Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Seriously, all I see are issues about not getting paid for completed shops. Is this a conspiracy that all of the companies are in on or are a lot of people just b*tching? From the look of all these threads there isn't one good MS company out there.

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Hope I don't jinx myself here, but I have done over 500 shops (with over 15 different companies) in the past 6 months and have not had an issue getting paid on any of them. So, there are good companies out there. Now with that being said, everyone of these companies I have worked for have people on here complaining about them. So, to each his own.
Nearly every MSC pays nearly everyone in full and on time nearly every time.
Nearly any MSC can make a mistake.
Nearly every shopper on this site who gets stiffed will complain about it (rightly so.)
Some shoppers indignantly leap to a conclusion of non-payment on the first day a payment is late.
Some shoppers make mistakes in tracking their payments.
Some shoppers make mistakes about when they were supposed to be paid.
Sometimes there is a commonality among non-payment complaints that leads to an MSC addressing an issue on their end.
Very few shoppers initiate a thread to say they were paid in full on time again.
I've only seen two out of hundreds of MSCs actually engage in payment shell games, both during their death throes.
I've seen at least two vociferous unpaid shoppers outed for their own deceitful practices that led to their not being paid.
Again, nearly every MSC pays nearly everyone in full and on time nearly every time.
Every company has paid me on time or, in some cases, early for all of my shops.

Rucker13 Wrote:
> Seriously, all I see are issues about not getting
> paid for completed shops. Is this a conspiracy
> that all of the companies are in on or are a lot
> of people just b*tching? From the look of all
> these threads there isn't one good MS company out
> there.

Arguing with fools is like playing chess with a pigeon...
...No matter how good you are, the pigeon will s@^t on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

Not scheduling for ANY company.
I have been shopping for several years and have only had one occasion of not being paid without just cause. It was a situation where the employee at a brand name service station was only accepting cash for convenience items and refused to provide me a receipt. In hindsight this should have been escalated by me to the next level because it was clearly a situation that the client should be aware of. At the time I was new and took the editors word for not being able to pay me. If I encounter strange situations now that have a client impact I escalate. I have even asked a scheduler or editor to get a second opinion from management that has resulted in being paid for situations that initially were refused. The bottom line is that we as contractors need to be sure to fulfill the requirements of the MSC. If I miss a photo I expect not to be paid because the MSC expectations are clear to me. I place the blame where it belongs and do a better job next time.
In 8 yrs of shopping I have never not been paid for a successfully completed shop. There have been a few, about 3 I can think of off the top of my head, I didn't get paid for but they were rejected shops. And I have probably only had to contact a scheduler a couple of times for a missed bonus or parking reimbursement.

Knock on wood!
Next month will be six years, thousands of assignments and who knows how many companies. Knock on wood, except for a handful involving an error on my part I have been paid for all of them, including a few of those with the most complaints for late and no pay. Somehow I got lucky and even completed a shop for Franchise Compliance right before they stopped paying.

There is a reason we ask for details when someone claims they were not paid. Often the shopper made a mistake and doesn't believe the MSC should withhold payment. To me they have an employee mindset which means "I showed up and you are obligated to pay me for my time." There have been people come here and complain about the same thing with company after company while everyone else is getting paid.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
The only times I've had an issue with late payments is when I changed the payment method (checks to PayPal, etc). But when contacting any MSC, they issued full payment either the next pay cycle or immediately. I've never been stiffed for a job I completed.

Some people aren't complaining per se, but simply asking if others have a late payment. If the company normally pays exactly on time, but they are suddenly a couple of days late, it can raise an eyebrow.
My experience is similar to Lisa's...only I have been shopping over fifteen years. I read the threads too and wonder because I have had so few bad payment experiences I think I can remember them all. One a company that I had to chase payment for, the hotel shop one where I had to stay on top of them but got all of my payments, and then a couple here and there that I messed up (went to the wrong address once and one I did right but put in the time the wrong times and they wouldn't believe me when I tried to correct it).

Non payments is such a non issue with me. And I don't even do the thorough background check most will do for a new company. I give everyone a try.

I have been paid for well over 99% of the jobs I have completed.

Freeman Group didn't pay me for the last shop I did for them. They went out of business. NSG also skipped out on paying me for a handful of jobs. I'm pretty sure they shut down, too. Other than that, I shopped two gas stations at the wrong time a few months back. The MSC let me return to do them at the right time, but of course I was not paid for my first attempt since it was my fault. I'm sure there's been a couple of other instances but memory fails me.

Shopping since 1995; full-time since 2009. Blogging about shopping on
In over 10 years of shopping, I have only been unfairly stiffed on payment one time. It was my first year, and a time sensitive shop done the day after daylight saving time change, so it was a lesson learned on checking the receipt times and communicating problems to the MSC in advance.

I have had to chase perhaps 5 payments in 10 years, but I utilize a rather conservative approach but cutting off MSCs early when they start to have payment issues. I was done with Freeman, Franchise Compliance, Restaurant Evaluators and such (and warning others not to shop for them) long before they payments actually came to a stop. If you have a concern about not getting paid, it's relatively easy to spot the problem companies and avoid them. At the risk of offending some of the forum members; Anyone with experience who did get stiffed by the previously mentioned MSCs was knowingly engaging in a risky business practice.

