Re:Informa Research

Hi all,

I was recently offered a job from these guys.You have to call a lending institution abaout a loan using their scenario for $30, but not only do you have to do a online report but you also are reguired to fedex them a hard copy(they pay the postage)anyone completed one of these shops for them--if so what is your opinion ? Is it worth it for the pay. Sounds like a lot of work for 30 clams.

Thanks in advance...

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I've done two of the online/handwritten shops. I'm not a fan of this method of reporting, but some might not mind it as much. Personally, I did find them to be a lot of work and not worth the money, especially one of them, which was a phone shop. The thing that made that one more grueling was that I had to call multiple times.
I have done several of these Mortgage shops with Informa and find them to be good jobs. They are not difficult to perform and the reporting is not lengthy. Informa is a fine company and their schedulers are helpful and professional.

My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
Benjamin Disraeli
I haven't done these jobs for Informa, but I shopped a decent part of Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin for them when they were in a pinch for bank shops (platform/teller) and the pay was astronomical. I will say they can be a little slow and the payments might be released in strange allotments (ie: you get a check for a couple shops and then get one a week later for another set), but they do pay everything they promise and I've found their people some of the best to work for! =)
I've done three of the mortgage calls for Informa, and have found them easy to do. I make the call using the prophet call system, spend anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes on the phone and then do the form online. I'm not asked to fax or send in anything, so maybe these are different than in your area. I'm calling in the WA state region. They pay on time and I get to do a number of them a month. So far, I'm happy with them.
i just did it today. it took me an hour in the bank. then two hours to do the report in the format they want which you basically outlined. lots of work!!!
My job doesn't require you to go the institution,you only have to make a phone call and use a supplied scenario and input the info online and and a hard copy that you fedex to them.Sounds like they have several different type loan jobs.I accepted the job for next week.

Thanks everyone for your input...
I did a few of these shops when I first started MSing. All of them were heavily bonused. I think one of them paid $150. I know there is at least one other thread about this some where. I've posted about my $150 gig before.

The hard copy had done in blue ink and had to match the on-line report verbatim. I failed to transcribe a few lines from one copy to the other and got a few challenges/inquiries/requests for clarification. The company seemed fair and I got paid for everything, no dings or issues. BUT what a PITA.

At the time I was naive and thought more shops were going to pay $100 to %150 dollars. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.
Uh oh! I just completed two phone shops and didn't write in blue ink. Will my not receive payment? I just couldn't find a blue pen in the house.
They did not seem like mean folks, but the requirement was blue ink. That was more than two years ago, I think. I would call and ask. (or check your guidelines.) Like I said....if you haven't mailed it in, you might be able to copy it over in blue. I know, what a PITA. But if it means getting paid....

Anyway, check the guidelines and if you messed up, call them!!!

Good luck
Hey all!

Thanks for giving us some feedback. We're always trying to improve.

While some of our clients do request the handwritten paper questionnaire we would like to make it as easy on you as possible. That's why we've tried to streamline the process (mirrored online and paper questionnaires, easy FedEx label generator, etc). Is there anything else we can do to make it easier on you?

How do you feel about the training process for our various projects?

Thanks for shopping with us!


p.s. If you aren't signed up with us please do so at (Informa Mystery Shop Department).
Andrew Would love to see more shops in my area (Shenandoah Valley, VA). You guys are ok. The reports ARE a PITA but I never had a negative contact with anyone there. That says something.

And no, fellow posters, I don't have any "in" with Informa. Just letting Andrew know I think they are ok as far as MSCs go.
The schedulers and field directors respond very, very quick. Pay is reasonable (30 day cycles). My only issue is just with the use of Viagra-ink on the handwritten reports. Of course I'll write with it due to the guidelines, but why?
I have done a lot of work for Informars at least 3-4 years. I would call them my bread and butter shops.Not gourmet but reliably good.The staff has always been communicative and professional. The pay fair and timely.

Lately, shops are erasing when I hit "Submit" and that drives me nuts. I've learned to control my rage and simply breathe in and redo them. However if the shops are submitted after midnight I get the Cinderella e-mail.

Tonight I earned another. I read it all the way through and found the threats, thinly veiled as directions, surprising and quite frankly unbecoming. Are these account managers overworked , ergo stressed out? Not just Informars, by the way. Any one else miffed?

My other complaint , although minor, is that all the various opportunities are not shown. I say minor, only because then I'm free to look at other MSC assignments. Guess I'm more surprised to see them sending out calls for new shoppers, if there isn't enough well paying work for me, why would I recommend a friend ?
marijaldm wrote "Guess I'm more surprised to see them sending out calls for new shoppers, if there isn't enough well paying work for me, why would I recommend a friend ?" Good point, marijaldm. I think this typical of a corporate mentality...get lots of inexpensive cogs so the wheels of what ever they (the corporation) does never need to slow down. The system works especially well when the cogs are called ICs, not employees. they don't have to be greased (paid) until needed. keep enough of the cogs on hand and there's always a good supply. and good supply means low pay.

the last year I taught in a public school, the administration was announcing a reorganization that involved laying off several teachers. it was a small school system and the layoffs, while small in actual numbers (2 or 3 teachers and support staff each from each of the four schools in the district), was high in terms of percentage of total work force. amazingly (or not) the principals and other admins were going to all the recruitment fairs. I challenged the principal one day, asking why in heck he was spending the time and MONEY to recruit new teachers when he knew 6 to 9 teachers and a like number of support staff were losing their jobs. after a long conversation....bottom line a) we always want to have potential new hires on hand so we don't have to worry about keeping the teachers we have and b) which kinda goes with a...we can keep salaries low. moral sucked and I got the hell out.
Regarding the recruitment of new shoppers; How many times can the same shopper go into a bank and ask about opening up an account?

