Frequently Asked Questions
faqs

Q. What is a mystery shopper?

A. Mystery shopping is a tool that is used to provide business owners with an objective, unbiased accounts of their customers' experiences. These reports provide valuable information that the business uses to ensure they are meeting their customers' needs and correcting problem areas that can affect their bottom line.

A mystery shopper is someone who poses as a legitimate customer in order to provide their first hand experience to the client. Mystery shopping evaluates customer service, product knowledge, employee training, and the company's sales process. Each shop is different in that each client is looking for specific information pertaining to their business. Your job as a shopper will be to observe different aspects of your experience and "objectively" report those observations. You will be provided instructions and/or guidelines that must be followed while conducting your shop, as well as a survey form which must be reviewed before you do your assignment. Once your shop is complete, you will then fill out a detailed report that entails the different areas of the business you were asked to observe.

Q. How do I sign up to be a mystery shopper?

A. Click on this link and sign up.

Q. Why do I have to give my email password?

A. You need a password to get into our system to do shops for us. You do not provide your personal email password, you choose whatever password you want to use to be able to access the system.

Q. How do I find companies to sign up with to become a mystery shopper?

A. You can find mystery shopping companies to sign up with online for free. Job ads placed in the newspaper or online should be investigated carefully, as most are not legitimate. You can find over 200 companies you can sign up with for free at http://www.mysteryshop.org/. There is not one site that will register you with all of the mystery shopping companies at one time, you will have to spend some time signing up with each company individually.

Q. What are some of the requirements to be a mystery shopper?

A. You need to be able to write a good report (good reporting skills are listed below). You need to be at least 18 years of age. You will need to have a computer. Always be sure that you can do a shop that you apply for. Check the job specifics before you decide to apply to do the work. You must have the ability to take digital pictures and upload them to your mystery shops.

Q. Once I am signed up, how soon will I receive a shop assignment?

A. If we have shops in your area, you may receive an email with a job posting within a few days or weeks. If we do not have shops in your area, then you might not receive any offers until we are hired by a company with locations in your area. We do suggest that you register for other companies at mysteryshop.org to make sure you have a chance to get more work.

Q. I am already registered with Sassie for another company. Do I need to register for you on Sassie?

A. Yes. Sassie is a software program that is used by multiple mystery shopping companies. Each company that uses Sassie operates independently and has their own shopper database, therefore you must sign up for each company if you wish to shop for them.

Q. What is Shopper Certification? How do I get a certification number?

A. The shopper certification is something that is offered by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association of which we are members. Since you are considered an independent contractor, we cannot train you as a shopper, however the association can provide the training which is acknowledged by all MSPA member companies. The certification serves as a type of "learning" tool and teaches you about the industry. It is optional and will not keep you from being a mystery shopper for our company. It can give you a step up for getting job assignments. For example if a scheduler has a choice of two shoppers that they have not used in the past and one is certified and the other is not, the certified one would more likely to be selected over the non certified one because they have taken steps to receive job training. If you should choose to do one of the certifications, only complete the certification at http://www.mysteryshop.org/. We do not recognize other certification programs.

Q. I have already received my certification number from MSPA. How do I register this number with your company?

A. There is a place on our application to input this number, just update your profile. Only MSPA certification is accepted.

Q. I do not have a computer. Can I mail you my application?

A. Mailed applications are not accepted. We do all of our shops on the Internet, therefore you must have a computer to shop for us. Email notifications are how we contact you if we have a shop available in your area.

Q. Why do I have to pay $29.95 or ANY kind of fee?

A. There is NEVER a fee for shoppers to pay in order to shop for us. If you paid someone a fee to sign up, more than likely it was a scam. NEVER cash a check and wire money to "another shopper". You will be responsible to the financial institution for those funds once the check bounces your account.

Q. I paid a fee to sign up to mystery shop with your company and I want my money back. I got an email and/or check that had your name and address on it. I paid a Monthly membership fee that I want to cancel.

A. We never ask for money for you to sign up to mystery shop for us. More than likely you are a victim of a scam. Many advertisements promise that you will make a lot of money mystery shopping if you will only send money to sign up or pay a membership fee. You can find hundreds of legitimate mystery shopping companies to register for free with at mysteryshop.org. There is also a job board on that site you can check for mystery shop assignments in your area.

