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How do you become a mystery or secret shopper?


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2009-02-09 21:40:40
2009-02-09 21:40:40

Do you love to shop? If so, you may be tempted by unsolicited emails or newspaper ads that claim you can earn a living as a secret or mystery shopper by dining at elegant restaurants, shopping at pricey stores, or checking into luxurious hotels. But, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, marketers who promise lucrative jobs as mystery shoppers often do not deliver bona fide opportunities. Some retailers hire marketing research companies to evaluate the quality of service in their stores; these companies use mystery shoppers to get the information anonymously. They assign a mystery shopper to make a particular purchase in a store or restaurant, for example, and then report on the experience. Typically, the shopper is reimbursed, and can keep the product or service. Many professionals in the field consider mystery shopping a part-time activity, at best. And, they add, opportunities generally are posted online by marketing research or merchandising companies. Nevertheless, fraudulent mystery shopping promoters are using newspaper ads and emails to create the impression that they're a gateway to lucrative mystery shopper jobs with reputable companies. These solicitations usually promote a website where consumers can "register" to become mystery shoppers - after they pay a fee for information about a certification program, a directory of mystery shopping companies, or a guarantee of a mystery shopping job. The truth is that it is unnecessary to pay money to anyone to get into the mystery shopper business. The shopping certification offered in advertising or unsolicited email is almost always worthless. A list of companies that hire mystery shoppers is available for free; and legitimate mystery shopper jobs are on the internet for free. Consumers who try to get a refund from promoters of mystery shopping jobs usually are out of luck. Either the business doesn't return the phone calls, or if it does, it's to try another pitch. Becoming a legitimate mystery shopper for a legitimate company doesn't cost anything. Here's how to do it: * Search the Internet for mystery shopping companies that are accepting applications. Legitimate companies don't charge an application fee. Many accept applications online. * Do some homework about mystery shopping. Check libraries or bookstores for tips on how to find companies hiring mystery shoppers, as well as how to do the job effectively. * Visit the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website at for information on how to register to be a mystery shopper with a MSPA-member company, a database of available jobs, and additional information on the industry in general. In the meantime, the FTC says consumers should be skeptical of mystery shopping promoters who: * Advertise for mystery shoppers in a newspaper's 'help wanted' section or by email. While it may appear as if these companies are hiring mystery shoppers, it's much more likely that they're pitching unnecessary - and possibly bogus - mystery shopping "services." * Sell "certification." Companies that use mystery shoppers generally do not require certification. * Guarantee a job as a mystery shopper. * Charge a fee for access to mystery shopping opportunities. * Sell directories of companies that provide mystery shoppers. If you think you have encountered a mystery shopping scam, file a complaint with your local consumer protection agency, the Better Business Bureau, your State Attorney General, or the FTC ( The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Source: Federal Trade Commission A Cautionary Word to the Wise The Internet hosts many "get rich quick" schemes and offers, be "Net Savvy"! Be wary of mystery shopping company directories and certification programs being hawked on the internet! Save yourself needless costs and grief. No legitimate company conducting mystery shopping charges any fees to apply for assignments. A simple search on the internet will produce a host of legitimate companies. Go on their site to determine if they have assignments in your immediate area before taking the time and effort to submit an application. Good Luck! Source:


Related Questions

Yes, Comcast works with secret shoppers to measure, understand and improve the Comcast customer experience. Become a Comcast mystery shopper here:

Labor Laws - no you cannot be a secret or mystery shopper

There are many easy steps involved in becoming a mystery shopper. A couple key points are to be very organized, have many clients, and understand differences between different types of clients.

Yes, they are the same. A secret shopper or a mystery shopper is someone who is selected (or hired) to shop at a place of business and make sure things are going the way they are supposed to. Basically, they are to check and make sure the store is clean, the workers are helpful, and the prices are correct.

Professional shopper? Either a personal shopper OR Mystery shopper? Mystery shopper -,,

It shouldn't cost anything to become a mystery shopper however there are multiple scams out there that claim they need start up money.

