Superior Customer Solutions Beware

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There are also still “open shops” on the board for businesses that have certainly closed during the COVID-19 crisis. I had put Katy on my “get paid, do another shop” list so I’m just owed a Feb shop payment. Also interestingly her main client has shown up on the ACL board (and also weirdly hasn’t been yanked although it required a dining room visit which is now impossible).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2020 03:01PM by NinS.
It's just frustrating to me that I'm not being paid for my SCS January shop. There's no way that she wasn't paid for that shop....
I was surprised that we got an explanatory email! That's a good thing and more than I expected so I'll take back my previous, negative comment.

sestrahelena
What are people going to do after the explanatory email? Just wait it out? I'm doubtful we'll get anything after that explanatory email and she just wants people to stop emailing her.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2020 12:37AM by Redroom.
True but she could have just shut the website down and deleted the email account without saying anything. But I do find it strange that someone who owns a business does not hold enough money in reserve to pay the bills, including contractors, when receivables are late. Unfortunately that is how it is done these days. Not very responsible but not outside of the norm.

sestrahelena
I saw the email too. So, she won't be paying for shops completed months ago before this ever happened? I would think she got paid for those.
I've never done one of her shops because of the many posts about chasing payment.

Yes SCM I believe so.
Katy worked for Matt Wozniak at National Shopping Service from 2002 until February 2017, so she was apparently one of the first to leave after Matt's suicide. Of course, mystery shoppers didn't have a clue that anything had happened and the remaining NSS employees continued to fill as many jobs and collect as many fees from clients as they could without paying shoppers. (I dodged the NSS bullet because I worked for NSS my first year shopping and did not like them, so, like shopperbob says, I fired them.) Katy had started Superior in 2012 and worked at it on the side with a couple of clients while continuing to work for Matt. She apparently started to put full time into Superior after leaving NSS. She had a couple of NSS clients and some new ones. She lost the client in my area so I had not worked for her in about a year, but I had noticed that, toward the end of my year working for her, payments slowed down and it was much harder to reach her. I'm sad because she is a really nice person and I enjoyed working with her.
@roflwofl wrote:

I'm sad because she is a really nice person and I enjoyed working with her.

Don't you find it disturbing that a potentially 'nice person' was misleading everyone about financial solvency and is now leaving shoppers to pick up that slack in personal losses?
I find it tremendously disturbing. Before the client in my area moved to another MSC, I had already slowed down on shopping for Katy because, for me, the writing was on the wall when payment slowed down and suddenly it was hard to get a return email, when previously her responses came within minutes. The whole NSS thing was disturbing, too. How many employees worked there? How long did they continue to beg shoppers to take shops for which they weren't paid? Did they know when they assigned the shops that the shoppers would not be paid?
When they got calls and emails from the unpaid shoppers, how did they all feel when they lied to the shoppers?
Shoppers were kept completely in the dark. And it has happened repeatedly with companies that have gone broke(or sold or whatever) and stopped paying shoppers. Just in the last 11 years or so, there's been Freeman, JC and Associates, Nationwide, NSS, DSS..... how many others? There's a very low level of respect for mystery shoppers.
I think it goes beyond a lack of respect. A big issue I see is that the level of secrecy utilized in the industry allows for MSC's to keep their troubles a secret. You are held against contacting their clients and the only real organization that could potentially oversee any of it, has no interest in assisting.

If the MSPA really cared about protecting the industry, they would require quarterly profit/loss statements from their members and offer business assistance to those who were floundering, instead of putting all of their eggs in the "Protect the IC status" basket. But even in that group, they withhold from each other and poach clients.

That's why this forum is so important as a resource for us. We who have been around for a while have learned to see the markers, since everyone above posted about distancing themselves in recent times.
Katy told me she's not paying, that she doesn't have the funds, even though this was for work done months ago.
@SteveSoCal wrote:

@roflwofl wrote:

I'm sad because she is a really nice person and I enjoyed working with her.

Don't you find it disturbing that a potentially 'nice person' was misleading everyone about financial solvency and is now leaving shoppers to pick up that slack in personal losses?

Yeah, "really nice" people just don't do that. Twice.

sestrahelena
Do we have any options in this matter? Potential lawsuit? Seems many of us are out quite a bit here.
The past has shown us is that lawsuits don't seem to be effective in the cases of bankruptcy with MSC's.

Naming and shaming them here has always been the best option for getting paid, and warning others, in my experience.

When payments fall behind, speak up loudly. Don't be taken in by how nice or apologetic people seem. These payment issues were going on back in July, so anyone on this forum who continued to take shops was working with a known risk...

Treat non-paying MSC's like a COVID patient. Six foot pole!
SteveSoCal advises--Treat non-paying MSC's like a COVID patient. Six foot pole!

