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When is it Okay to Pay to Mystery Shop – Part II July 2, 2009

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , ,

In the last post, we talked about defining the phrase “pay to be a mystery shopper.” In short, this is something you should stay away from – the sites that offer you lists of companies, guarantee jobs, or those that sell books listing mystery shopping companies are not worth it, and this is all information you can find online for free.

However, in talking with shoppers, there is some confusion about “pay to be a shopper.” Below are some services/certifications that are legitimate and may help you as a mystery shopper. They do not fall in the same category as those companies warn you about. Why? Because these are things that do not promise work, a steady income, or anything else. Instead, they are tools that can help your career as a mystery shopper, but are not required.

1. MSPA Certification – the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) offers two levels of certification for mystery shoppers. The Silver Certification is an online course that outlines the basics of mystery shopping. The Gold Certification is available by attending a live seminar or through a DVD.

These certifications may help you increase your work load, as many mystery shopping companies support and rely on shoppers who get certification.  It also helps you better yourself,  similar to a college or work related course. However, it does not guarantee work in any way. For more information, you can visit the MSPA’s website.

2. Shadow Shopper – this is a site that does not guarantee you will get work. Instead, it allows you to receive email notifications when various mystery shopping companies post new jobs in your area. Schedulers can also search for shoppers based on their geographical area and email them directly. This can be a useful source for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time searching for companies to work with and continually seeking out new shops. There are different levels of membership available. We suggest trying out the free Bronze package, which will give you truncated posts to give you an idea of what you can expect from the site. Using this will give you a good feel for whether or not it is worth joining as a paid member.

Two good rules of thumb: 1) if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If a company is promising steady work at high fees, it is likely not legitimate. 2) Before deciding to purchase something or join a paid site, do an internet search or review the popular mystery shopping forums (such as Volition, MSR, and MysteryShopFreedom) to see what others have said,

Until next time…happy shopping!




1. brendabeyt - July 3, 2009

This was an excellent choice to blog about there still is an increasing need for good content about these positions that are rapidly rising~

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