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A Top Shop

Company Overview: Based in Arroyo Grande, CA, A Top Shop is the subject of quite a bit of negative discussion on www.mysteryshopforum.com. The company shows the “BBB Accredited Business” logo on their site but, when I attempted to search for them through the BBB site, no records were found. Also, what is interesting is that the BBB search is in Colorado when they are located in California [according to their Zip Code.

Personal Experience: I am registered with them, but I have not had the opportunity to do any shops for them.

What Others Have to Say: Typical comments posted on www.mysteryshopforum.com include:

“I am owed money by A Top Shop, only $20! I contracted with them via iSecretShop. I emailed them this past week, and received a response from Lori Reeve, the owner. She apologized for the delay in payment and promised to pay me via PayPal that day. I never received payment. I sent two follow-up emails which have gone without any further response from her. It’s only $20. What gives?? I will NEVER complete a shop for this agency again. If I do not receive payment, I will file a complaint with the BBB.”

“For my assignments with A Top Shop I was always paid. However, it was late both times and the second time the PayPal fee was passed along to me. It is a shame because the owner seems like a nice woman and she had a great scheduler. Once I was willing to deal with, twice was two times too many. The first time only took one reminder, the second involved me sending numerous e-mails.”

“Wish I had done a long-term search before I committed nearly $200 (I also did a shop in March) to A Top Shop. I did a deep-history search on the MSC, and it turned up non-payment issues with virtually the same problems I had for 2003, 2009, 2010, and 2011. I only searched recent history when I agreed to do the shops. Hard lesson to learn.”

Overall: I telephoned and spoke with Nina. A Top Shop was acquired in November by Mystery Shopper Services. Nina said that any payment problems that occurred before the acquisition are not their concern. I must say that Nina was a bit “terse” with me and the call was very brief. What I found to be most fascinating was the comment that any problems with payments from A Top Shop are not Mystery Shopper Service’s concern. In all the case studies I had while getting my BS in Business Administration, I cannot recall one where the liabilities in an acquisition were left to hang, although I suppose it is possible, especially when Independent Contractors are involved.

There are no discussions of Mystery Shopper Services on www.mysteryshopforum.com, although they are an MSPA member. Given the recent change in ownership, as well as no discussions of Mystery Shopper Services, I am going to refrain from rating this at present.

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