Sentry Marketing payment?

Once something like this is brought up on the forum, it's no longer private. I'm all in favor of handling issues like those discussed in this thread privately and professionally, which means most of this thread posted by shoppers would not have seen the light of day as those posts lacked professionalism. However, in our lightly regulated forum (which we all enjoy) content of posts is usually not moderated except for the deletion of spam. We see so many unprofessional posts that most of them go past us without recognition or comment.

Allowing taunting and vicious posts by shoppers and then suggesting MSCs handle the issues privately and professionally is incongruent. What would work better would be for all of us to get our houses in order and for all of us to handle these types of issues privately and professionally.

Thank you, bgriffin, for letting us know your account has been reinstated. Thank you, Dave at Sentry, for your reconsideration. I hope this works out well for both of you.

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

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Mert wrote:

This goes beyond the ridiculous. Sentry, you want to show professionalism? Deal with situations such as this, privately, like other MSCs. And, get your house in order.

Dave's response:

Mert - could you please elaborate on you post? I did not start this thread. In fact, this thread was started on June 12 and we did not respond to any post until September 14. During that time there were several derogatory comments made about my company and I. You will not find a response to any of those comments.

I did not initiate any posts, I simply responded to information posted that from our point of view, is factually incorrect. For example, I don't recall having a lengthy conversation with any shopper this year in which litigation was discussed. The first posting guideline of this forum is "Be honest". An attempt to paint our company as litigious is not honest.

Perhaps you are referring to the situation with bgriffin. If so, I contacted brgiffin off-line to let him know that I reactivated his account. I did not make a public announcement on this forum.

I do agree with you that situations should be dealt with privately, however, information and comments made on this forum are not private. Even you chose to make your comment publicly rather than send it in an IM. I think the reality here is that you are among a small group of forum members who don't like me or my company, never will, and will never say anything remotely positive about Sentry Marketing Group or me. Isn't this the reason we/I are the only company you consistently attack? Isn't this the reason that when other companies work out an issue with form member, they are complimented for being responsive to shoppers and we we do it (see the thread started by "deafsigner", we are accused of buying silence. I do agree with you that the situation is ridiculous.

The irrational hatred of our company and I on this forum has created an environment where anyone can post anything about us, no matter how factually incorrect, without recourse. That's hows a member posted "F$CK YOU SENTRY MARKETING" and the mods did not take it down or address it with the the member. That's why you chastise me for participating in a thread about my company but don't say anything to the forum members making outrageous accusations without supporting them one iota. It's also the reason that so many posts that are critical of our company are made by forum members who are only active a very short time.

I understand that I was wrong in February, 2009 when I used a forum members first name in a post. The conversation became heated and I did not handle the situation professionally. I've apologized and since then, have kept all of my posts professional. Interestingly, another company owner did the same thing (http://www.mysteryshopforum.com/read/6/98330/363213#msg-363213) and you've said nothing about it.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2015 01:56PM by Sentry Marketing.
Mary, just because there's an open post, doesn't mean it should remain public. My opinion.

My choice is to take this private with the MSC, and spare the forum.
Mert Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Your apologies are irrelevant. As a professional
> courtesy, I will not regurgitate the past ugly
> chapters in MSF regarding Sentry.
>
After six pages of this, it's too late to spare the forum. Let's spare it in the future by keeping our posts positive instead of negative. We need to handle the current situation, whatever it is, and stop dredging up the past and dog piling it on top of the present issue. Whatever we can't settle, we need to let go and move on. Continuing to target someone is just wrong on every level and is a waste for all of us.

After the hot and heavy hits the fan, it's too late for us to quit, cry foul, and want the thread shut down or deleted. We created this monster and it belongs to us. I hope we can learn to work our current issues to a conclusion and figure out how to handle our problems calmly and professionally.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Avoid sentry in general, they are unprofessional and was not doing a good job in paying the shopper! Avoid them BIG TIME!
I never had a problem with pay but Sentry Marketing They dropped me from there list and no one will talk to me about it I emailed thm to see what was wrong and if it could be resolved but they didn't answer me.
I wish.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
As a noob to the forum I don't have a dog in this fight. I only wish to point out that it doesn't make anyone look good. Not the shopper, not the MSC.

This is my one and only contribution to this thread.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
cngross22

I apologize if you contacted us and we did not respond. Please reach out to me directly and I will reserach the situation.

Dave
dave@sentrymarketing.com

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/2014 07:57PM by Sentry Marketing.
I think that many people have experienced negative situations with Sentry and with no other recourse than what Dave says goes, it leaves them with a sour taste. So they seek out find what's available on the Internet and this site is one of the first that pops up in a search. Then they find that, hey, there *are* other out there who've had similar negative experiences and so they talk about them here.