In a perfect world, all MSers are plentiful, literate, punctual and can follow directions. The MSing world is small, however, and good shoppers are hard to find, so the good shoppers are reused and rotations are put into place to help with the problem of shoppers being made. I don't think MSCs want to send the same shopper to the same location. They are just exercising their best option available. It's in their best interest to be constantly recruiting.

I will say that Informa has some of the nicest folks to work with. They pay a decent wage and I never had issues with getting my money. The only issue that I ever had was feeling really stupid with the ridiculous scenarios I was supposed to portray. I had to eventually take myself out of the rotation because they wanted to send me back to far too quickly to the same locations with equally ridiculous and memorable scenarios. I would be the first to say they NEED more shoppers in my area.
Hi All,

Thanks for your posts.

Marijaldm we do need to give direct instructions for overdue shops. These emails can be avoided if all of our shoppers let us know the status of a shop before it lands in an overdue status. We have to protect ourselves and make sure all of our shops have active shoppers assigned to them. Also, one way to not "lose" your work is to save as you go every few questions.

Jersey07032 we very rarely have conversation about how to pay you, the shoppers, less! We want to provide a fair compensation for your work and its nice to hear that most shoppers think Informa is good in that area. We try to get more shoppers because often times we do not have shoppers that fit the scenario of the shop (mortgage holder, bank customer, FICO score, etc).

SteveSoCal you nailed it. We wish that we could use the same people over and over again each month. Unfortunately we have to have a rotation. Many of our shops depend on customers of a certain bank in which accounts are actually accessed during the shop. If we used the same person month after month the representative would take notes and the shopper would most certainly be spotted.

We love hearing from you guys. Let us know if you have any other thoughts that would help us recruit or improve our programs.


Andrew my comments weren't directed at Informa specifically. It's a general/overall pervasive attitude. Pay worker bees as little as possible. Read my previous post in which I wrote Informa is one of the good ones! Again, I wish you had more shops in the Harrisonburg/Charlottesville VA area. Slim pickin' in these parts. And again...the reports were a PITA but the pay was fair.
Hello Andrew,
Gilda Radner said it well: "You gotta do what you gotta do"

Maybe we could meet half way, and let the Cinderella e-mails be generated midnight PT.

I'm obviously not aware of the account manager's routine but it seems they would not have to go through e-mails advising them that the report is in.

Regards, Mary
Hi, The amount you pay for the shop and how long it takes to get paid matter. ALSO, for me,it is just as important to have a conscientious schedulers and editors who respond to problems with shops. Sometimes instructions are unclear or contradictory. That said, nobody I know is interested so far. Susan
I work with your scheduler, Ben Griffith. He is always very nice and polite.
The other suggestion I have is this. I live in Rural Eastern Kentucky. The banks I shop are spread far apart. The two shops I was assigned that day were 77 miles round trip. I was supposed to do two shops in Paintsville KY. On my way there I received a call from Ben asking since Allen KY was on my way could I do it also. I agreed. That would have been pretty good pay for the day. With the base pay and the bonus it would have been $85.00. There was just one little catch; the lady I was supposed to see at the second bank in Paintsville was not there that day. The instructions say you are supposed to see that person and no one else. Then come outside and call your scheduler. I did and he told me to make pictures of the bank, if possible without being seen. I made several from all sides just in case.

Later I was told I would not get paid for that shop, making the trip a little less profitable. A few days later I agreed to do one right in my town and that person was not there and I got paid nothing.

There needs to be a change made. Shoppers cannot control whether a person is going to be at work since we are not to call in advance. We need to get paid something for just driving the 8 miles to the bank.
There needs to be a change made. Shoppers cannot control whether a person is going to be at work since we are not to call in advance. We need to get paid something for just driving the 8 miles to the bank.

AMEN number1....not just with informa, but with all MSCs. ESPECIALLY if the instructions say not to call ahead. I am doing a shop for AboutFace and they have actually given me the target's schedule. BUT if the guy calls in sick that day, I am SOL!!! WTForgive my language.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2012 05:39PM by jersey07032.
I think the biggest issue with most mystery shopping from the IC standpoint is rotation and rotation should vary according to the type of establishment being shopped.

Fast food locations tend to have high turnovers of personnel because the pay sucks and the working conditions can be horrendous if the manager isn't doing his or her job efficiently. Thus, the rotations on these types of shops could be as little as two weeks because the employees usually don't work a set schedule with the same days or nights every week. Thus, the chance of getting the same employee at the same location twice in a month is probably pretty slim.

Banks, insurance companies and well-known retail stores tend to have better working conditions with better managers, better pay and even benefits so their workers tend to stay with them for longer periods of time. Therefore, these stores should have rotations of at least one month for different scenarios and two months for the same scenario to eliminate the risk of the having the same agent/teller/associate assisting you and perhaps remembering you.

Regarding InformEr, I have an account with them but I only did 3 or 4 of the bank shops a couple of years ago and nothing since.

One buzzard to another while circling high overhead (paraphrased), "Patience hell! I want to shop somewhere."
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