Contacted by MSC after posting on this forum?

Also, there are many schedulers who are also shoppers. Are we to not allow a shopper who also happens to be a scheduler access to this forum?

I prefer to take a cautious approach and assume that anything I post may be read by any person regardless of whether they are a shopper, scheduler, editor, or MSC owner.

Have PV-500 & willing to travel.
"Answers are easy. It's asking the right questions which is hard." (The Fourth Doctor, The Face of Evil, 1977)

"Somedays you're the pigeon, somedays you're the statue.” J. Andrew Taylor

"I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him." Galileo Galilei

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Yep. I was an editor in the past for two different MS companies while still being a shopper for another 40 or so. I am no longer an editor, but I am still a shopper and merchandiser.

> In addition, shoppers come in many different
> varieties. Some shop part-time, others shop
> full-time. Some merchandise as well as shop.
> Many schedulers and editors are also part-time
> shoppers. If a shopper is also an editor or a
> scheduler, would he or she still be allowed on the
> shopper forum? It would be difficult to limit a
> forum to shoppers only. For example, on
> Volition's scheduler forum, a new poster must
> document that he is in fact a scheduler for a MSC.
> If a forum were to limit posting to shoppers
> only, what documentation would a new forum member
> provide to show that he or she is a shopper, and a
> shopper only?
2nd Chance -

Although MSC did not contact me after naming the client AND the MS Company, I finally got paid from the client ($132) after nearly six (6) months because I DID mention them, reported company to Rip and spent hours assisting other Forum members in getting their money.

As I shopper, it is my right to do whatever I can to get paid. In this case, having the client withhold $132 was no small change.

I did get admonished a few weeks ago by a Forum member for mentioning a client and/or job. I know the rules - and sometimes (I think), drastic times call for drastic measures. For me - I did get paid when others did not.

10 Yr+ Veteran

10 Year Veteran Shopper
Hey Lainerz: That wasn't Restaurant Evaluators by any chance, was it? Those S.O.B.'s still owe me $152 from 2011.
Something similar happened to me. Awhile back an MSC sent me an email informing me that they knew that I had a lot to say etc ... It's been awhile so I don't remember the entire email. I probably blocked it out intentionally. I will have to try change my ID if I am to continue posting.
2ndchance Wrote:

> My new rules for posts and comments:
> 1. Do not specifically mention a client or
> MSC in a subject I start.
> 2. Do my best not to give any information
> that would identify who I am.

I'm disappointed to see that a poster has been intimidated - despite not breaking his/her ICA - to restrict their posts here.

I have found great value in the the discussions in the forums. Your posts have encouraged me to sign up with many excellent MSCs and avoid the stinkers. Your posts have educated me about MSCs like Coyle and Amusement Advantage so that I can make an educated decision about working for them. In fact, I recently took my first shop for Goodwin, a company that your posts say has significantly improved its payment practices. Your posts have allowed me to avoid making mistakes, or a least go into a situation with a good understanding of how a particular MSC or shop works.

These forums work only when we share information. In many places you can drive over the speed limit without a problem. Here, we can post many things like payment speed or the lack of payments altogether, which are technically a violation, but a permissible one. Please think of how many more shoppers would have been screwed by Freeman and possibly other MSCs if the forums didn't have numerous posts about their payment issues that allowed Jacob to start the ball rolling with the MSPA regarding Freeman.

As for me, I will continue to post and appropriately name MSCs and clients - although not in the same post or thread that would allow someone to connect the two. Why? Because I value the information available to me here and I want to contribute as I am able. I ask you do the same.

smiling smiley

Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut
secondchange, I don't think that the scheduler have a right to tell you what you have to write in this forum, it's a shoppers Forum, Our forum not theirs smiling smiley , how he give him self a right to tell you to erase your post ? he does not live in countries where there is a freedom of speech?
yaya, there are things that sometimes get written here that violate the contracts we all sign with the MSC's we work for. If someone on the forum revealed confidential information about the shop or something they learned on a shop, the MSC is within their rights to ask the poster to remove it -- the alternative is they could sue the shopper over it.