Under this discussion header on the home page, it says to discuss your experiences good and bad, nowhere does it expressly say that in order to contribute, one must remain all flowers and unicorns and sunshine and rainbows. So to the people posting "keep it positive!" I say, go talk to the admins, talk to the people who created this forum.
A bad experience backed up with facts and presented in a professional manner is a positive contribution.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Mary, Would you not consider cngross22's situation of being deactivated and not having emails answered in regards to why being a bad experience backed up with facts? If she had not "complained" here, it would have never been addressed.
Barbage, I do consider that post a bad experience backed up with facts and presented in a professional manner. I thought the post was completely appropriate. It stated what happened in a measured and non-aggressive way and I'm hoping the poster gets the desired outcome. Bringing a problem of that nature to the forum after non-response by an MSC is exactly the right thing to do.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
cngross22 handled this situation perfectly and we dropped the ball. No excuses. The inquiry should have been responded to in a professional and timely manner and we did not do so. I would expect our company to handle a similar situation in a more professional manner next time.

Dave Agius, President
The Sentry Marketing Group
Feedback Plus, Inc.
I'm so tired of the refrain of "back it up with facts" when "the facts" are scrutinized under Dave's skewed lense. There are the shoppers' "facts" and there is Dave's. And if Dave says a shopper is histrionic, then that is the "fact" as related herein. How do we get to "prove a negative" when we don't choose to share the details of our stories so Dave can then try to pick those stories apart because he has a pathological need to prove himself here, and the reward is something along the lines of "you didn't tell us your story = you aren't sharing 'facts' = you're being dishonest and negative = what you have to say is irrelevant"? That is a very uneven standard. Dave has all his "facts"an he backtracks, he obfuscate, and upon challenge, he calls you out as if you have some larger, more sinister agenda when all you're doing is relating your experience without trying to give away so many detail so that Dave can identify you, as he notoriously does. Not right. Not right at all. Don't like what's said about you on the Internet? How 'bout not reading it.
I just accepted a fine dining at a $$$$ restaurant with Sentry. I hope my reimbursement comes in quicker than 60-90 days! As far as detailed narratives...I just started doing shops the end of July and have done approximately 80. My first shops was for a fine dining restaurant and it was tedious! So now I can only compare to the "storybook" narratives. I completed my first fast food the other day and was done entering my information in 5 minutes. My fiance was shocked more than I was. I was wondering, "What had I subjected myself to all this time?" Yes, I am very picky with my shops but to spend sooooo much time writing lengthy narratives. UGH! I look at it as a "barter system", if you will. I am an unemployed professional, a foodie and in the middle of planning a wedding (which all my deposits were made the week BEFORE I was laid off). Joy! So I look at it as I eat and do I the things I can not afford to do on my own and in return I let the client know how their restaurant, bar, hotel, football stadium, theme park, movie theater, or spa is performing. Hey, you feed me a $200 meal, I have no problem providing you with 2 hours of my time.

All that being said, I mentioned I started July 30th and am I just now getting most my checks in. :-)

Is there a concern I should be made aware of before I put $200 on the table?

.............................................................................................





**Throw me to the wolves and I'll come back leading the pack!**
atlash

I think you should take a long look in the mirror before accusing anyone of obfuscating, backtracking and pathological behavior. Any reasonable person reading your comments will see that you refuse to answer direct inquires about inconsistencies in your story and that your purpose for posting is not to resolve an issue, but rather to slander my company and dissuade others from accepting assignments from us. I'd say that your need to post over 20 times in this thread could easily be interpreted as "pathological" as well as the need to attack any forum member that posts anything remotely resembling support of my company or I.

You've made a lot of claims about my company and I are that are simply untrue. You are entitled to you own opinion, but not your own set of facts. The truth is the truth and lies are lies. You owe the other members of this forum the respect of posting information that is factually correct and you have not do so. When you get questioned by members of this forum, you respond by attacking and attempting to marginalize them. It's your prerogative to remain anonymous, but when you do so and post information that is outlandish and hard to believe, don't complain when some members of the forum question that accuracy of what's been posted and your motives.

