper is not paid it is because the shopper did not follow the guidelines in some way and the client will not accept the shop report. That is a life lesson on what not to do on a shop, and you have to hope that if it happens to you it is not an expensive lesson.
I do the odd shop for a Florida company and the one time had to keep e-mailing them for weeks for my $8 payment.
Cathy Stucker says
@Marsha, that can happen on occasion. Fortunately, (in my experience) it is rare that a company does not just pay when expected.
Franchise Compliance Inc is not paying and there is no way they have to pay, they owe me 225 for carpet cleaning…150 days,,,1rst time a cia does not pay in my case…