Unsolicited recruitment ads are being sent at alarming rates to email boxes. Unfortunately, anyone can put someone else's name on an email and send it out via the internet. That does not mean the email actually came from our company. We have scam warnings against this on our web site. The industry has tried without much luck to stop these people, but there is not a lot we can do. None of these groups are actually in the mystery shopping business and many of the scams are being run from overseas. Never cash a check for thousands of dollars and then wire funds!

Never provide your personal bank account number to pay for a "Monthly membership". Many times the scam will go in and take a large amount of funds from your bank account since you have given them access to your information and authorized the initial transfer of funds.

Q. How can I tell if what I got is a SCAM or not?

A. Never pay a fee to anyone to sign up, purchase a book or list of names, nor should you ever pay a membership fee. No mystery shopping company will charge you money to register on their site. One would never apply for a job where the company asks for money up front so you can start work. Companies that promise high paying assignments, "lots of assignments" in your area or other "too good to be true" offers to entice you to register should be investigated further before registering. If you get an unsolicited email telling you that you can become a mystery shopper and that you need to email them your personal information should be a red flag. You can find mystery shopping company names, phone numbers and websites at no cost on the MSPA site, http://www.mysteryshop.org/. Call the company if in doubt. Only register with a company that has a valid MSPA logo, do not send personal information via an email. If you do not find the MSPA logo, move on.

Q. How do I find out about available shops?

A. We will send you e-mails regarding shops that are available in your area when something becomes available. You can also check the job board on our Sassie website.

Q. How do I apply for these shops?

A. There is a link at the bottom of shop notification email that takes you to the page to apply for the shop. If the word "scheduled" is next to the city, that means that the shop has already been assigned to a shopper.

Q. What if I apply for this shop and don't get the job?

A. We may have many shoppers in one area applying for the same job. You may not get the shop this time, but you may be chosen the next time a shop is available in your area, so please apply again.

Q. What happens when I am accepted, how much will I be paid and how do I report my shop?


A. Once the scheduler books the mystery shop and you are the one accepted, you will receive an e-mail telling you to go to your shop log at www.sassieshop.com/2mysteryshoppers to review the shop instructions. Also, you must confirm you are doing the shop so that you have access to the survey form you must review before you conduct the shop and fill out afterwards. Confirmation also ensures that the shop you are assigned is not canceled and rebooked.

Review the shop instructions and survey form. If a shop is not completed as instructed, you will not be paid for the shop or your reimbursements, if any.

Make sure you verify the address and visit the correct location. Once you have completed the shop, you must log on to the Sassie website, go into your account and the report will be there for you to fill out (click on view/submit). Remember, when you accept an assignment, you have agreed to do the shop and report it by the deadline. The report will be sent to the account manager or editor where it will be reviewed to make sure all of the information the client is looking for is in the report.

Payments vary for each shop, you will know how much the shop pays when you receive the shop notification. Many shops also require that you send in documentation such as a card or receipt along with your report for verification purposes. We must have that documentation before you can be paid.

Q. What if I have to cancel my shop?

A. Occasionally, shoppers have emergencies that call for a shop cancellation. If that should occur, just e-mail your scheduler and explain your situation. There are times an extension can be granted. If a shopper accepts a shop and cancels numerous times, a note will be made in the shopper's profile each time and if this becomes a common occurrence, that shopper may be deactivated.

Q. When can I expect payment after I have completed a shop?

A. We do not use PayPal. All checks are cut at the end of the following month the shop was completed. For example, if you complete a shop in October, your check will cut at the end of November and then mailed. Checks will be mailed to your home so please make sure your address is up to date in your profile at www.sassieshop.com/2mysteryshoppers.

Q. Why is my account deactivated?

A. There have been times a shopper will accidentally deactivate himself by clicking on the wrong button or personally requested the account be deactivated. If that is the case, then send us an e-mail with your name, home address and e-mail address that you registered with and we can reactivate you. There are other times shoppers are deactivated for not completing reports on time, not responding to e-mails asking for updated information on a report, poor writing skills, numerous cancellations of shops already scheduled or falsifying and/or copying reports.