Lastly, kudos to Elcarev68 for the use of the word "vociferous" in the above post. You have expanded my vocabulary today!
When I read on this forum about companies not paying or are late paying their shoppers, I tend to avoid working for them.

Right now as I look at my list of receivables, there's just one MSC that I'm worried about not getting paid. They're 22 days late and haven't responded to my emails. Other than that, I haven't had any payment issues in 10 years.
I have always been paid. Except for a Sonic shop that I did incorrectly...and that was my bad.
I have one MSC that habitually pays 10 days late, other than that every payment problem I've had was my fault.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Like others, I have been doing this 10 years. One shop that I think I should be paid for and MSC doesn't agree. Borderline on instructions. One company I ALWAYS have to hunt payment, once I forgot and when I brought it up two years later they eventually paid. But except for that one shop I'm all paid up.
I have always received payment for the shops I have completed. Sometimes I have been surprised by the payment. I have received coaching from some of them but I have always been paid.
Only 2 MSC paid me late or still pending. Frontline Focus were about three or four behind when I got my last payment from them back in 2011.
The other one is Gapbuster which is getting later and later every month. So far no February payment and they do not know themselves when payment will be issue.

Willing to travel, Alberta, Canada
For the record I posted this as an observation for discussion and not so much as a question. I've been shopping for almost four years and have never had any problems with getting paid but sometimes I just have to roll my eyes when I look at the mystery shopping company discussion forum.
Everybody paid me. Every time.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
And it is a good topic for discussion. With all the dire warnings about most of the MSCs, this thread can add some balance.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I have been paid for every shop I completed correctly. I have been shopping since 2005. I have only had to chase payment once and I honestly think it was an oversight on their part as noone else was having problems getting paid by them. I had to threaten them with legal action though as they ignored my emails. I have since shopped for the same company and got paid with no problem.

Actually, I've been paid for every shop that I completed correctly. The only shop I've goofed on was an airport McDonalds shop where there were TWO McDonalds on the same concourse and I shopped the wrong one.

I did have to chase down payment once with a company a few years ago, but it was the first shop I had done with them and there was some kind of "accounting problem."

Market force paid me the wrong shop fee for a shop a couple of years ago, but they fixed it when it was brought to their attention. I was being paid by check back then, and I think they added it to the next month's check as a special line item on the invoice.

Most companies pay on time and are reputable. It's the Freeman's of the world that give the industry a bad rap.
I have always been paid for all of my shops. I've never not been paid for a shop.

One time, about 10 years ago, I took 4 banks shops. I received a call saying I would not be paid for all 4 shops because they were not done correctly. I asked what I did wrong and the girl said she didn't know. She was a temp hired for the day to call people to tell them they would not be paid for their shops.

I sent an email to the company saying that if they had to hire someone to call all the shoppers to tell them that they are not being paid, then it is not my or the other shoppers fault.

I got paid for all 4 shops.

I bet that temp never worked there again.

I no longer shop for that company.
It have been doing this since 2008 and have only two shops that resulted in zero pay through no fault of my own. There is one that I never quite figured out what went wrong. The second was for Freeman Group as the end was approaching. Steve was correct that I knew I was taking a risk at the time. My son was going to school on a rural campus with only two hotels. Since the other one was too scary for me to stay at I chose the other whenever I went to visit. One time there happened to be a shop at that hotel, so I took a calculated risk.

I had a couple other shops with errors or that they have requested additional information. I really don't understand some of the people who've had dozens of shops rejected an unpaid in a very short time.
Only one company has not paid me for correctly performed shops. That was the MSC that had the Citibank account about 5 years ago and went out of business owing money to quite a few shoppers. nI that case there was, as I recall, little or no warning. Until the month that I did 5 of their shops and they then went out of business, I had always been paid and had seen nothing to the contrary.

I have quit working for a couple of companies based on forum posts. Some went out of business. Three have actually managed to refloat their financial boats and, after watching posts that they were making timely payments, I have gone back to work for two of them. Those two had the misfortune to have a major client default, owning them substantial sums. It took a lot of time and guts for the company owners to make good on what was owed to shoppers and to rebuild their reputations.

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.
I've been doing this a little less than a year, but (knock on wood) I have been paid every time where I did not make a mistake. Once, a company forgot a bonus. When I asked for it, it was promptly added to my next payment. Once, I messed up, and then I was allowed to reshop. It seems most companies are very fair most of the time.
I have to say that although many companies have a slow pay turnaround, they are all up front about what that time expectation can be. I have had a few that were not paid, but they were due to my own error and not an MSC. It seems that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. As a result, we read about a lot of negative issues and do not see the positive ones. I feel safe in saying that people are not going to complain about receiving fast or on time payments. For every bad experience on this forum, there are hundreds of good ones. We are at the point of having to research a negative poster in the same manner as we would research a negative company. If we look at a poster's history and it is all negative, we should take that into account. I personally lurked for quite a while before posting at all, so if you are looking at the number of posts, also look at the join date.
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