Company Overview: Favored Panel, Inc. is a privately owned company headquartered in Westbury, NY. The business was incorporated in 2011. According to the Favored Panel website, they operate throughout the United States and offer inspection and audit services to “retailers, banks, mortgage companies, insurance providers, credit bureaus, and any company that needs a national or regional presence for various purposes.”
The BBB only recently opened a file for Favored Panel and no rating has been assigned.
New shoppers can apply at http://favoredpanel.com/apply/.
How to Sign Up & Get Assignments: The application process is about as easy as it gets, since it only requires filling in name, address, phone number, email address and answering three brief questions. The questions include: “Do you have a smart phone?” (drop-down list), “Area(s) do you cover?” (free text) and “Do you have any prior experience” (yes/no check box)
Since there is no job board on the company’s website, we assume all assignments requests are received via email or by phone.
Types of Assignments and Pay: Although a wide variety of services and many different types of inspections are offered on the website, this year, David Hauser, the owner, posted on the Mystery Shop Forum, “We are doing mostly car inspections that pay $25 and have quick turnaround, we pay within 15 days of completion.”
Reporting: According to shoppers, who have worked with Favored Panel, the reports solely consist of photos and very, very minimal narrative. The results are then emailed to the Company.
Not sure if this is a slight contradiction to what the shoppers related, however the Favored Panel website boasts, “ Utilizing smart phone technology, all photos are taken with an Android/iOS Mobile Application that allows the photos to be uploaded to our server in real time.” (“Real time” is defined as “the actual time during which a process or event occurs”.) Added thought: Maybe “allows” is the key word.
What Others Have to Say: The only “Favored Panel” discussions on the Mystery Shop Forum (MSF) center on members who received an unsolicited email from the owner, explaining he had obtained their name from “Notary Rotary”, and who are questioning if it was legit.
Further research found a couple of posts on a notary website, voicing the same concerns about the unsolicited emails, however the worries were quelled by a couple of members who cited past experiences with Favored Panel. Their comments were consistent about the ease of reporting. Both said complimentary things about the owner, “he was a nice guy” and “he’s easy to work with” and one of them stated, “He can be a little slow (distracted with juggling many orders across the country), but he responds when you contact him.”
Conclusion: Favored Panel is a relatively new company and appears to be actively recruiting new auditors/inspectors through the aforementioned emails. The car inspection fee sounds fair for the minimal amount of work required.
As balance, we feel it necessary to bring up David Hauser’s previous business, The Hauser Group, a mail tracking company. Although the BBB shows no complaints being lodged since the file was opened in 1999, several non-payment posts appear on the ripoffreport.com website. We want to stress however, we have no idea how valid these complaints were/are and they very likely could have emanated from one shopper, who recruited a lot of friends and who was actually paid in the end as was reported. To add, the owner stated on the MSF, “The ripoff report post should never have posted, as the complaining person was paid rather quickly from completion of assignment and did not realize it and it was resolved.”
Update: Before this review was published, a former “decoy agent” for The Hauser Group contacted us. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous for personal reasons, substantiated the complaints on the ripoffreport.com website to our satisfaction.
In summary, we cannot confidently recommend Favored Panel. We can only recommend each individual determine for themselves if they’re willing to take the risk. (Of course, it would be helpful if you posted your findings on the Mystery Shop Forum website!)