Company Overview: Some mystery shopping companies regularly post assignments at offensively low fees and reimbursements, yet incredibly, they have a loyal following of shoppers.
Ritter Associates is one of those companies. They’ve been in this industry since 1974, so they are well aware of the usual payment rates offered by other MSCs. They also have been around long enough to know that in these tough economic times, they can offer lower fees and shoppers will still sign up for assignments.
Ritter states that it offers 300,000 assignments per year in all 50 states. In addition to typical mystery shopping, this MSC also has work involving point-of-purchase installations, pricing audits, and call center evaluations.
Ritter Associates is headquartered in Maumee, Ohio. Some clients are advertised on their website. Types of assignments include storage rentals, coffee shops, parking garages, florists, convenience stores, and even dog boarding.
Payments are made on the 15th of each month following the month that the assignment was completed. Ritter has two payment options, direct deposit or check. If you choose to be paid via a check, there will be a $1 processing fee assessed each time one is mailed out to you.
You may want to note that this company includes reimbursement amounts on 1099 tax forms so you can make proper adjustments.
Visit Ritter’s website at www.ritterassociates.com to sign up with this company. First click on “Become A Shopper”, then on “Click Here To Become A Mystery Shopper With Ritter Associates”. This will take you to the Shopmetrics software platform where you will fill out both a basic and extended profile. Ritter’s application process asks more personal questions than a lot of other MSCs.
After you submit an application, log-in information will be emailed. Some assignments are available through self-assignment, others are awarded by schedulers. However, many assignments are never posted to their job board or announced via email. Ritter has regional shoppers that are assigned permanent routes. This explains the scarcity of opportunities that many shoppers encounter in their locales.
The positive comments on www.mysteryshopforum.com describe timely pay, flexible friendly schedulers, and quick and easy assignments. The company is considered reputable and excellent to work with. Some shoppers post that assignments from Ritter easily fill in the gaps in their schedules. Convenience store assignments seem to require the least amount of effort and time on-site and in reporting.
On the flip side, many shoppers complain about the low pay and insulting bonuses of 25 to 50 cents after the jobs have sat on the boards for a few weeks. Some misleading advertising of jobs has also occurred, such as postings of $54 for an assignment, only to find out on further inspection that this fee is for a total of nine assignments.
Forum members also describe reporting for some assignments to be redundant, awkward, repetitive, and tedious. The unrevealed gas station audits requiring shoppers to stay covert while taking multiple pictures is also unrealistic. Even coffee shop assignments have multiple page reports filled with questions. Some shoppers are in agreement that Ritter offers assignments that require a lot of report information for very little pay.
Reports may be rejected and payment denied with little to no leeway if guidelines are not followed to the letter, regardless of any extenuating circumstances.
Personal Experience: Although I have been signed up with Ritter for some time now, like other shoppers have experienced, there is very little available from this company in my area. Of the opportunities I have seen posted, none have yet made business sense for me to complete.