I'd rather be asked to remove a post than have a process server show up at my door with a court summons.

Freedom of speech does not overrule contracts we willingly sign agreeing not to reveal things we learn due to our desire to work for a company as a mystery shopper. I'd say if you only know it because it was in the instructions, and it can't be learned just through observation as a normal customer, it's a secret and a company is within their rights to ask us to pull it off the board.

And we need to be careful not to cross the line to libel -- saying a company is dishonest and cheats people simply because the shopper blew the shop and didn't get paid is legally actionable and the shopper could be sued over it. Saying you're angry that they didn't pay you even though you did everything they asked you to do is free speech because that's your opinion.

The concept of freedom of speech is in our constitution primarily to protect our right to criticize the government without being prosecuted. We are free to express opinions. We are not free to tell secrets we have agreed to keep.

I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
Hello Itasecret,

I agree with you that we cannot share important informations given by a MSC, I do agree that we cannot break to rules that we sign in this forum too, but, what I'm trying to say is, shopper have a right to say and report what he wants about the company without laying or trying to give them a negative feedback in purpose to sully their image, many topic speaks about that and I don't think that the companies will all came and ask shoppers to remove their post by PM.

but, we all know that if one or two shoppers had a bad experience, it doesn't meaning that the company is not good, I already registered with a company that I personally find very good, they pay in time, schedulers very helpful but in this forum I read that most of the shoppers are not happy with them, I found out after that this company have an other desk, which explain every thing.. ,we just read what the shopper said but we don't no what really happen in reality ( we don't have the story of the scheduler ).

Msc must also know that they cannot be appreciate by all shoppers, every one have his own story and they can make mistakes too.
You are correct. I was only trying to explain that freedom of speech does not mean we can say anything we want. Even with freedom of speech we cannot tell lies about other people in public without risking being sued. We can tell the TRUTH, and we can say our OPINIONS, but we cannot tell LIES that will hurt someone's business or reputation. And we cannot tell secrets we have promised not to tell.

I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
itsasecret Wrote:
> You are correct. I was only trying to explain
> that freedom of speech does not mean we can say
> anything we want. Even with freedom of speech we
> cannot tell lies about other people in public
> without risking being sued. We can tell the
> TRUTH, and we can say our OPINIONS, but we cannot
> tell LIES that will hurt someone's business or
> reputation. And we cannot tell secrets we have
> promised not to tell.

If you state the "lie" as your "opinion" and not as a "fact", you
are free to say can't be sued over it and if they did
they will not win as numerous courts have all thrown the
cases out rather it was a business or not....

= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
It's an opinion to say this is the worst company ever. It is a lie, and not an opinion at all, to say they cheat shoppers by not paying them. Unless they actually do that, in which case it is a fact.

I pray it does not occur that the last thing I did before I died was vacuum the house or eat broccoli.
2ndchance Wrote:
> First, I want to apologize for being vague in this
> post. I do not want the MSC I am talking about to
> know who I am; a second time.
> What would you do if an MSC called you after
> making a post asking you to take down that post?
> I made a post on this forum about a year ago
> talking about a client and gave a few details on
> what is done while shopping that client. The post
> garnered a lot of attention and evidently that of
> the MSC as well. I received a call from a manager
> at the MSC about a week later asking me to take
> the post down and stating that I had broken my
> ICA. I asked how I had broken it when I named only
> the client and did not identify the MSC. I was
> told it broke the ICA because everyone knows who
> shops that client. Not a very good reason, but I
> did go re-read the ICA and I don't think I broke
> the contract. None the less, I did edit my post.
> Why did I edit my post even though I did not
> breach the ICA? The reason is that the MSC has all
> of my information, including my SSN. Also, they
> were able to track down who I was and call my cell
> phone number. I do not know how they managed to
> find out who I was and did not tell me over the
> phone. The MSC did not deactivate me, but I have,
> by choice, not completed a shop for them since.
> As a result, I will no longer post under that
> screen name. I will start building a new
> reputation using this screen name.
> My new rules for posts and comments:
> 1. Do not specifically mention a client or
> MSC in a subject I start.
> 2. Do my best not to give any information
> that would identify who I am.

