Fellow shoppers! Please help me decide how to proceed.........

Hi everyone! I will try to make this as brief as possible, but that isn’t one of my strong points, so….LOL. Anyway, I would really appreciate any advice or insight regarding a problem I am having with a company, which I will not name at this point. If it is figured out, that is fine, too.

I recently completed a car wash shop for this company that went south almost from the very beginning. I allowed the salesperson to do his pitch of the different washes available, per guidelines, prior to asking for the specific wash required. After asking for the wash, the salesperson told me that I would be required to pay a $10.00 “extra dirty” fee, in addition to the regular price for the wash. This is where the fun began. I began reviewing the guidelines in my head:

“…..do not complete it correctly by following the instructions and questions listed on the survey form, ………..you will not be paid and will no longer be considered an active shopper for……” “you must ask for the __________ wash only” “you will not be reimbursed beyond the specified amount……” and came to three conclusions: 1) if I refused the wash altogether and left the location, I would not be paid, may be deactivated, and would probably be made as a shopper; 2) If I took a lower priced wash that would offset the extra charge in order to stay in the reimbursement range, I would not be paid and may be deactivated; and 3) If I accepted the correct wash and paid the extra fee, I could complete the shop correctly, explain on the report what happened, and ask for the extra $10.00.

Being the diligent and prudent shopper that I am, I chose #3. I explained on the report what happened, pointing out that my car was really not that dirty (the honest truth), and suggested that it was only fair that I be compensated for the extra money as to not do so would have resulted in a bad shop.

After hearing nothing for about a week, I contacted the scheduler (whom I later learned was also the owner of the company) and explained the situation to her. At first she claimed to know nothing of the problem, and cited the guidelines regarding “any extras ordered would not be reimbursed.” Explaining that this charge was not for extras, but was required and according to the salesman, would be for any wash I requested, fell on deaf ears for a couple of rounds of emails. Then it was an issue that my receipt was illegible (which it was, due to the salesman placing greasy air fresheners on top of it prior to handing it to me – a fact I also mentioned in my report). I offered to send a copy of my bank statement to show how much I paid, but was not taken up on said offer. Next, she made issue that I did not have an itemized receipt. I pointed out to her that I was not aware that an itemized receipt was even available from the location and furthermore, the guidelines made no mention of obtaining one.
This went on for several emails, and then things started getting good. I suggested to her that this charge probably wasn’t even authorized by the client, since no mention of it was made in the guidelines and it was not on the menu board of the location and as such, I was sent to do a shop without the needed information to perform it correctly, and therefore should be reimbursed. She finally relented and said she would present the issue to the client and go from there. About a week later, she contacted me and said she had talked with the client and without an itemized receipt, she couldn’t help me. I reiterated my response about that issue, and several back and forths later, she once again said she would talk to the client.

When I was next contacted, she said that the client was aware of the “extra dirty” fee sometimes charged, adding that it was out of their control that my car was that dirty. However, she said that they were able to find a legible copy of my receipt (not itemized, mind you) and had spoken with the salesman and that he remembered me and that my truck was caked underneath and outside with mud. Ok people, I DO NOT NOW, NOR HAVE I EVER OWNED A TRUCK AND I DID NOT TAKE ANYONE ELSE'S TRUCK TO THE SHOP. When I pointed this out, although she didn’t come right out and say it, she alluded that I was a liar who was just trying to get paid for services I shouldn’t have ordered. She said that I should have asked for a lower priced shop, other shoppers have done that and still been paid, even though the guidelines said to ask for one specific wash. She came at me again about the itemized receipt. She then asked for the make and model of car that I “allegedly” used for the wash, saying she would need the information if she were to help me any further.

I refused to give her this info, on the basis that I believed it would only allow them (or her) to fabricate another story of how well the salesman remembered me and that I didn’t believe she was trying to help me at all, but just trying to avoid paying me the extra money. I told her if the client was truly aware of such a charge, it should have been mentioned in the guidelines, so that I would know this issue may come up. I “alluded” that I didn’t think she had actually spoken to the client, but that I thought maybe I should. There was a lot of other things said back and forth, but she has now stopped responding.