A trusted online source for learning how to become a mystery shopper is the Mystery Shopping Providers Association: This is a professional association which holds meetings and conferences across the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia that focus on the mystery shopping field.

A mystery shopper gets paid to buy and give information of a certain object.

There are several mystery shopper companies. One of the most important things to know when starting out as a mystery shopper is that you should not have to pay to start. If you have to pay anything, it is usually a scam!

I think that there is money to be made in mystery shopping. As to how much, I really don't know. I have never been a mystery shopper and I don't know how to become one.

Most companies that employ secret shoppers work for many different companies, so it might be difficult to be a secret shopper exclusivly for Safeway. Do be sure to check out the companies before you sign up to make sure they are legal.

If you are interested in becoming a secret shopper, you may have difficulty finding legitimate secret shopper jobs. When searching for jobs, you might encounter more secret shopper scams than legitimate jobs. Because secret shopping is a job highly desired by students, young people and stay-at-home moms, many people try to scam job seekers by selling lists of hiring companies or promising jobs if you pay for website membership. Avoid these scams and keep looking because the legitimate jobs are out there. Here are some tips for finding legitimate secret shopper jobs.

You have to be careful, with these ads, however Equifax services used to have a mystery shopper program, perhaos they still do.

People want to become a Mystery Shopper 'cause it's an easy enough way to get a little extra income. They can work for themselves and choose when they are able to complete the shops, and this is appealing. It's not something that you can necessarily do full-time, but mystery shopping is good as a side job.

Companies hiring for mystery shoppers are loovig for someone who is professional and objective. All good mystery shoppers need to be able to be detail oriented, take instructions well and be able to complete their evaluations in a timely manner. Check out these sites for more insights and helpful links: and

Every mystery shopping solutions company has their own sites, you can apply at their site and wait for approval of your application. Once you become an approved shopper, the company will email you with your shopper ID. Always be aware that this is classed as a self employed situation unless otherwise stated and you are responsible for tax return on earnings paid.

You should look for a trusted corporation with mystery shopper jobs. Some companies may not accept you because of qualification issues, but you should never give up. If not accepted, you can always try again with different companies. Try going to the "Mystery Shopping Providers Association" because they list jobs for you to do. This website gives great information

The short answer is that there is probably not a more cost-effective way to survey your current customers than to offer a web-based receipt survey program. Mystery shopping is an outstanding in-depth way to measure employee compliance and consumer observations. It is an objective, secret shopper evaluation. It measures pre-given criteria, and records a snapshot of the past through the mystery shopper's eyes. The mystery shopper may or may not be a current customer, but the shopper will provide an objective evaluation of the criteria presented to them to evaluate in great detail.

Yes through TNS Mystery Shopping Panel

Mystery shopper companies are companies that will shop for you. However, I would not use them. I would do your shopping yourself so you know exactly what you're getting.

A Mystery Shopper goes into a company to evaluate its service and operations. Because the staff never know who this person is, what they look like, or what time they're arriving, it is termed a mystery shop. The idea is that the Mystery Shopper is supposed to come across like your average shopper. Hence, the term 'mystery shopping'.mystery shopper is a tool used externally by market research companies, watchdog organizations, or internally by companies themselves to measure quality of service, or compliance with regulation, or to gather specific information about products and services.

The cast of Be the Boss Canada - 2013 includes: Jennifer De Lucia as Herself - Secret Shopper Natalie Metcalfe as Herself - Secret shopper Ali Palanio as Herself - Contestant Daniel Stolfi as Himself - Secret Shopper

The main purpose of a Mystery Shopper company is to provide professional shoppers to a variety of stores or restaurants to evaluate the performance of the sales staff. A Mystery Shopper will go to places such as retail stores or restaurants and although they are acting as a customer, they are doing a full evaluation and rating of the performance of the service provided.

My experience being a secret shopper, is that it's not as glamorous job as it appears. You have to fill out a lot of forms and questionnaires, and try on clothes you don't like.

Gapbuster is a company that provides mystery shopping services for businesses interested in testing their employee's customer service skills. By contacting the company and filling out a registration, one can become a Gapbuster mystery shopper.

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