I was thinking of using the name to "Anna Mouse"winking smiley (Anonymous) but I am not female.

I figured the MSC's are reading this. When I attempt to mentor from a shoppers view it is to help the MSP's understand that you get what you pay for. If you want a college kid to do a shop for the price Romman noodles or mac and cheese because they are desperate how much integrity and professionalism can you expect. Click,click, click everything positive instead of an actual "fly on the wall" report.

Some MSP's want this type of report, as they are afraid of upsetting the client. This resulted in one client loosing their franchise. I wrote three reports on this one location and was told by the editor that it was too negative. It was so negative customers and potential customers were walking out and apparently avoiding the location, as there were options.

The Golden arches wants to serve a sandwich in under two minutes when everyone knows it takes longer to cook and serve that sandwich. The customers go for the convenience, but if competition moves in nearby their previous year totals decrease.
Piled Hip Deep, PHD Wrote:

There is nothing I hate more then msc's that try and
sanatize reports before sending them to the client because
a store is doing bad. Several years ago I called out an msc
for doing it to the corporate office of the client and the msc
contract with them was promptly voided. Huge disservice
they were doing..

Now, there is some clients that only want to see positive
reports, which it still boggles my mind why they even
bother with shops since they dont want the truth.

= + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = +
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
Nothing wrong naming just the client or the MSC. If MSCs are worried about their reputation, they should not garnish wages. I consider it as paying back/forward to the shoppers whose experiences have helped me. If that MSC wants to drop me fine. Several months ago there were many unhappy shoppers who did carpet cleaning shops, and were not paid. Then there were some issues with HDE, and so on.
My issue with HDE was never resolved. They said that the "new" company had no obligation to pay
for jobs that the "old" HDE owed. Convenient, huh? Wish I had known about the forums back then.
Maybe could have saved myself some cash. But that was a long time ago and I'm not sure that the
forums even existed.

I'm "Sandi" in the Middle!
I had an issue with Confero, a MSC based in Cary NC and this thread has definately touched a raw nerve with me

I had to go into emergency surgery last September after first going to a regularly scheduled Doctor's visit. My doctor made a call and got me admitted on an emergency basis for surgery the next day at St. Joseph's Hospital in Asheville NC. I had actually made my Doctor's appointment one stop on a round of Mystery Shops I was doing that day. I planned to return home and report my results that night and had packed practically nothing. I knew I had some foot issues but with neurapathy cutting off all feeling in my foot I had not realized how serious my problem had gotten.

With just a few hours to go before surgery I was calling all of my MSC at the hospital, telling them what was happening, getting shops cancelled, working with some wonderful help desk people to verbally complete shops I had done that day, etc. I think I needed to reach out to 14 different MSC to get things taken care of before surgery. My cell phone (yes, one of the old "regular cell phones" was already low on power but I kept calling. In the case of Confero, I needed to call Directory Assistance and reached their office where I was told by the receptionist that I needed to e-mail my scheduler to report my problem as they could not help me! Confero is one of those MSC that outsources all of their scheduling... in this case to Summit Scheduling.

So here I am in a hospital pre-op room, no computer, no e-mail, and only one MSC that was totally oblivious to what I was facing.

I ended up spending the next 30 days in a hospital followed by 3 months of rehabilitation. Christmas 2012 was spent in what was essentially a Nursing Home with a massive outbreak of flu that saw 17 residents die during the month of December as we were in full quarantine. That was certainly a Christmas I will never forget!

