Company Overview: It’s an infrequent occurrence to have both a mystery shopping company as well as one of its assignments hit the worst-of-the-worst lists as described by its independent contractors, the mystery shoppers themselves.
Cirrus Marketing Intelligence is based in Anaheim, California, and has been in operation since 1993. From their beginning, the company states that it has conducted more than 1.5 million client evaluations. Cirrus also claims a database of over 100,000 shoppers.
This mystery shopping company also states that they are “among an elite group of companies that consistently demonstrate high ethical and professional standards”.
Industries served by Cirrus Marketing Intelligence include: multi-family housing, automotive dealers and services, convenience stores, gas stations, fitness centers and spas, hotels and resorts, movie theaters, theme parks, restaurants, retailers, self-storage, supermarkets, drug stores, and timeshares.
Shoppers are paid via PayPal. Payment time is lengthy. According to Cirrus, shoppers will be paid after the 15th of the third month following the month that an assignment was completed. It does not specify how long after the 15th this time frame might be.
So at a minimum, if a shopper completes an assignment January 1st, they will be paid “sometime” after the 15th of April. That would result in a pay cycle of 105 days – if the shopper is paid promptly on the 15th. If not, it could be much longer.
Signing up with Cirrus is straightforward, as it is with most Sassie-based web platforms. Visit their site at http://cirrusmktg.com. Click on “Shopper Central” on the upper right of the page, then click on “Cirrus 360” at the bottom of the page. Click on the “New Shopper Signup”, and complete the application.
Assignments require an application request from the shopper. When an assignment is awarded, an email will be sent with an invoice attachment. The shopper needs to use that form for all assignments performed in that month, and submit that to Cirrus for payment.
That’s how it’s supposed to work. Reality, as described by shoppers on www.mysteryshopforum.com is a very different thing. Forum members have had frequent discussions about their annoyance with payment issues for a very long time, dating back to 2009.
One of the problems is that the payment policy of this mystery shopping company is vague. This cannot be unintentional, not if this MSC has received the amount of complaints from shoppers as claimed by forum members. Any company purporting itself to “consistently demonstrate high ethical and professional standards” would take steps to, at the very least, re-write the payment policy in clear and understandable terminology. Stating that the payment will be made after the 15th of the third month following completion of an assignment is not specific enough. Shoppers need to know when exactly after this date they can expect payment at the latest.
Forum members have also had to submit invoices and/or contact the company by email multiple times to receive payment. One claimed it took almost a dozen emails and almost half a year before payment was resolved. Many shoppers have deactivated themselves after dealing with such issues.
Cirrus also holds some dubious notoriety for having hands-down the most dreaded and hated assignment of all those shoppers have experienced, past and present. The combination of a tedious lengthy assignment with not knowing when pay can be expected is making this MSC’s shopper database bleed.
Although a forum member invited a rep from the MSC to check out the forum discussions, the shopper was told that the company was already familiar with what was being said. Yet nothing has changed.
Personal Experience: None. The forum discussions clued me in before I made the decision to take any assignments from this MSC.