Q. How can I be reactivated?

A. Just send us an e-mail explaining your problem and our staff will review it for consideration to determine if you can be reactivated or not. In cases of multiple identities and falsifying reports, accounts will not be reactivated.


Q. I need to update my information. My e-mail / address / phone number has changed, what do I do?

A. You must go into your shopper profile on Sassie. Go to www.sassieshop.com/2mysteryshoppers to change your information.

Q. My password doesn't work. What do I do?

A. Be sure that you are trying to log into the correct mystery shopping company's website. Many shoppers work with more than one company and many mystery shopping companies use the Sassie system, so make sure you are using the correct login information for our company.

Q. I have forgotten my login and password. What do I do?

A. Simply e-mail us a request by clicking on the appropriate link on the Shopper Login page. the Sassie system will immediately email your password to you.

Q. What makes a good report?

A. Pay attention to detail. Make sure you visit the correct address, purchase the required items, ask specific questions provided on your survey form and/or follow the scenario you were given to complete the shop correctly as noted in the shop instructions.

If you cannot complete your assignment, notify your schedule immediately. They may be able to extend the due date or reschedule the shop to someone else.

Read and follow the shop instructions, and review the survey form BEFORE completing your shop.

Use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Each sentence should begin with a capital letter, and make sure you write in complete sentences.

Do not use abbreviations.

Make sure all of your comments match your yes and no answers on the survey form. If you marked a question no, make sure to explain why.

For required narratives, be sure that you have written a good report with plenty of details. This allows the client to get a clear understanding of what took place during your visit. Sample narratives are included in your shops instructions, in most cases.

Never cut and paste comments from another shop and just change names and a few details. All visits are unique and the reports must be written based on the individual experience.

Be accurate, fair, and tell the truth. Please report both positive and negative experience in an objective manner.

Do not give opinion, just state the facts as to what happened. Avoid such statements as "I felt" and "I think".

Unless you have specifically been told to do so by the mystery shopping company, never reveal yourself as a shopper.

You are representing the mystery shopping company you are shopping for, be professional, polite, and conduct yourself in a business-like manner. If you have a poor experience, the client will be able to take note of this from your report. Please do not cause a scene with the employee or management.

Do not take any paper work in with you to do a shop.

Fill out the shop immediately upon leaving the establishment to ensure that you do not forget any details.

Be discrete! Do not take notes or conduct yourself in a way that could identify you as a shopper. In most cases, if you are identified, you will not be able to shop for the client again. This may also jeopardize your ability to shop for the mystery shopping company again.

Submit your report on time and respond quickly if the editor has questions about your report.

Q. What do the shop ratings that I receive mean?

A. We do not rate shoppers. The Sassie system gives an automatic grade of 5. If you see this as your grade, it only means that was the number that was automatically set up with you filled out the application. We do not adjust it.

Q. What are some things that can help me to get more shops or keep me from getting shops?

A. Always write good reports-see above.

Do shops before the due date. In most cases, the sooner you get the shop done, the more shops you will receive.

Punctuation is important, even in filling out your application. An application filled out in all lower letters or in all caps can keep a scheduler from even considering you for a shop because it shows lack of detail in your writing.

Shopper certification helps.

Never accept a shop unless you are sure you can do it. If you must cancel, notify the scheduler immediately. If a shop is not done and the scheduler is not contacted, you can be deactivated from the system.

Communicate well with your scheduler. Be sure you confirm a shop that you have accepted. If you have any problems with the shop, let your scheduler know as soon as the problem arises.

Q. How much money can I make as a mystery shopper?

A. There is no set amount one can make as a mystery shopper. If you are only signed up with only one mystery shopping company and they do not have any clients in your area, you will not make any money. It is recommended that you sign up with multiple mystery shopping companies to increase your chances to receive more shop offers. You can also check the MSPA job board (www.mysteryshop.org), as shops are often posted there. These companies who have posted the jobs might be the ones you would sign up with first since you know they have work in your area.

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2010 Mystery Shoppers, Inc.
PO Box 50578 • Knoxville, TN 37950
Toll Free 800.424.0871 • Phone 865.450.8841 • Fax 865.450.8839