Bob agrees--Seems so nice does not matter where money is concerned; this is BUSINESS! A quick example follows:

About 10 years ago, I accepted two shops from Goodwin, who now operates under a different name I do not recall. Each was to visit a motel to snap a rebranding pic of the exterior sign, with a fee of $25 per job. As these were both within a few miles of my store, the money was quite acceptable. I then visited Volition, only to learn the MSC was way behind on payment; I immediately cancelled, Within minutes, an E-letter from the scheduler arrived promising to pay me, one who had never completed any work, from a special fund That BS so irritated me, I requested my deactivation.

After entering self-employment in Nov. of 1963, I too was a believer in what I was told. I do not recall the number of years it took me to become business oriented, but fortunately for me, it finally occurred.
@Niner wrote:

Katy told me she's not paying, that she doesn't have the funds, even though this was for work done months ago.
So, she’s a snake. How does she not have funds when the sheeple, I mean shoppers, are doing lunches for reimbursement only?
SMH
@SoCalMama wrote:

So, she’s a snake.

I think your zoomorphism may be off, at least as far as Katy goes. People are not fond of snakes.

So many comments in this thread about nice she is to work with, and also about paying up with bonuses when she needs another shop out of people.
There were bonuses tied to the jobs. I'm out the reimbursement plus the bonus (we needed to pay for parking and wait 1.5 hours to get seated). I'm out about $80. Small claims court has a $30 fee. I'm across the country from her and I'm admitted to the bar in my state, not hers. I don't even know how I could litigate this if I wanted to. And she mentioned getting one of those loans from the government. Many of those loans are assumed to be forgiven automatically, so I'm wondering how much she will profit off of this.
@Niner wrote:

And she mentioned getting one of those loans from the government. Many of those loans are assumed to be forgiven automatically, so I'm wondering how much she will profit off of this.
And thus the problem will continue. "The government" has NO MONEY OF ITS OWN; all of the money that the government will use for these "loans" comes from the taxpayers. I have no skin in the game with this MSC owner, but she--and others of her ilk--is the LAST person to whom I would want to see any taxpayers' money given.
Again, if someone could post the text of the email I'd be grateful. Applying for a SBA loan while also shutting down the business makes little sense.
Continuing to operate a business that has been apparently losing money with the supposition that you will eventually get ahead also doesn't make much sense...

That said, I didn't receive the email so also have not seen it.
Here:

Hello Everyone:

I hope you’re all doing well – especially given everything that’s going on in the world right now.

My apologies for the delayed communication to those who may have reached out to me. As you may be aware, California is one of the states that was declared a state of emergency with strict restrictions in place. This has impacted many businesses, including my own, bringing work duties to a rapid halt and causing significant financial hardships, as well as major life style changes.

Due to Covid-19, all my clients have suspended shops. The outcome of this has also seemingly affected my clients’ Accounts Payable procedures. Due to these business closures, it has been challenging to resolve the financial delays with my clients’, but I am diligently working on it, as well as, looking into the recent small business relief options available.

I want to be transparent with you all; these are unprecedented times and there may be a long road ahead of us. With everything going on, there is a chance that I may not get the much-needed resolution with my clients or other small business options until the business sector commences once again.

Depending on how long this situation lasts, many businesses, especially restaurants, face uncertainty on what their future holds. As you can imagine, when running a business, if all your stores are shut down or business hours are significantly reduced, this ultimately impacts revenue causing temporary budget freezing. This has impacted my business, as I too have not received payment which is the revenue I need to pay shopper payments and reimbursements, as well as my own financial responsibilities as SCS is my main source of income.

There is always a level of uncertainty when dealing with an evolving situation, but there is a great deal of comfort in knowing that I have good relationships with my clients and trust that when their business resumes, the invoices will be paid allowing me to send out shopper payments and reimbursements, starting with any unpaid January shops.

I truly regret having to give you this information, however, the severity of this situation is significant, and I wanted to ensure you were up-to-date with the latest information that I have regarding these efforts. My promise to you is that I will work diligently to collect the funds needed so that I am able to send shopper payments and reimbursements. In addition, as soon as I find new/alternative temporary or permanent income for myself and my family, I will do my best to start paying shopper fees and reimbursements out of my own pocket as I can.

If you have any questions about this, please email me. As a reminder, everything in regard to the shops you do for my company is between you as an Independent Contractor and SCS. Within the agreement you signed with my company, all matters regarding the SCS shops, should be directed to SCS and not ever with any of the clients. Please direct all questions or concerns regarding your work, payments or shops with my company, to me directly.

Thank you for your time and as always, thank you for all your support over the years with the SCS shops. I wish you all the best and please stay safe and healthy!

Katy Gravatt
Superior Customer Solutions
(888) 928-5068
(888) 899-2509 (fax)

sestrahelena
Thanks for posting. It's not as decisive as suspected.

That said, it also contains that obnoxious component we often here from shuttering MSC's.

First rule of Fight Club (I mean mystery shopping)....don't mention to anyone I'm not paying you!
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