Finally, I noticed on the website that I have been “self deactivated.” I did not do this, and when I inquired about it, and pointed out that I knew it said self-deactivated, but that I didn’t do that, she admitted to doing it herself because she did not have time to argue with me further.

At this point, this isn’t about the measly $10 at all. It’s about making her (and the client, if in fact the client is aware of any of this) take responsibility for bad guidelines, sending me out on a shop unprepared for the situation, and her lack of faith and total disrespect for me as a shopper. How should I proceed here?

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I would think the client would want to know that their salesperson is driving away customers by overcharging them. If you gave them the description of your car, maybe the client could ask the site to see the security video, and verify that your car was not that dirty.
Yes I agree that I think the client should know. The MSC claims, however, that the client was contacted and authorizes this charge, but I am inclined not to believe her and I think giving her any further information would be more of a detriment than a help. But it doesn't really matter how dirty the car was (something I also argued with the MSC about), the fact remains that if this was a charge that I, as a shopper, would possibly have to deal with, there should have been some mention of it in the guidelines so that I would be prepared.
You may want to consider giving them the make/model of your car. What difference does it make to you ? As MJT stated, they may be able to look up the footage.
@shawnthewoman wrote:

She then asked for the make and model of car that I “allegedly” used for the wash, saying she would need the information if she were to help me any further.

I refused to give her this info, on the basis that I believed it would only allow them (or her) to fabricate another story of how well the salesman remembered me and that I didn’t believe she was trying to help me at all, but just trying to avoid paying me the extra money. I told her if the client was truly aware of such a charge, it should have been mentioned in the guidelines, so that I would know this issue may come up. I “alluded” that I didn’t think she had actually spoken to the client, but that I thought maybe I should. There was a lot of other things said back and forth, but she has now stopped responding.

Finally, I noticed on the website that I have been “self deactivated.” I did not do this, and when I inquired about it, and pointed out that I knew it said self-deactivated, but that I didn’t do that, she admitted to doing it herself because she did not have time to argue with me further.

At this point, this isn’t about the measly $10 at all. It’s about making her (and the client, if in fact the client is aware of any of this) take responsibility for bad guidelines, sending me out on a shop unprepared for the situation, and her lack of faith and total disrespect for me as a shopper. How should I proceed here?

Why would you refuse to give the MSC the information about the car you were driving? I have been contacted by MSCs asking that I describe myself, tell them what I was wearing, etc., so I can be further identified. I have never minded doing that because I had always been completely honest on my reports and it was important to me that the information I provided get to the client. I agree it's not about $10. The only way you are going to have a chance of making the client take responsibility is by providing info that identifies your vehicle.

Since you've asked advice "How should I proceed here?", I will offer my opinion. I would have given the info about my vehicle immediately when asked. Since you did not, and this has gotten to the point that you have been deactivated, I would communicate with the MSC, apologize, and provide that information. Actually, how I moved forward would depend on whether or not I ever wanted to work for the company again. This may be at the point that the bridge has been burned.

edited to remove a bunch of smiley faces that showed up in my post - not sure what was up with that .....

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2018 12:38PM by roflwofl.
Give them a chance to sort this out in your favor by providing the info on your vehicle. If you do not, you hurt no one but yourself.

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.
Maybe I wasn't clear. When the MSC claimed she had contacted the client, she said they had found my receipt, and had spoken with the salesman about the matter. The salesman "remembered" me and how much mud was caked all over my TRUCK. I didn't drive a truck to the shop. Therefore, either the MSC is lying about ever speaking to the client about it, the client is lying about speaking to the salesman, or the salesman is lying about remembering me. I was told this information BEFORE she asked for my make and model. If I give her that information now, what;s to stop the salesperson from "remembering" me again, with the correct information this time? And again, how dirty the car was insn't the issue. The issue is taking responsibility for shoddy guidelines that put me in a position to make a decision on the spot that is either going to cost me money or force me to do a bad shop.
I think you want to be seen as proactive and honest, which I'm not doubting. Giving them the make/model may enable them to pull up the video.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2018 01:34PM by 7star.
@shawnthewoman wrote:

Maybe I wasn't clear. When the MSC claimed she had contacted the client, she said they had found my receipt, and had spoken with the salesman about the matter. The salesman "remembered" me and how much mud was caked all over my TRUCK. I didn't drive a truck to the shop. Therefore, either the MSC is lying about ever speaking to the client about it, the client is lying about speaking to the salesman, or the salesman is lying about remembering me. I was told this information BEFORE she asked for my make and model. If I give her that information now, what;s to stop the salesperson from "remembering" me again, with the correct information this time? And again, how dirty the car was insn't the issue. The issue is taking responsibility for shoddy guidelines that put me in a position to make a decision on the spot that is either going to cost me money or force me to do a bad shop.

You were very clear. The vehicle IS the issue. The client's employee told a story about a customer. He may truly believe that the mystery shopper was the driver of a truck, and he may be lying. To assume he is lying, or to assume that the MSC is lying, speaks volumes. You do not trust the client or the MSC you are working with. Why are you surprised that they do not trust you?

Basically, you are saying "I don't trust any of you. Someone here is lying. But I want to be trusted completely and I won't provide any more information because I think it's all irrelevant. Just TRUST me." They are telling you "the salesman remembers a customer driving a truck" and your response is "I wasn't driving a truck, but I won't tell you what I was driving."

There's something wrong here. I'm not saying you are lying, but not providing the vehicle information doesn't make sense if you are telling the truth.
Guys, thanks so much for the replies, and there seems to be a consensuses here. Bit let me ask this: What good will giving them them? They already know how much I spent, they know how much i SHOULD have spent They know the charge is not listed on the menu board or in the guidelines. I just fail to see any good reason to give her that info at tihis point
I don't see any good reason why you wouldn't. I think now it's too late to save the relationship between you and the MSC, though. You should have given the info immediately when requested the first time.
@roflwofl, when you put it that way, I see your point. i'm hesitant only because so much of what the MSC said to me was either really hard to believe, or completely not true altogether. If I give her the info, though, and the salesman "remembers" me again, what then? All it will really prove is that I was there and my car was washed. The fact that i paid the extra money isn't a question.
It will prove the salesman did not remember your car correctly. That will shift the 'believability' factor to your favor. That will gain you credibility. Why do you care if the salesman remembers you if you don't plan on going back ? Which I assume you won't.

The typical MSC wants to get paid for a shop and it's in their interest to help you get your report approved.


@shawnthewoman wrote:

@roflwofl, when you put it that way, I see your point. i'm hesitant only because so much of what the MSC said to me was either really hard to believe, or completely not true altogether. If I give her the info, though, and the salesman "remembers" me again, what then? All it will really prove is that I was there and my car was washed. The fact that i paid the extra money isn't a question.
? If providing the requested information leads to a footage review and proves that you were there and your car was washed, that also might indicate that the alleged truck caked with mud was not the vehicle that was associated with you during this shop. Thus, the extra dirty charge was not appropriate for he vehicle that you used during this shop. .This might be a basis for re-visiting the shop discussion.

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. - Franklin D. Roosevelt


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2018 02:16PM by Shop-et-al.
Okay, well, I DID ask for advice, and since it all seems to be the same, and I DO see the points yall are trying to make, I'll do it and see what happens. I will be sure to come back and let you know how it turns out.
Most of us on the forum try to help each other out. Speaking for myself, if a MSC asks for clarification details on a shop, I provide it to them. Since they are my employer, I have to work with them to get my shop approved. The shop instructions are many times unclear but we have to remember we are working together to make this successful.


Hope it works out for ya !
I totally agree with everyone else: Go ahead and give the the information on your vehicle. If the salesman comes up with the same story, then it seems to me that it would call into question his memory or his honesty.

To be fair, the salesperson may not have been lying. These people see dozens or hundreds of cars go through the lines every day. The salesperson may truly be mistaken or may be lying. Whichever it is, your refusing to give the the information may make *you* look suspect. If they pull the video and see that your vehicle didn't warrant the "extra dirty" fee, you may get paid. But even if you don't, the employee who, it seems, overcharged you will be reprimanded, one would hope.