Finally "back on my feet" I was okayed by my Doctor to resume Mystery Shopping. Every single one of my Mystery Shop companies welcomed me back, I even got a get well card from one of them. Not Confero.... I sent 17 e-mails to the company and Celeste Borden over at Summit Scheduling and heard nothing back.

I continued to reach out and made contact with Rob Barry, a Confer Senior Account Manager who said he was totally powerless to do anything for me as I had missed reporting some Grocery Store shops. I had done more than 50 of those stores, often going out of my way to locations that were quite remote in the Blue Ridge & Great Smokey Mountains and received many excellent ratings.

I was told in January however that I was still elligible for other Confero work, just not the Grocery Store chain and I was okay with that. The chance to put that offer to the test finally happened in March of 2013 when they were offering a number of shops for a fast food client. I signed up and all of my requests were ignored.

By March I was fully back at work, doing Mystery Shops 5-6 days a week sometimes as many as 15 shops per day. Every company except Confero was willing to work with me but by March, even after sending photos of amputated foot it became clear to me that Confero was not going to work with me on any of their accounts (they told me in January that I could still do other shops for them). My account was active but why bother.... despite the statement I would be considered for their other projects I was not scheduled for anything I requested.

On March 16th I resorted to the only vehicle I had for getting the attention of Elaine Buxton, the C.E.O. of Confero via THIS MYSTERY SHOPPER FORUM. I shared my story, told everyone about the cold, heartless, uncaring and unresponsive people at Confero and their tag along scheduling company, Summit Scheduling. The nuclear option did get me one thing that I had so far been unable to get...the attention of their C.E.O. Elaine Buxton who did take the time to write me and to tell me that they had decided to deactivate my account (like they had not already defacto done so when all of my shop requests were being ignored).

We hear a lot about ICA's and all of the guidelines of the MSPA which is mainly designed to protect the Mystery Shop Companies. I am sure many of them hate the very existence of this forum where their worst practices are exposed and shared among thousands of Mystery Shoppers. Only with the help of this forum was I even able to get the attention of this C.E.O.

If anyone wants to see what happened to me visit: []

As for me, I use to be a regular shopper at that Grocery Store chain, but I also got all of the medications for myself and my family which were over $14,500 in 2009. I had to tell my Pharmacist and good friend in Rotary Club why I was pulling my business from his Grocery Store. He already knew that I did Mystery Shopping and I never actually did his store even though the Pharmacy was not a part of Confero's shop guidelines. I have not gone back to that store chain since, even though there is hardly a day that goes by when I am not driving past those Grocery Stores, some in places they routinely offered bonuses to get anyone to shop there. Given that most of my territory is in small towns of 500 - 4000 people, separated by Mountains, Rivers, Gorges, etc. it is a major loss for me to not have this client anymore.

Only though, did I have any voice, and leverage against being treated like dirt by a hateful uncaring MSC. Confero stood apart from all of the other companies I am proud to work for: BARE, MarketForce, GfK, Service Sleuths, A.C.E., Corporate Research Service, Ritter, Maritz, Trendsource, Beyond Hello, Jancyn, About Face, ICCDS, and over 50 others.

Mystery Shoppers need to some MSC we are just an e-mail, Independent Contractor # 8574 expendable, people who are willing to drive sometimes 100 miles round trip covering shops that perhaps pay $5 or $10 and then spending hours more in data entry. We have no benefits, 401K's, Health Insurance, etc. Elaine and her office full of Confero employees enjoy full benefits. When I needed them most Confero was NOT there for me, they did not care if I lived or died on that operating table, and after four months of rehabilitation I was essentially told to go to hell.

Carefully consider the contempt this MSC exhibited and ask yourself if you would ever want to have anything to do with them.

Big Ed
Mystery shopping in the Great Smokey & Blue Ridge Mountain ranges of Southern Appalachia (GA, NC, SC, & TN)
I'm TOTALLY with you, amie. I am using my real name right now. If we met in "the real world" (as opposed to the virtual one), I'd shake your hand and introduce myself as Jen Todd.

