Mystery Shopping. Simply by looking at the name, it conveys something that should be secretive, that is, we don’t go running around screaming that we’re shoppers. That’s why I’m writing this letter. Some mystery shopping companies seem bent on giving away our “secret” identities.
I got a call from James Bond this week asking if I had ever received a check from a company that said something like “Mystery Shopping Account.” I did ask James what brought this on and he said he came across a discussion of this topic while preparing an article for Mystery Shopper Magazine.
I went through my last six months of payments to see which companies pay by check. I’m not that active of a shopper, but I work with nine companies. My nine are Sinclair Customer Metrics, Goodwin, Informa, Shadow Agency, ATH Power, Impact Marketing, A Closer Look, Service Sleuth, and Secret Shopper. Looking at them, one totally screams MYSTERY SHOPPER (Secret Shopper), and two do hint at it from their names (Shadow Agency and Service Sleuth).
I admit that I haven’t looked to see if any of the other companies have “Mystery Shopping Account” or something similar on their checks. James did tell me that Shopper’s Inc pays by check and their checks identify it as a “Mystery Shopping Company.”
I used to shop my bank once a quarter. I wasn’t paying attention when I was depositing a check and it had, in bold print, “Mystery Shopping Account.” Although that particular deposit wasn’t a shop, the bank outed me to the MSC. I was no longer able to shop that bank. It was $330 per quarter that I lost out on. I can’t even do the out of town branches of the bank.
Far be it for me to tell a MSC how to run their business. It’s just that this situation is screaming that they need to make a change, either to pay via PayPal or direct deposit. It’s totally illogical to ask a shopper to maintain confidentiality while outing them to their financial institution.
This is a simple request: Please help us continue shopping for you. Don’t out us as mystery shoppers.
Do you represent a mystery shopping company? We’d love to publish your response to this article. Email me, and we’ll put you in the next issue. firstname.lastname@example.org