Just as an FYI on mistaken identity, my husband and I did a restaurant shop recently, and the report was returned for clarification. The server claimed she knew who the shoppers were, and was fairly accurate with her physical descriptions. But her recounting of events was way off in some respects. I recalled that there was another couple sitting nearby who could have matched our general descriptions. I suspect the server wasn't entirely truthful because she didn't do everything she was supposed to, but it could very well be that she mis-identified the shopper couple.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
After all of this back and forth I think that it is important to point out that associates often challenge shoppers' reports and that the client AND the MSC are really duty bound to re-examine the issue by getting more information from all sides. The MAC person is doing what she is SUPPOSED to do in this situation. If you suspect entrapment every time that you are asked to provide more information to be used to sort out whether the associate was right or wrong, or what you are or drove or wore, you may be in a business that will make you upset and uncomfortable on a regular basis. You are fortunate; many times the shopper has to BEG the MSC and the client to go back and examine the on-site video to substantiate the shopper's claims. In this case, that was freely offered. So, you may better understand why some forum members were so surprised at your assessment of the situation.

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.
Okay, I sent the info to her; we will see. And I'm not catching attitude here, so please don't misunderstand, but I have to point out a few things. I have NEVER had a problem providing additional information when it was asked for, and I've been shopping since 2011 - not as seasoned as some of you vets, but not exactly a newbie either. And if the MSC had asked for that information early on in the discussion, I would have given it freely and not thought a thing of it. If the MSC had said ANYTHING that indicated that she was on my side and would give me the benefit of doubt at least until some things could be sorted out, my attitude would have been completely different. By the time I came to her with the issue, the shop itself had already been approved, the only issue was the extra charge. The very first response I received from the MSC was this:

"I do not know what this is about or what you feel you need an extra charge
about. _________ said your comments stated it was for your car being extra
dirty, but there is nothing on the receipt that shows any charges
specifically. We do not pay for any upcharges however."

Now, I'm not an overly sensitive person, and I really don't think was being over sensitive when I read this response, but it sounded snotty and defensive to me. And each successive message was worse than the one before it. So by the time I was asked to provide the car information, I felt as if it would only be used against me. Already the salesperson had connected the wrong vehicle with my receipt, whether on purpose or not. Already the MSC had deactivated my account, but did so under the pretense of "self-deactivation." Is it any wonder that I felt I was being scammed somehow?
Good Luck on this. Hopefully it is not too late in a situation that has already gone pretty far south. Once the car and the dirty issue gets resolved and hopefully it will in your favor, perhaps they will be more open to listening to your issue about the guidelines not addressing the scenario you ran into. It seems they dug their heels in early on but perhaps that will change. I, like you, would certainly like to know in guidelines that I cannot bring in an extra dirty car and what to do if I am faced with an extra charge. Personally I feel that extra dirty would be a great reason to go to a car wash.
As promised, an update. The client is supposed to review the new information given with the manager of the wash. In the meantime, the MSC has agreed to reimburse me for the extra fee. The shop has been posted again, and I wish someone here would take it so we could dissect the guidelines because I don't think anything in them has been changed. Nothing was changed in the brief description of the shop. Oh, and I was able to get reactivated. Thanks to everyone who put in their 2 cents.
It certainly sounds as if the guidelines should address the "what-if" situation of an employee requiring the shopper to pay an extra fee. Either proceed with the shop and get reimbursed the extra charge, or abandon the shop, write the report as best you can, and get paid the base fee. After all, I should think the end client would want to know just many "extra dirty" fees a particular location is charging. If a much higher percentage than average, that might mean the location isn't being totally aboveboard.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
@BirdyC wrote:

It certainly sounds as if the guidelines should address the "what-if" situation of an employee requiring the shopper to pay an extra fee. Either proceed with the shop and get reimbursed the extra charge, or abandon the shop, write the report as best you can, and get paid the base fee. After all, I should think the end client would want to know just many "extra dirty" fees a particular location is charging. If a much higher percentage than average, that might mean the location isn't being totally aboveboard.