For me, it's an integrity thing. If I can't say it to someone's face (whether their "real" one or their pixelated one), then it doesn't belong being said. I don't say anything untrue. I try to be considerate of both sides of the story (as we're all our own heroes) and I'm only ever relating my own opinions or experiences.

I can honestly say that in all my time I've been here, posting, regardless of what I've said and regardless of the fact that I'm using the same username (in many situations) and email address I use with MSPs, no one has ever said anything to me. They've all been very respectful and I appreciate that.

amie068 Wrote:
> I try to follow the "if you can't say it to their
> face, don't say it at all" rule. I often cringe
> myself at other threads or posts within threads
> that are nothing more than a virtual body slam to
> a MSC. it is one thing to ask how to solve an
> issue or problem. It is completely different when
> it seems like one is ready to start a gun fight.
Wow, Ed. That's some story! I'm sorry about your foot. =( I've never actually worked with Confero (they have very little work in my area), but it sounds like there might have been some policy (in the past?) and the company felt they had to unwaveringly adhere to it. =(

I agree with you, though, that this forum does give us -- as shoppers and as people -- so many valuable opportunities. It gives us a voice. It gives us exposure. It gives us a chance to sympathize, to meet and make friends with others in our field, to vent our frustrations (just as other workers do at other jobs-- over the water cooler as such). It offers us tools and expertise we might not otherwise find. It provides emergency assistance when schedulers or editors are away (or God forbid, sleeping!). Shoulders to cry on. Companions on lonely roads (and routes!). All in all, this place is pretty damn magical when you think about it. =)

Again, though, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to you. I hope you're feeling much better, now. It sounds like despite the issue with your foot and the issue with Confero, you're back to doing so much!! Boy, I'm in awe of how busy you are. If I do a mystery shop a week I feel like I'm doing good. -laugh-

Sending the best,

Just like in mystery shopping where you are instructed to indicate, "What's a mystery shopper" if asked, in these cases I'd respond, "What's a mystery shopper forum?"

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
Ed, I can totally relate to you.

I was on my way to an apartment shop, it would have been the first job that I did for this particular company. Within three miles of the location, my vehicle was in motion, driving down the road. Some stupid kid rear-ended my truck and put me air borne, his rate of speed was 80 mph. My truck was totaled and I had injuries. To this day, I am grateful that I wasn't in a car, the truck saved my life.

I went to the hospital for evaluation. When I returned home, I immediately emailed the company, explaining what happened. I offered to send the copy of the police report and the admittance to the hospital. They refused this. I sent an email to the CEO and she also stood behind their first decision. I was, 'fired'.

I can prove all of this as I save my emails.

I will admit to flaking or canceling a few jobs; one was because I needed a new battery in my truck and at that time, could not afford one. For weeks, I had to ask stranger's if they would jump start it; I carried battery connectors with me as it happened all of the time. I scheduled for a shop, completely out of town and I didn't realize when I did this, that it would be dark when I arrived there. It was scheduled for after 5 and in the winter, which was dark by then. I would have to travel back roads where there was little or no traffic. I became concerned for my safety; what IF the truck stopped running, as it would frequently do, especially since I would have to use the head lights at that time of the evening.

The scheduler did not agree with me when I made contact; she was very angry that I reneged on the job. I tried to verbally explain to her my situation; she did not care. I was blocked.

Thence, thereafter, other companies that I have worked for in the past and did not have a situation with them; blocked me. I would email and inquire as to why and never received a response.

Now, I wonder what a tight-knit group the companies really are. Do they contact one another and discuss the incident and the other company decides not to take a chance with me anymore?

I wonder, I wonder how their system's work.
CotePony, I don't know the answer to your question. But consider this. We talk about them. Why would they not talk about us?

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
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