It is true that for a variety of reasons previously discussed, you were paid 15 to 20 days late for a few assignments. You were, in fact, paid for every assignment you completed for our company. It's easy to make claims from behind an anonymous user id, but it is also cowardly. You've been very clear about your stance on posting factual information, not caring about not only what is said but how it is said, and your overall goal in participating in this thread. I think everyone gets the fact that you don't like Sentry Marketing and will never shop for us again.


atlash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm so tired of the refrain of "back it up with
> facts" when "the facts" are scrutinized under
> Dave's skewed lense. There are the shoppers'
> "facts" and there is Dave's. And if Dave says a
> shopper is histrionic, then that is the "fact" as
> related herein. How do we get to "prove a
> negative" when we don't choose to share the
> details of our stories so Dave can then try to
> pick those stories apart because he has a
> pathological need to prove himself here, and the
> reward is something along the lines of "you didn't
> tell us your story = you aren't sharing 'facts' =
> you're being dishonest and negative = what you
> have to say is irrelevant"? That is a very uneven
> standard. Dave has all his "facts"an he
> backtracks, he obfuscate, and upon challenge, he
> calls you out as if you have some larger, more
> sinister agenda when all you're doing is relating
> your experience without trying to give away so
> many detail so that Dave can identify you, as he
> notoriously does. Not right. Not right at all.
> Don't like what's said about you on the Internet?
> How 'bout not reading it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2014 11:51AM by Sentry Marketing.
Lisardh,

If your payments have started to come in, sit down and go over them. Since you started mystery shopping with your own money, pay yourself back first. Then see what you have left in fees. Take half your fees and start using that for reimbursed shops, the rest, you pay to yourself. Just keep cycling that half amount forward into more shops. Over time, you will build up a decent-sized honeypot of shop money to use for shops.

Plan to be out of that money for two months. If waiting two months for the $200 will hurt you, I would turn down the shop. Remember that since you have a set amount to work with, putting out $200 on one shop could mean that you may have to turn down other shops (maybe better PAYING ones, maybe bonused ones) because you don't have the funds to outlay on them, since you're waiting for this $200 reimbursement.

As a rule, I never use my own money on shops.

------------------------------------------------
Plan the work. Work the plan.
Lisardh, if you can't spare the $200 you spend on the shop indefinitely without repercussions, I'd say you're not ready for that shop. Bbird has given you excellent advice about building up a kitty for shopping purposes.

It's a good idea to never spend money you need for day to day expenses on a shop, because you can't depend on getting it back in a certain amount of time. In fact, you can't depend on getting it back at all. Something could go wrong on the shop that results in your report not being accepted and if that happens, no fee and no reimbursement.

Any shop requiring a large outlay of your cash is also a shop with risk involved. Build up your shop kitty so if and when the day comes that you lose a shop, it doesn't affect your day to day running money.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Mary, my first month of shopping, when the shop money all finally rolled in, after paying myself back for reimbursements and gas, I made a whopping.... $37. I still remember that amount!! I didn't know at the time about tracking mileage, so I was tracking how much gas I was buying, and paid myself back for that. My first shops were fast food, gas stations, loads of grocery stores, and retail. After that, I realized yeah, I was getting free gas and free food, but not making any money, so then I started tackling banks and dealerships.

On that note, Lisardh, I think it is important to have a decent mix of reimbursement shops and no purchase required shops. Doing mostly reimbursement shops, it is easy to pay yourself back, but really hard to build up a honeypot, since the value in most of those shops are in the reimbursement and not in the pay. Being unemployed, there will eventually be a need to use some of your shop money for real-life expenses... whether it is a car repair, new tires (shopping wears them out fast!) or something at home. It is a good idea to start building that fund so that it is available when/if it's needed. Better to have and not need, than need and not have.

Honestly I would steer clear of more high outlay fine dining shops until you have built up your honeypot.

------------------------------------------------
Plan the work. Work the plan.
N/A

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”
~ Jimi Hendrix

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ~ Mark Twain

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” ~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2014 04:01AM by Shop2LiveinFL.
So true, BBird. Tire bill yesterday: $551.00. Can't pay that with free food and free goodies. Gotta have cash.

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

I regret that you had payment issues and that you weren't satisfied with the outcome. We all have to consider the whole picture when picking our companies, and if we have more than a one time issue every now and then, we've probably made a poor choice for ourselves. It sounds like your situation is that you need to be paid rapidly and that makes you and Sentry a poor fit as you know you won't get paid for thirty to sixty days and of course longer if there are complications. If you found the company's payment habits objectionable, I don't understand why you continued beyond the first shop or two. We all have to look out for ourselves. We can sympathize and offer suggestions but you are the one who chooses your companies.

I have folders for four jobs for four different companies on my desk right now for follow up on payment. I may have been paid and I may not have been paid. This doesn't mean I wasn't paid. It may mean I didn't keep up with my business. I'll have to work on that. It definitely does not mean there's anything wrong with the companies and I'll continue to accept work from them while I search out my problems. I'm pretty sure the problems are mine and not theirs, but I'm optimistic that if I have actually not been paid we'll be able to work to an amiable resolution.

A large part of whether you can make this business work for you has to do with your attitude toward problems and how you resolve those problems. Sometimes we don't get the resolution we wanted and we have to walk away. The alternative is to waste time on something we can't fix.

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