Superior Customer Solutions Beware

Sounds like Gravatt has squirreled away the cash into her ‘rainy day’ fund. Looks like she’ll be OK even if her IC won’t.

I guess she’ll pop up again the mystery shopping world a few months fine the line......

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She's clearly lying - large corporate companies, which make up the majority of her clients, do not simply shut down their Accounts Payable departments. She has the money from earlier shops. She owes me several hundred dollars from shops completed over a few months and I plan on pursuing after the current situation lessens. Does anyone have information on the LLC or Corp she registered for her company?
SteveSoCal shares a pearl of wisdom--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...

Bob agrees--Steve's pearl "hit the nail on the head."
However, continuing to operate a business during this crisis will pave the way for unscrupulous business owners to peddle a sob story to get a small business loan from the government. Let's review. Where does the government get the money to pay out all of these loans? Oh, that's right, the taxpayers. Screwed again.
I was going to self assign a dinner. I considered them from NSS. Got turned off by them after being accepted for a cosmetics job and having them turn around and say I had to do a non-reimbursement cosmetics shop as well. Shades of ACL, NO! Also, upon checking, the reimbursement for dinner was no where near what was required. Emailed her a question and no response. Coupled with the chasing after payment posts and her no response, I decided against it. So glad I did. Thank you MS forum!
I am shocked that the letter claims that her company was her main source of income. It was certainly not run in that matter.
I will continue to defend Katy. Fortunately I have been paid for all of my shops. The last one I was about to do was taken by someone else just after I asked for it so I guess I am lucky that happened. But I just want to say that restaurants in Los Angeles shut down earlier than they did elsewhere. What I consider to be her main client has a majority of their outlets in California. If she has other main clients I am not aware of them as they did not exist here. But I do know enough about business to know that businesses do not run on the basis of getting money in for a project and then paying the people on the project with that money. There is generally a delay and people are paid out of future income, not out of income from what they worked on. This is true for contractors in many cases.
Yes it is true she may have not been doing well but this is true of many companies and quitting their business does not usually happen until it is late in the game. Perhaps she was there, perhaps not, but I do not think any of can know how her business was going. . Yes she had to be reminded of payments which was not so nice to us but she did always get around to paying. Now I am pretty sure the clients that she had are also in bad financial straits as are almost every smaller companies in the US right now. The ones I did for her were not big corporations with thousands of outlets all over the place. No one really knows who will come out the other end of this and still be in business. And I have seen that many, many companies have agreed to pay their employees for at least a few weeks even though they are closed. I do not know if her clients are among them. But I do think many smaller businesses and even some of the large ones are burning through their reserves and perhaps not paying their creditors but instead paying their employees during a time when they have no income and still have to pay rent etc.
Bottom line, I think it was nice of her to send that letter even though I never got one. Perhaps she only sent it to those she owed money to. I do think she should have paid faster or at least contacted people when she was going to be late but I do not think she is a mean and nasty person. I feel bad for all those who have not gotten paid. I feel even worse for those of us who need this income and can no longer find work to pay us in the near future. And for all the other people around the world who got their last paycheck several weeks ago.
I put Katy amongst those who really do feel bad they cannot pay people and take her at her word that IF she ever can pay people she will. But that IF is definitely a big IF.
@sestrahelena wrote:

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)

#1 her and her family first. Clearly sounds like she co-mingled funds. She's going to worry about her personal finances first and then be concerned about getting shoppers paid or reimbursed. I absolutely believe that.

#2 is there anything in the agreement that says that the shoppers have to wait until she gets paid?

So, the agreement is between the MSC and the shopper for confidentiality, and it is with the client and the shopper for payment? If the client doesn't pay, the shopper doesn't get paid? Y'all are FOOLS for defending her.

None of the other MSCs that I work with have told me that their clients have closed their accounts payable departments.
@sandyf wrote:

I do not think she is a mean and nasty person.

And it seems like most of the forum members agree with you. The main takeaway I get from reading this thread (having never worked for Katy) was that she was nice, and that people liked working with her, despite the payment issues.

