A Closer Look saying they may not pay

They will pay you, they have standard notes that send to shoppers and one of them states that it us up to the client if you get paid. You learned your lesson, ACL is understanding, but sometimes their notes and guidelines are not as clear as they could be be. Try not to worry, you won't make the same mistake againsmiling smiley

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ACL editors have very strange interpretations about meaning of entree. The entree by definition in USa is the main course of a meal. But editors at ACL things that can be burger, or similar. Each editor at ACL can interpret things in different ways. I checked with scheduler before go if I need to tip for takeout order and she said no. But editor said that I shall. One time editor wrote down to me things that I never did and never reported about my my shop. Likely she edited two shops in one time and sent me edited report from another shopper.

I think you shall ask your scheduler about the salad and check her opinion.

P.S. from my experience with ACL: take a copy of your report just in case. You can easy save it as PDF file.

Shopping Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of NJ, since 2009
A closer look values honesty. If you missed a required guideline you should disclose it in the disclosure section. The customer might accept your report. Yes, I've not been paid by them once when a picture was considered too blurry.
A couple of points.
1) It is your job to correctly read and follow the companies instructions. No matter how small, if you missed it it is on you. driving 1 mile over the speed limit is usually forgiven but it still is breaking the law.

2) Many times you will get paid if the mistake is not fundamentally wrong. Side salad vs a small salad is not like having 10 drinks when you are only supposed to have 2. Or not taking the required pictures.

3) Reviewers are people who get paid by the review. They themselves are given rules/instructions to follow. They are not paid to think for themselves.

4) I always try to work with the scheduler when I have issues.
I have worked with ACL for 4 years and it depends on who the client is. I have had to go back to reshop and not been compensated for the first shop. Which is fine, since I made the mistake or missed something. I will say that their shops pay well, but they do have a lot of details to remember when filling out their reports.
I have found no difference whether you confess or they catch it. Either way, the penalty is the same, which is to say the threat of non-payment, which I haven't experienced, or the threat of lowering your status to that of a newbie, which I have.
I did a technical shop for maritz and wasn’t paid - everything was done except that the automotive place I used had expired certification- and I did a car shop and they were telling me how many cars were on the lot when in this fake scenario they told me they had to go get a car for me, among other things. Needless to say i won’t work for either one AGAIN. I’m not wasting my time. Apparently they still need people so they kept calling me asking if I wanted to try again! Why?
I dropped A Closer look, found them hard to work with, schedulers would ask you a question, then not listen; it was just a pain, not worth the effort.
I have made mistakes with this company and I have gotten paid. I think they have a spot in their shop form to tell them if you think there was a mistake. I have made mistakes with other companies and have not been paid. but I think this is very old school and most the companies have stopped doing it. I think the editor shop have mentioned the mistake to you and then forwarded it on. They should not have made a comment about not paying because that is someone else's job.
In my years of experience shopping for ACL, I have learned that the only time they wouldn't pay for a report is if the client rejected it as unusable.
Yes. I make mistakes sometimes, and in those cases it is my fault, but there have been times when I thought (I am not referring to A Closer Look here.) a company was intentionally looking for excuses not to pay me. I "fire" them. Remember, we are independent contractors, and we do not have to continue working for any particular company. Anyone remember the Freeman Group?

