Shop Cancelled to Accommodate Another Shopper's Late Report

Early yesterday, I had scheduled a dinner shop for tomorrow evening. I got an email from the scheduler this afternoon telling me she had cancelled my shop because "Another shopper did the shop and just needed to file the report." I was sort of astounded when I read her email, as I've never heard of a shop being re-assigned after it was cancelled for not being submitted on time. Much less when it's already been assigned to another shopper. As I've already asked a guest to come with me on this shop, now I either have to cancel on them or just foot the dinner bill myself. I find this rather unprofessional of the MSC. Have any of you ever had this happen to you?

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I have never filed a report late without notifying an MSC. I have never had one cancelled because someone else finally filed their report. I am aware that sometimes the left hand doesn't talk to the right hand and shoppers have complained that they notified the MSC but the shop they had completed but been unable to file had been 'jerked out from under them'.

It is not a perfect universe. Yes, you are unhappy that you now need to figure out what to do with your invited guest. I would like you to consider how you would feel if you arrived home having done the shop only to find that for whatever reason you were unable to file your report in a timely manner and duly notified the MSC only to find that tomorrow morning the shop had been yanked away from you and you were out the cost of the shop with no recourse.
I've heard of it happening before. Look at it this way, the first shopper may have had a legitimate issue which delayed both the report and contact with the scheduler. The MSC is trying to be fair to a shopper who has already spent the money to perform the shop.

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 had something similar happen yesterday but I on the other side of the equation. I completed a very simple visit on Tuesday evening. The attached guidelines said report due in 24 hours. In the morning just about 12 hours later I tried to get into the report and it was gone right in front of my eyes. After re-reading all of the instructions, there were conflicting deadlines. This MS usually states to report within 12 hours and before 11:59 PM. This information was in the accepted email. I immediately sent an email off stating that I completed the visit the night before, tried to log on to complete the report and the shop was gone. About two minutes later I got an auto email saying the visit was cancelled. Within the next five minutes the scheduler said she reassigned the shop to me.

So could have been my fault for not clarifying the conflicting information before it became a problem or going with the most stringent guideline and reporting before the earlier deadline. Could have been the MSC for having the conflicting information. Either way I was happy. If it would have been yanked permanently I would have been a little sad, but not too much. It was a location within 5 miles of my house and I spent $7 bucks for an electrical outlet cover I needed anyway. It was a $10 fee and $5 reimbursement, took me five minutes in the store and ten to report.

I agree with Flash. Things happen occasionally. We don't always have all of the information. Nice that you found out before putting out the cash.
@FLG8ORS wrote:

Early yesterday, I had scheduled a dinner shop for tomorrow evening. I got an email from the scheduler this afternoon telling me she had cancelled my shop because "Another shopper did the shop and just needed to file the report." I was sort of astounded when I read her email, as I've never heard of a shop being re-assigned after it was cancelled for not being submitted on time. Much less when it's already been assigned to another shopper. As I've already asked a guest to come with me on this shop, now I either have to cancel on them or just foot the dinner bill myself. I find this rather unprofessional of the MSC. Have any of you ever had this happen to you?
Yes, this has happened to me. The scheduler did not tell me why the other shopper was late with their report and frankly, it was none of my business. I was pleasant with the scheduler and told her that I understood. I'm not sure if she was impressed with my attitude or she just felt bad but she promised to give me that same shop the following month. And surprise, surprise, she actually followed through were her promise.
If you had the assignment and had completed it on a timely basis according to requirements, that would be different. However, the MSC is within its rights to cancel a shop prior to its due date. Same as a shopper cancelling before the due date. It may not sit well, for either shopper or MSC. Just as an MSC will track a shopper's cancellation rate, a shopper will do the same. File it away for future reference.
This is why I try to report, in my car, directly after a shop. Then they're stuck paying two shoppers and hopefully will fix their system.
After I performed a shop and sent in the report with BARE, I saw in the comments section that the scheduler accidentally over scheduled the shop. But, they were honorable, and still paid me. The comment said something like "don't send report to client, but pay evaluator due to overscheduling". Pretty decent of BARE to do that!
Bare is one of the more honorable MSCs.

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 agree that once a shop has been correctly performed, the shopper should be allowed to report and should get paid for the report, whether or not the report is sent to the client. Any over-scheduling that is not detected by the MSC until AFTER the shop is performed should be paid.

I also agree with mert's comments above, that "an MSC is within its rights to cancel a shop prior to its due date. Same as a shopper cancelling before the due date." Knowing that a shop may be canceled after it is scheduled and has not yet been performed is a cost of doing business for a shopper. And, knowing that a shopper may cancel a shop before performing a shop, requiring the scheduler to find another shopper to perform the shop, is a cost of doing business for the MSC.
And I would love to know which mystery shop company was so nice to accommodate the late report. In most of the posts I read the original shopper would have been out of luck. This company seems nice enough to allow the late report. As for your guest, I do not know your situation but in all cases if I take someone on a dinner shop I let them know in advance that it is a shop. This I feel is necessary in order to avoid the guest doing something not allowed. I would think your guest would understand the situation and not expect you to pay for a dinner out of pocket. You can re invite them for your next shop.
I was out of town and was scheduled for a shop. When I got to the location I found out that the location was permanently closed. I was given half of the very nice fee. Good ole' BARE!!
Turned out for the best as my granddaughter was born that day and the area had Hurricane Patricia (leftover) zoomin' on through.
@sandyf wrote:

And I would love to know which mystery shop company was so nice to accommodate the late report. In most of the posts I read the original shopper would have been out of luck. This company seems nice enough to allow the late report.
I've had lots of MSCs accept "late" reports. When the 8-hour deadline falls in the middle of the night while I am sleeping, if I submit the report first thing in the morning, my reports are always accepted with perfect scores. Or due to circumstances beyond my control, I contact the scheduler and let them know what happened. Communication is key.
Even the most inflexible of MSCs, Market Force, will accept a late report with cause. When I find issues cropping while reporting in the evening, I shoot them an email stating I will try again for X number of minutes and if the problem is not resolved the report will be entered first thing the following morning. For most others all you need to do is ask.