Every the letter seems "nice"...and then when you read deeper into it and take into account some of the items that SCM mentions above, you realize that it's just bad business. I may have to adjust my previous statements:

Potentially nice person. Potentially bad businessperson.
Everyone needs to read into her letter based on how they feel. I am a lot more worried about my high risk if I get the virus right now, and then after that my investments which need to take me through retirement and also how many places I bought gift cards for in December that will never again be around for me to use them.
Sociopaths and narcissists can be quite charming in order to manipulate others and benefit themselves. I've watched all the episodes of Criminal Minds, which makes me an expert, of course! (JK...not an expert - at anything)

sestrahelena
Well, I liked working with Katy, and I liked her companies. I might end up being out over $100 if she doesn't pay for January, but I knew the risk going in. For people saying that corporate clients don't stop paying, please note that Equinox (the high-end gym) has stopped paying their contractors, so I don't think it's far-fetched to believe that her restaurant companies have not paid her.
@shopsuey wrote:

For people saying that corporate clients don't stop paying, please note that Equinox (the high-end gym) has stopped paying their contractors, so I don't think it's far-fetched to believe that her restaurant companies have not paid her.

Are you saying that the gym is not paying the money due to the trainers who work for them?

When I looked this up, I only found new articles about them not paying rent, and not charging costumers while they are shut down....
I am the youngest of six. Four of us are convinced that my middle sister has narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies. She has my oldest delusional brother fooled, but the rest of us aren't (and neither is her latest husband, I suspect).

I don't know anything about Katy other than she doesn't pay people in a timely manner, never has, and always has excuses. I bet her rent and car payment are taken care of.

@sestrahelena wrote:

Sociopaths and narcissists can be quite charming in order to manipulate others and benefit themselves. I've watched all the episodes of Criminal Minds, which makes me an expert, of course! (JK...not an expert - at anything)
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I don't know anything about Katy other than she doesn't pay people in a timely manner, never has, and always has excuses. I bet her rent and car payment are taken care of.
I don't NEED to know anything else about Katy. That statement says it all.
How does one even find out where this company is located? There is no address listed anywhere on the website.

sestrahelena
I have searched and saved some addresses as well as names of her relations - which I will not share here in public.. She is in California. I have some of her previous addresses but her latest is a PO box. Does anyone have a copy of their original contract?
@SteveSoCal , this is from Fortune, but it’s behind a paywall, “Equinox told contractors not to expect payments until further notice amid coronavirus outbreak; Some Equinox freelancers have started posting letters they received from luxury fitness company to social media.”

And here is another interesting article that links to other sources: [www.adexchanger.com]

Obviously, I don’t know what her situation is, and she may just be bad at business, but I don’t think it’s fair to call her a liar about her companies not paying her.
Superior is in Auburn, California, the same area as NSS was. Here is a link to Katy's Linkedin:

[www.linkedin.com]

Katy was not always difficult to reach and was definitely not a slow-pay. Until last year, she responded to emails within minutes, even emails I sent nights and weekends. Her payments were on time and correct. She was very easy to reach and available. A year ago, her responses slowed down. I sometimes had to email her 2 or 3 times before receiving a response. And I had to remind her to pay me, which she did immediately. About that time, she lost the client in my area so I have not shopped with her again.

As for her continuing to run a business while not making a profit, many businesses go through ups and downs, and, by continuing to struggle, they are able to become profitable again. Some continue downhill and drown. Some bounce back. But at what point does a business throw in the towel? I'm guessing she was in hard times and struggling to bounce back .... until being hit by the Big Shutdown. It will be hard for a business doing well to survive, much less a business already undergoing difficulties. Since I know many people who are good people and not bad businesspersons who have declared bankruptcy over the years, I don't think a business downturn or a business failure makes one a bad person or a bad businessperson. I'm not excusing her lack of payment to shoppers. This is wrong and I'm very sympathetic to those who are owed money.