Not only that, but there's the issue of the "itemized" receipt. I now know they do generate one, but I didn't know that going in. So much fuss was made of "if you had an itemized receipt....", it should definitely be in the guidelines to ask for one if you don't receive one. I also now know that if the vehicle is considered "extra dirty" they are supposed to hose it down with a pressure washer prior to entering the wash tunnel, something that did not happen with my car. It was run right through; I never even saw a pressure washer at the location.

The MSCs need to remember that sometimes we shop places that are completely new to us. I have NEVER taken a car to car wash in my life, unless you count the baseball team at the gas station raising money for uniforms or something. My car being clean is not something I really care about as long as it gets me where I'm going. I only took the shop because it was in the vicinity of where I was shopping that day and it made a good filler. That the car could use a wash wasn't even a consideration! The guidelines to these shops should be written as if a person who had been frozen for 100 years was doing it and knew nothing about anything. If that had been the way mine were written, I would have been able to report that I got scammed on the "extra dirty" charge and would have had my itemized receipt to prove it.
Just a comment about the itemized receipt. Yes, they should mention it but I would like to point out that I have needed an itemized receipt in 99.9% of the mystery shops I have done. Most of us just automatically ask for one. Your mystery shopping brain must have been offline that day. lol
Why not give her a description of the car? I do not understand why you would not give that information. I think you could have avoided all this by simply giving the information they requested.
I've got a similar situation. Different shop,probably different MSC. I'm assigned a Curbside service takeout. The guidelines say not all locations have Curbside availability. Instructions are to check the attached location list and if it is listed as No Curbside Service you have to go in. The made a point of saying if the service you HAD to us it or the shop would be invalid. My shop was on the list as No Curbside. The website and the app to place the order says the service IS available. I called the location and talked to the manager and he verified they do have Curbside service. My questions is... Do I use the Curbside because it is there, or do I go inside because the instructions and guidelines say to check the list. I've emailed the scheduler. I hope I hear before tomorrow when the shop is due.
I cannot imagine a car wash that charges extra for a dirtier vehicle. I mean, come on now, the whole reason you take a car to the car wash is because it IS dirty and needs washed. Maybe if you had a Baja truck and drove it off road mudding for a week straight. Especially if an automatic car wash is used. Just run it through the machine and be done with it. If it is a handwash location, then MAYBE an extra fee could be assessed, but it should be clearly posted on the menu. I can just see their menu now:

Car wash -- $15
Soap -- extra $3
Water -- extra $6
Air Dry -- extra $4
Towel Dry -- extra $10
If your car is actually dirty -- extra $10

LOL!!!

Thank goodness I'm too stupid to be mental!
@barbage wrote:

I've got a similar situation. Different shop,probably different MSC. I'm assigned a Curbside service takeout. The guidelines say not all locations have Curbside availability. Instructions are to check the attached location list and if it is listed as No Curbside Service you have to go in. The made a point of saying if the service you HAD to us it or the shop would be invalid. My shop was on the list as No Curbside. The website and the app to place the order says the service IS available. I called the location and talked to the manager and he verified they do have Curbside service. My questions is... Do I use the Curbside because it is there, or do I go inside because the instructions and guidelines say to check the list. I've emailed the scheduler. I hope I hear before tomorrow when the shop is due.

Yes, in this case use the curbside. The list is not up to date and the location's manager might contest the shop if you don't use curb. Pay online and pick your time and they bring the food out. Easiest shop ever. Be sure to select free chips and salsa with ordering online. I did four dinner shops within the last week. With the three for ten special amd free chips I fed three with food left over. Enjoy.
I know this MSC. I would call tomorrow if you don't hear back via email, ASAP.

@barbage wrote:

I've got a similar situation. Different shop,probably different MSC. I'm assigned a Curbside service takeout. The guidelines say not all locations have Curbside availability. Instructions are to check the attached location list and if it is listed as No Curbside Service you have to go in. The made a point of saying if the service you HAD to us it or the shop would be invalid. My shop was on the list as No Curbside. The website and the app to place the order says the service IS available. I called the location and talked to the manager and he verified they do have Curbside service. My questions is... Do I use the Curbside because it is there, or do I go inside because the instructions and guidelines say to check the list. I've emailed the scheduler. I hope I hear before tomorrow when the shop is due.
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