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.
It seems to me the response means that the bad usually gets reported on the forum and the good news is only rarely mentioned. This is how life is. I am glad to hear that despite reading over and over about those whose late reports were rejected this is not the norm.
I'm guessing there are more factors in play. Just like anything else, veteran shoppers with good histories are probably more likely to be given a pass. My experience with MF leads me to believe late reporting would not be tolerated often and without a really good reason, specifically server issues on their end. As Sybil said, communication is always key and getting permission before hand is still recommended.

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.
And don't make a habit out of it. Most schedulers do keep tabs on these types of things. BTW, I have never been late with a MF report. I have made it just under the wire though many times.
I would sue the MS company in small claims court because their behavior is unacceptable.

And what exactly would the OP be suing them for?

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.
In order to sue, you have to have suffered economic damage as a result of something the other person has done. Independent contractors can be hired and fired largely at will, so I think this is going to be hard to win. Of course, there is another class of suits, for things like "loss of consortium." Maybe the OP's SO can sue because the OP was so distraught by events that there was a "loss of consortium."

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I did a shop for About Face earlier this month. When I sat down to do the report it was gone from my shop log. After a couple of back and forth emails with the scheduler it was reinstated. The explanation I got didn't make sense to me, but since I was able to complete the report (and get paid) the reason didn't really mater.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
Is there a similar restaurant available for the same evening? You can talk to your guest and just decide to eat at the alternate place instead. Of course, that depends on how well you know your guest and how flexible the relationship is. My boyfriend and I do shops frequently and I know if this happened to me, I would be right back on the shop boards looking for something else (and maybe even getting a last minute bonus out of it!). If not, we would just choose someplace cheaper instead since it would be coming out of pocket (or just going to the place we wanted anyway).

Shopping across Indiana but mostly around Indianapolis.
I had it done on a phone shop with a premium. Take you friend and enjoy but I would not do the shop again unless they call
The same thing happened to me. It was also a restaurant shop and I got the exact same email response. I was shocked that a late report would be accepted after it was reposted and awarded to me. I had picked up another shop to do as well, but only because the two were nearby. I ended up having to do just the other shop, even though alone, it wasn't worth the drive.
Last week I had a shop already scheduled, the paperwork was all printed out, and I did the shop. When I went to enter my report, the website said I have no shops to complete.
The shop that I had scheduled and completed was now listed as assigned to another shopper. I sent emails to the MSC and the scheduler but never received a reply.
I have had a shop cancelled by Ellis for the same reason, FLG8ORS. I had signed up as a back-up shopper for a shop, was eventually promoted to primary shopper, and shortly after that, the shop was cancelled to allow the original primary shopper to enter their report. I have also had a shop rejected with pay from Goodwin. They over scheduled and another shopper completed the same restaurant shop on the same day as I. My report was not used, but I received my full payment and reimbursement. I was also asked to return to the restaurant to complete the shop again the next day. Too bad I was unable to add the shop to my schedule as I LOVE the food at that restaurant! I was impressed with Goodwin! They actually called me on the telephone to inform me of their scheduling error.

I have also had a video shop cancelled by Ellis with the excuse that the shop had been cancelled by the client. Based on their job board, and my experience with Ellis, the truth was actually that they found a shopper with their own video equipment to complete the shop. The shop was back on the job board with a small bonus, but I could only self-assign as the back-up shopper. I won't ever have that happen again now that I own my own video equipment! Oh yeah, give me that extra money because I don't need video equipment mailed to me! LOL!

I hope your evening worked out for you, FLG8ORS!
@jobro wrote:

Last week I had a shop already scheduled, the paperwork was all printed out, and I did the shop. When I went to enter my report, the website said I have no shops to complete.
The shop that I had scheduled and completed was now listed as assigned to another shopper. I sent emails to the MSC and the scheduler but never received a reply.

If this shop was no big deal, you might email again letting them know you are disappointed in how it was handled and then just give them a flake citation in your records. On the other hand, if it involved a large amount of money or effort or distance and you do not get satisfaction going through normal channels, you could try something I did once. After being unfairly terminated by an MSC, I went to the company's main site, found the president's contact information, and emailed him with a detailed explanation of the situation and a request for his intervention. He had me reinstated and I have continued to work for that company. I don't know what happened to the person who terminated me.
@DavePi wrote:

I would sue the MS company in small claims court because their behavior is unacceptable.

Before a shopper even thinks about suing or what s/he might sue for, s/he needs to review the contractor agreement that was signed. Many of them require mediation of any disputes.
@Sybil2 wrote:

And don't make a habit out of it. Most schedulers do keep tabs on these types of things. BTW, I have never been late with a MF report. I have made it just under the wire though many times.

They say "by midnight" but I fairly often report after midnight, but before the morning.
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