Second to None - time to part ways? What would you do? *resolved*

Edit - this problem has been resolved by the MSC

Original post:

After this last shop with Second to None, I will likely not do any more unless it has a really good bonus.

I did an office supply shop where I'm supposed to be assisted by an employee in ordering one of two products in the guidelines that are not supposed to be in stock in the store.

Both items were in stock in the store. I left, called my scheduler, told her the deal and she told me to buy one of the two products to prove they were in stock. I did so and even took pictures of both of them on the shelves.

The picture of the product that I bought differs from the picture in the guidelines. They refused to pay me because they said I bought the wrong product.

The store hasn't changed the website picture of the product to reflect the actual current packaging. The UPC is the same. The SKU is the same. The regular price and sale price are the same. Every bit of information is the same except the picture on the front of the package. The SKU is even in the UPC and on the receipt.

I wrote them twice and didn't hear back from them. I called them and was urged to write again, so I did.

No reply after a couple of weeks.

So, I took the shop again. I had a plan...

When I asked the employee about the product and he took me right to it, I played dumb. "This isn't the kind I'm used to getting. Is it the only one you have? Maybe in another store?" So he takes me to the kiosk and searches for the product. I see the picture from my guidelines. "That's the one.....that's the kind I get!" I told the associate, who probably thought I was absolutely bonkers. He was very polite even though he obviously knew it was the same thing that he just tried to give to me in the store. So I paid for the product, went home and did my report.

My report was accepted. Phase 1 was complete.

The product arrived in the mail a couple of days later and SURPRISE.....same exact packaging that they have at the store. Same exact thing I bought the first time. Same UPC and SKU as the guidelines AND my previous purchase.

So now that I had absolute proof, I emailed them again with all the gritty details. Pictures of products, pictures of receipts, links to the store site that verified the information. This was just not disputable at this point.

Well, that was about a week ago, and I've still not heard a peep.

I've been cordial. I've held back every snarky little comment that I wanted to let slip through. I have given ample time and allowed every opportunity for them to resolve this issue.

Looking through the forum about this company, I see very mixed reviews. I've noticed that many negative ones are result of a lack in communication, but I've yet to notice any solutions.

I'm always willing to take blame that is mine and suck it up when I know I'm wrong, but this time, I know I'm right. Should I just return the 1$ item, remove them from my bookmarks and forget about it or should I pursue this on principle because I'm not just some sucker who will stay quiet so an editor in a hurry doesn't get in trouble for rushing through a job without paying attention to the details?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2013 04:24PM by MrsDupont.

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Only you can make that decision. If it were me, I would give it one more try at a resolution, perhaps going to someone higher up. I say this only because schedulers will sometimes change jobs , etc. and I would like to avoid a bad reputation following me around. Also, you've said it's a $1 item...would you want to jeopardize possible future shops over such a small amount?

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
I know, right? I keep asking myself that, but it's not the item's dollar amount that irks me about this situation. I think I just have to remember that this is a job, and this is part of it. I think your idea of getting to a higher up is my next step.

Of course, the other side of me is thinking that this is one out of hundreds of companies I can choose to work for and this kind of disregard isn't worth it. It's just frustrating when you know you're in the right and there seems to be nothing that can be done.

What if they mess up again in the future and I get bit for a much larger amount? Good thing it was only a buck at a local store this time.
I'm not saying to continue to work for them [if that's your decision]. I'm just saying it may be worth not burning the bridge over the $1 item.

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
I'm so sorry this happened. How very frustrating. If it was me, I would still work for Second-to-None but I would not perform these particular shops again.
I'm with you, I stand hard on principle. I personally wouldn't work for them again if that happened to me.
You know, the real issue is the person making decisions about accepting payment or not, is just not going with common sense. I would steer clear of this type of shop. I know people say don't burn bridges, but there is also a point where you are being taken advantage of because you don't speak up. If they will not pay you for this, thank them and move on.
I was reading in the mystery shopping magazine where an expert shopper said, don't get burned twice and lots of people do that. It is a job, but more importantly, this is your business, and you don't want to keep running around and chasing clients, which these companies are to us, for your money. Work with companies that have and use common sense and communicate instead of hiding hoping you drop it. That's my two cents.
I did the exact same shop a few weeks ago for StN for the same client and found both of the same products on the shelf. Called StN from the store and was instructed to play out the scenario with the associate looking for the product that's not supposed to be there, and when the associate finds it, buy it.
I did and got paid for the shop.
It's a different product this month.
Have you called StN and asked to speak to the same person who you called during the ill-fated first shop?
Have you asked to speak to the project manager?
I did this shop. The product I inquired about was stocked, though guidelines said it would not be. I had searched online beforehand to see details of size, description, etc. In the store, the associate walked me right to the exact product, so there was no kiosk involvement. I purchased that product, went home and did my report. Immediately following the report, I emailed the scheduler and advised her that the item that was not supposed to be in stock, was in stock. I added details. She replied that the client had flubbed, as the products were available in some stores. She assured me I did the right thing, and would be paid.

The location was re-listed on the board, with a different product. Communication from the scheduler indicated that the client had provided a different item, that would absolutely not be in stock. The scheduler asked if I wanted the shop. It didn't work into my schedule, plus I only take this shop in tandem - when a copy shop and an office supply can be completed at the same store/same day. Regardless that I didn't take the second shop, I was again assured I would be paid.

I have no reason to doubt I will be paid on the 15th. STN pays like clockwork.

MrsDupont, you followed instruction on the first shop, were rejected, but took the shop again, and again were rejected? Why did you order at the kiosk after purchasing the exact product in the store? I don't follow. A request for clarification from my shop asked for the exact item I inquired about, which I provided. My shop was then accepted and invoiced. Hope you kept your receipts, if I were you I would return the items to the store, unless you want them.