Being unable to meet expenses is hardly an anomaly today. Recently Cheesecake Factory, a big operation, announced 5 days in advance that it could not pay April rent in any of their locations. Cheesecake Factory is attempting to bounce back from this. I'm assuming their employees have been paid or we would be hearing reports. Have all their vendors been paid? Maybe, maybe not. Most of Katy's clients are chains smaller than Cheesecake Factory, so I think it is plausible that some clients have not paid her. Added to a recent loss of clients and none of the current clients being shopped, and her business already floundering, I'm not surprised she is out of money. Maybe she is holding back some money for her family. Is that surprising? Not really. If I were laid off and had limited resources and had to pick and choose what bills I could pay, my choices would be food for my family and a roof over our heads. Any other bills would have to wait. I think she owes her shoppers payment, but I don't think she is an evil, bad person, a bad business person, or deliberately trying to cheat shoppers. I think it's unfortunate. I wish everyone well and I hope all the shoppers get their money. It could be that the business stimulus money will enable her to catch up on payments to shoppers. I hope so.
@roflwofl wrote:

Recently Cheesecake Factory, a big operation, announced 5 days in advance that it could not pay April rent in any of their locations.

I would counter that based on the actions of MS account for Cheesecake, there were some indicators of the company not faring well for years, however....

And yes, businesses have a downturn at times and do sometimes bounce back. I think the 'bad at business' tag seems to set in when someone takes the, "We'll make it up with volume!" approach or continues to fall further behind without making modifications to their business model.

Here's where I take issue with when a business should shutter; If you run a restaurant and are falling behind, you may hit a day when you cannot pay rent. Hopefully you can pay the employees what they are due, close the doors and move on. Perhaps restructure a bit to keep only the most profitable locations open. Yes, some may be out a job, but they will hopefully be covered by EDD for a time and ultimately find new employment.

If you run a small MSC and have come up through the MS business for many years, you understand the dilemma of mystery shoppers well. You probably have a personal relationship with many of them, and know that most count on their reimbursement money and/or small fees to survive. When you hit a point that you are using those reimbursements to pay other bills for your business or yourself, you have crossed a line.

The responsible thing to do is take a business loan, pay your vendors and then made modifications to the business in order to survive, if possible. If you cannot get a loan...then the chances are good that those who are better at modeling business success have already made a determination that your business is not going to succeed. Using shoppers unwittingly as a bank at that point goes beyond bad business. It's cruel and selfish.

I'm not specifically talking about Katy here. This seems to be the model applied to all failing MSC's. I have seen it for years and am disgusted by it, so perhaps the anger I feel when I read about Katy falling behind has built up over years of watching dozens of other companies pull the same crappy move.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Sandy, I don't recall anyone saying she is mean and nasty.

Yes that is what I read into many of the complaints against her. My take may be different than yours.
@Redroom wrote:

I have searched and saved some addresses as well as names of her relations - which I will not share here in public.. She is in California. I have some of her previous addresses but her latest is a PO box. Does anyone have a copy of their original contract?

Do you mean the ICA?

sestrahelena
My son's gym in Boston has reportedly shut it's doors temporarily and fired all it's employees. They do not have anyone answering the phone or emails so no one can cancel their subscription to the gym or even suspend it and they are continuing to charge credit cards even tho no one can go there. It is part of a larger company that has many gyms including a high end one in New York city that is doing the same thing. I read one article that said they had recently heard from the owner that they MAY upgrade people's memberships until the end of the year to make up for the lost months they had to pay for. Memberships cost between $30 and $100 a month. I doubt my son would want to pay for how ever many months they are closed and get to be a $100 member instead of a $30 member for a few months instead of getting his time extended or not being charged at all.

. [www.boston.com]


@SteveSoCal wrote:

@shopsuey wrote:

For people saying that corporate clients don't stop paying, please note that Equinox (the high-end gym) has stopped paying their contractors, so I don't think it's far-fetched to believe that her restaurant companies have not paid her.

Are you saying that the gym is not paying the money due to the trainers who work for them?

When I looked this up, I only found new articles about them not paying rent, and not charging costumers while they are shut down....
Both NYSC (and all their related companies) and Equinox are MS clients. Does this mean they are not paying their MS companies' invoices?
Equinox has been very communicative with members in my experience. They suspended payments immediately when the gyms were closed, host free sessions regularly on the app and my trainer (who says she's been paid in full) also gets incentive from the gym to offer online training.
I have already copied the Client on the details of her accounts payable to me and my other five friends who shopped for her have done the same. I have reported her name and her company name to the MSPA and I will disparage her name and her company name and provide the name of the company she worked for to anyone who has an ear; Katy, hear us now, we will do our very best to make sure that you never work in this industry again.
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