Welp, ACL is being investigated by the California Dept of Industrial Relations

Who knows what will happen... but maybe “will work for food” might not fly in CA! I hope that will change things!

But like another poster mentioned... it might be for schedulers/editors?

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As shoppers, we are out of the company's control; I think you hit the nail on the head, it's editors and schedulers who are at risk.

I've read the requirements for both jobs (specifically, with A Closer Look), and their requirements are so specific that I feel the people doing scheduling and editing would truly be employees.

Other companies' job descriptions say things like "The Company strongly urges..." or "The Company prefers....", whereas ACL's says "You MUST". That means they have control, and if they have control, then you are an employee.
If that is what they really want to know, it looks like they are looking for something other than what we do.

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.
Like MadeToShop, I'm guessing it was started by a scheduler, or perhaps an editor. Think of all the HOURS someone would have to toil trying to fill up 90 second pizza shops. No, this investigation does not apply to moi.
Are people filling out the forms and sending them in. It would take a lot of time to go back and figure out payments the last few years.
@SoCalMama wrote:


SteveSoCal???? I think that you know some people to whom this applies?

I don't have the particular stature to cite...but the employees SCM speaks of are in a different industry and forced to switch from IC's to employee status based on the fact that their principle task was related to the operation of the principle business. (I.e. If you have a plumbing company in CA, you cannot have IC plumbers).

Now...that company could have IC accountants, drivers, or schedulers...since that's not the stated principle business.

Where this new idea of enforcement gets sticky for shoppers is exactly there; We work as mystery shoppers for mystery shopping companies! The schedulers and editors are more likely to be classified as IC's unless the company is a scheduling/editing company.

Interesting to see how it pans out.....
Wondering if one has to put in so many hours to be considered employees, which leaves us out.

Live consciously....
Some of these shops pay close to nothing. I won’t take them. Hopefully we will start getting paid what we are worth. Just my 2 cents..
Throw it in the trash, where it belongs. You're an IC. You don't have employment rights. Nor should you.

And if you're voting for those people, stop.
Number of hours worked does not figure into the difference between employees and ICs.

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 would never WANT to be considered an employee.
Then you are required to complete any shop given to you. No thank you!

Servimer Regional Manager- Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin & Minnesota
Many states have changed laws over the past year or so, and what used to be allowed toward IC workers may now violate the state's labor laws.

States and individual cities have changed minimum wage laws, too, since January. It's $15 per hour in NewYork. New York is also looking at passing minimum wage regulations for freelancers of all kinds, no matter what IC paperwork has been signed, and no matter what they are called (contractors, consultants, freelancers, independents, contingents, temps, etc.).


@HonnyBrown wrote:

Someone posted a few months back that ICs in CA were now employees. This just might stick.
If they were to determine that shoppers are really employees and must be treated as such, shopping as we know it would be over.

Of course, that could vary from state to state, but it’s not a direction I would want this line of work to go.
@stormraven73 wrote:

Does labor law even apply since it is IC work?

It doesn't in Idaho, Utah, Oregon.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2019 11:15PM by sueac101.
@LindaM wrote:

It would just become more like Nevada, right?
Yes I think so. ACL was also investigated in NV.
Hmm. Outsider here. Is this designed to

a) get people all riled up
b) so that they will feel strongly about some cause
c) such as it's time for mystery shoppers to unite and unionize

or

d) create such a ruckus for ACL and/or its clients and/or its shoppers that
e) ACL quits or merges
f) and frees up clients for other MSCs to scoop up and add to their rosters.

But I am not at all cynical.

Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moon rise. - Gladys Taber
If you saw the letter you would not say that....
get the facts bud...

@roflwofl wrote:

Sounds like a fishing expedition. They probably sent similar letters to many people about many companies.
Investigating misclassification of employee/IC status by the IRS and State tax departments is common, as it can be costly to the agencies. This may get interesting.
I missed this line from the article when I only scanned it:
"One linguist went so far as to say that anyone who didn't know what welp meant was probably an alien."

Probably. winking smiley
ACL AND the other MSCs that manage all of the MS legally done in NV (maybe 5 at last count ?) were investigated only because 2 different NV state agencies disagreed (and probably still do) about which one should actually oversee MS activities in the state. Both agencies made their cases to an IMSC conference audience a couple of years back. All smiles, but speaking through clenched teeth, so to speak. Last that I knew, the state legislature still had not stepped into that mess to try to settle it.

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.
Did anyone see the email from MSPA about "defending evaluator independence?" I'm not sure whether they had this issue in mind or it was just a timely topic, but either way I am glad they are taking this on. I, for one, am glad to be an IC. I have no interest in being classified as an employee for shopping, if for no other reason than that my taxes would be a nightmare. Having a handful of 1099s is bad enough. Can you imagine 100 W2s?
Wouldn't you have about the same number either way? Or do you mean that all the companies that pay you less than $600 in a year add up to 100?

@stormraven73 wrote:

Did anyone see the email from MSPA about "defending evaluator independence?" I'm not sure whether they had this issue in mind or it was just a timely topic, but either way I am glad they are taking this on. I, for one, am glad to be an IC. I have no interest in being classified as an employee for shopping, if for no other reason than that my taxes would be a nightmare. Having a handful of 1099s is bad enough. Can you imagine 100 W2s?
I think the fact that ACL has shopper employees in one state and not in others doesn't bode well for their defense. Most others contract through a separate PI firm in NV.

I see so many complaints about pay rates and shopper protection, but then others come on here and defend the IC status of shoppers. You can't really have it both ways. Employee status is not an end to MSing in any way, or Nevada would not have mystery shopping!

As someone who has worked in CA as an employee shopper, I can assure you that there are many benefits that outweigh the drawbacks. This is an MSC that often goes begging for shoppers. They will not be in a position to demand that shoppers take particular shops unless they pay an attractive fee, or they will not have any employees.

ACL makes plenty of $$ and is notoriously stingy with fees. I gave up working for them years ago based on that, and would be happy to see their shopper status reclassified so that they are forced to treat shoppers fairly...
@SteveSoCal wrote:

ACL makes plenty of $$ and is notoriously stingy with fees. I gave up working for them years ago based on that, and would be happy to see their shopper status reclassified so that they are forced to treat shoppers fairly...

Luckily we live in a free market. Nobody is forced to work for them. As others have said, MS as we know it could be over if regular shoppers are employees. If the fees are too low, just don't work for them. It's as easy as that.
SteveSoCal comments--ACL makes plenty of $$ and is notoriously stingy with fees.

Bob's opinion--It is as it should be for a profitable MSC. As IC's, we have no expectation of receiving fees a company does not desire to pay. As I previously stated, I was deactivated due to my lack of interest in the compensation for the shops; that was business. Were I to be offered a reactivation AND an acceptable remuneration, I would not hesitate to consider.

I am a 100% free market proponent. As such, it is my opinion a firm's allegiance is first to their shareholders, then to their employees and finally their contractors.
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