My personal experience with STN, for years, has been good. In my area, they don't have high-paying shops, but they do have worthwhile shops. Over the years, I've had a couple of dust-ups with them, but schedulers have backed me up, and consequently, I've never been burned.
I think the second shop was accepted, she just did it to prove that the first one should have been accepted. At least that is the way I am reading it.

I would still keep shopping with them. I would still call them and see if you can get paid for the first one. It sounds like the client messed up and maybe your first shop was before STN really determined it was the client that made the mistake.
Yes, the second shop was accepted.

And now....So has the first!!!!

After weeks of sending emails and calling, I'm finally getting paid for the shop! I find it slightly coincidental that it's the day after I post on here. It could be correlation without causation, but you know what they say, "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they are not watching you."
Happy for you that all ended well, and kudos on how you edited your original post, i.e. you kept the original. Drives me bonkers when people delete their original posts even though other posters had responded.
Good outcome, and yes, they are watching. Too bad you couldn't get an apology along with the shop approval.
And yet another reason to lay out the original problem the was you did in the OP. A rant would have served little or no useful purpose. I hope that you feel that you got the support that you deserved and wanted here. And, maybe someone at STN does monitor the forums? If so, that may have been a really good thing this time.

Thanks for the clear picture of what happened and for updating the original message.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Thanks, all. This was my first real issue with an MSC. It's good to know that we're not alone in our world of anonymity. smiling smiley
If you didn't get paid for the first shop, I'd keep complaining.
I also have mixed feelings about this company. Some shops are just cake. Others every little detail is nit picked. I wonder if it's the review people?
I am sorry you had such an issue. I myself have decided to part ways with STN. Mystery Shopping is my business, not a hobby. I shopped a store and sent in my report. Seven days later I left for a much needed vacation. When I got home I find my report was denied due to my failure to respond to a request from STN to clear up a question they had in regard to said report. I immediately called. Too bad for me, they refused to budge, said it was, "Out of my hands." I say BS. I called my scheduler and she immediately referred me back to the initial person that I spoke with. I was told that they contact their shoppers through email and it was my fault for not checking my email. I explained that I was on vacation. I explained I waited a full week to make certain all my shop reports were without issue. I explained that I do not have a Smartphone and I do not take my laptop with me on vacation. She was talking so fast over my voice that she clearly did not care what I had to say.

If it meant dumping the report and not paying me why didn't someone call me on my cell phone and talk to me about it. Are there that many good shoppers out there that I am dispensable? I mean this woman absolutely refused to even discuss the issue with me. Bye bye STN.
S2N will sometimes not call and sometimes not even send an email for clarification. They depend on the shopper to keep checking their web site for clarifications for days. Not worth it for a $7 shop with no purchase reimbursement now. My time is not free. Nor my gas.
Are there that many good
> shoppers out there that I am dispensable?

Saddly Sister Seven,

We are all dispensible in the eyes of the MSCs.
It did say somewhere on their website that shoppers have to be available for 7 days after a shop if they need clarification on a shop. But I still think that's ridiculous.
They can take forever to get to a shop,and then decide they need ' clarification' and expect a reply within 12 hours or else? Not very professional in my opinion.

Then too, Sisterseven, you waited 7 days before you went on vacation. So even according to what I read on their website, they only HAD those 7 days to reject the report, by their own rules they shouldn't have been able to reject it afterwards.
What a lousy experience for you.

I had them send back for clarification on my first shop back with them after a year + break due to their broken system. Resent photos and they sent back again saying they didn't get the photos. Resending, if it doesn't work this time, well I'm never going to do THAT shop again.
Not a great welcome back to the company that's for sure.
Yeah, they're not the only one who expect a response to their question or request for clarification in 12 hours. It escapes me who else only gave 12 hours, but I've seen it before.

Twelve hours is really unreasonable for an unexpected request for more information... I mean, I know we have 12 hours to submit a report, but then we *know* when we did the shop and therefore when the 12 hours is up. But to only have 12 hours from the point an unexpected email request shows up?? Really??

I'm often up all night and don't get up til around noon. The vast majority of days, I check my email within an hour or so of getting up. Sometimes, the email is already a few hours old by the time I find it. Once, I was running late and didn't get a chance to check emails before leaving for shops. I didn't even see the email until later in the evening, and the 12 hours were *just* up. I don't recall if this was STN or not, but whoever it was still accepted my response, thank goodness.

But, my main point... twelve hours to reply to an unexpected email is ridiculous. Twenty-four hours is reasonable.

Happiness is merely life's way of keeping you off-balance.
I did a donut shop for them and received a request for clarification 21 days after the shop. I replied immediately and told them the answer they were looking for is already in my shop report and told them where to find it. I told them I also hoped payment wouldnt be delayed because of such a lengthy time between shop and request.

~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~* Shoppin' Mama of 4 lovely & unique girls and Nana to Bella, Delilah and Lincoln, shopping in Oregon and parts of Washington
Jaosmom Wrote:
> I did a donut shop for them and received a request
> for clarification 21 days after the shop. I
> replied immediately and told them the answer they
> were looking for is already in my shop report and
> told them where to find it. I told them I also
> hoped payment wouldnt be delayed because of such a
> lengthy time between shop and request.

Wow that's crazy!
Wow I'm glad I didn't accept that shop! I just did my first one with them and it went smoothly, no clarifications needed and paid right on time. Now I know what to watch for smiling smiley And I'm glad it all worked out for you in the end!
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