"Evolve thyself and lose all hate...." Orphaned Land
I have done mystery shopping for 20 years. Yes i have made mistakes but always try to correct it. I had one company not pay me. I did a shop for them and i after I had done the report.,my computer went down and they said I did not respond to ghem soon enough even though I explained what hsd happened. I choose not to work for this company anymore due to not being reasonable. I am honest with them and expect them to be reasonable. I have one more footnote to add. I find a kot of times within the samd company you can havd emaluaters who tend to treat and mark a little diffrrent. Try not to focus on that onr compsny as there are many to choose from. You are in the drivers seat. Good luck
I have worked with ACL for 10 years and never not been paid. If the client refuses to pay, they can't but your error was not big enough for that to happen. I wouldnt worry if I were you.
You should Always read the guidelines. If you don't follow the instructions, you Won't get paid. It's just as simple as that!
My problem with the "simplicity" of following the guidelines is that I do almost exclusively dining shops. Some want the bathrooms photographed, most don't. Some want the storefront photographed, and most don't. It can be tricky when you are doing multiple dining shops over a weekend to correctly remember which guideline you are supposed to follow. In my experience, there is nothing "simple" about mystery shopping, though it has been a great way for me to virtually eliminate my dining out budget.
A-Closer-Look is pretty good insofar as paying, even though you may have made some type of a small error which deviated from the guidelines. They will usually tell you that they will submit the report to the client and basically leave it up to them whether or not it will be accepted and therefore, ultimately if you will be paid.
Several years ago, I did a McDonald's shop where I had to do both the inside shop as well as the drive thru. I did a great job and was expecting a good review and payment for both parts of the shop. All I got was an email saying I was not being paid because I did not sit inside the restaurant the required 15 minutes. I only sat there 14 minutes. Even though I replied I had already spent time checking out the restroom before I ordered, they still did not pay me. nct49
ACL is my absolute favorite. They were the first company I took a job from off this board. I drove 90 miles for a reimbursement only shop, just to get my foot in the door. I slowly got more and more jobs from there. Some of the reports were absolutely terrible. I missed photos. I wrote subjectively. I was seriously awful. Fast forward a few years and they are still my go to company. I always check my guidelines before pulling up to a shop and sometimes might reference them in the bathroom, if I fear I missed something. ACL is seriously awesome, and I have never not been paid.
Referring to symplicity I would not call the fine dining shops simple. They usually require quotes and multiple timings. For me figuring out minutes and seconds from this to that is not simple. I can do it but it takes time and time is money. The photo issue tho is pretty easy to solve. You have to go into the restroom for most of the jobs and particularly I am sure for any jobs you have from them where you need to snap a pic. I and many others use cheat sheets we make up for each different shops. If you check your cheat sheet in the stall you will remind yourself about a photo if needed. If I have one or two items that stand out as different from most shops of that type eg fine dining I will put asterics around the words Restroom Photo so I can easily pick it out when in the stall.
Another technique I use which I suggest to those opposed to pen and paper is to hand write out the cheatsheet. It is much easier to vary the sizes and ways to emphasize something you dont want to miss on your cheatsheet when you hand write it out than having it all in the same font and situated nice and neatly horizontally across the page
In a restaurant setting, do a bunch of food selfies.
Timestamp on the photo data takes care of any timing issues.
Post removed
Moderator Note:

Please Remove Post as it asks Forum Members to violate Forum Guidelines. Asking a forum member to notify you on the forum,with a tie to Client and MSC, violates Forum Guidelines which state that we do not reveal an MSC's Clients.

For timing in restaurants I text myself. I note the time of everything. Each time a server visits, portion of meal served, etc is noted. I also have my phone on record in case I need to remember more details.
I have started making notes about the shop in my cellphone note app. This way employees don't get suspicious because people are always looking at their phones. This way you can also make notes about things you need to remember.
@ceasesmith wrote:

I was to order an appetizer OR soup or salad, an entree, and dessert. I hadn't been in the restaurant before, and when I looked at the menu, they had a "special" which included a choice of appetizers, entree, and dessert for a set price well below my reimbursement. So I did EXACTLY what I would have done on my own dime -- ordered the money saving "special".

Ha ha, I did the exact same mistake and know of two other shoppers that did it as well for that shop. We all had the same email with the editor and we got paid.
@1forum1 wrote:

For timing in restaurants I text myself. I note the time of everything. Each time a server visits, portion of meal served, etc is noted. I also have my phone on record in case I need to remember more details.

I take quick non flash photos of the table for timings. They do not have to be perfect, no need to hold the phone as if taking photo and I always try to do it with one hand as if checking my phone, ok if photo is blurry since they are for myself. It also reminds you of the sequence of things served, in case you forgot something. I avoid taking notes on my cell phone while at the table, or try to type on cell 3 observations-notes to myself together, instead of writing notes as things happened because I feel it is too obvious that you take your cell and type the note each time a staffperson comes to the table.
@DrTerminus wrote:

My problem with the "simplicity" of following the guidelines is that I do almost exclusively dining shops. Some want the bathrooms photographed, most don't. Some want the storefront photographed, and most don't. It can be tricky when you are doing multiple dining shops over a weekend to correctly remember which guideline you are supposed to follow. In my experience, there is nothing "simple" about mystery shopping, though it has been a great way for me to virtually eliminate my dining out budget.

I can relate, but with gas stations. 5 different brands & projects in the same long day with all of their different guidelines. I was truly shocked that no reports came back to me for corrections. Sometimes, when presenting an LOA, I forget which brand I'm at and almost name a different brand.

sestrahelena
That’s ridiculous. I would give the MSC the ax!

Experienced evaluator and auditor available for consulting in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and eastern North Carolina. Active member of North Carolina bar.
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