I was bestowed with the privilege of writing about Mystery Shopping in response to a comment from Theresa Knoll asking about mystery shopping in general and specifically, SecretConsumer.com.

A Google search brings the SecretConsumer.com home page as the first result with the majority of the remaining listings linking back to ads. Now I’m curious what’s up so I go to the home page—a good pre-sell page that really makes it seem harmless to the untrained eye. It sounds great and the pay looks good; they even claim you can make up to $4000 a month!

My eyes narrowed for the catch that inevitably follows any claims to making such money for a task so seemingly simple and so varied in requirements. As expected I see a gold Pay Pal certified badge at the bottom of the next page and as I skim through the, text I see, “For a one time only fee of $19.95, you will be given unlimited online access to hundreds of Secret Shopper companies, constantly looking for Shoppers to perform shops on their behalf.” Now, that’s just horse spit!

Save your money and go to the Better Business Bureau Consumer page and search, “mystery shop” and find a varied list of companies registered that you can explore further—and that can be trusted. See the results I got.

And it’s free, unlimited online access!

There is no need to pay for listings of mystery shopping companies, no matter how miniscule the price seems to be. In the case of SecretConsumer.com its $19.95, which is not a lot of money, but you could waste it on something more fun for sure.

If you’re really serious about mystery shopping as a part time income you can go to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website and register as an Auditor/Mystery Shopper and have access to free training resources, and even become certified through them. Paying as low as $15 to get Silver certified puts you a head above the rest with the companies working within the MSPA network, a network that is 26 countries strong around the world.

If there were one company I would recommend, it would be Corporate Research International. It has by far more opportunities than any other company I’ve signed up with, even phone mystery shops sometimes, and are the most likely to have retailers that you frequent anyway. And if Abercrombie and Fitch is cool with working with them, I am too.

Wherever you live, you may find a different company that works for you and has opportunities in your locale more frequently. Check them all out; it’s free and you aren’t forced to take jobs. You sign up and volunteer for the ones you want to take. There’s no obligation, so sign up with several companies to see which one will have your favorite types of shops to do. The pay is varied with different companies; there is not a simple way to explain the pay structure for mystery shopping, because each company is different, but let’s face it, you’re not going to get rich being a mystery shopper.

As with any company you work with, look through the frequently asked questions for answers to any questions you may have, email the contact person on the contact page if you have further questions about the process. Do not however; be scammed into paying for information that is free elsewhere. You just have to know where to look, or who to ask :).

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Last Updated: August 18, 2011

Join the Discussion

  • Adrienne
    Adrienne
    Reply

    Similar to Denis’s comment above, I can confirm that http://www.shopperscanada.com appears to be a scam. The website makes it look very legit, but after you pay for $39 ‘admin fee’, all they do is give you a list of other companies that you can contact to sign up with. These companies are not secret – you could easily find them in your own web search. So, as far as I can tell, you are in essence paying $39 for a web search results list. I feel really stupid for having fallen for this and hope my comment makes other people think twice.

  • Steph
    Steph
    Reply

    Does anyone know if shopperscanada.com is legit?

  • Tyra
    Tyra
    Reply

    Happy New Year everyone. Does anyone have any information on a product or inexpensive procedure on how to really quit snor-ing? Thank you.

  • lollers
    lollers
    Reply

    Save your money, just go here to see their list:

    http://www.secretconsumer.com/success_access.php

  • Denis Ivanov
    Denis Ivanov
    Reply

    SecretConsumer.com is a scam … they charge money for something you can find for free. Even when you join and pay the money they just give you a link to companies you can sign up with. And when you go to their sites it says FREE. Never ever pay those liars. My girlfriend got scammed. I was so mad at her. $20 is not a big deal but imagine that 1000 people are scammed every month … somebody should stop those liars. Post that in every blog you know. Here is the list they “sell” you: http://www.secretconsumer.com/success_access.php

  • Jen
    Jen
    Reply

    I paid the $19.95 fee for secretconsumer.com. I have been given no lists of jobs to search through and no links to find them. Have I been scammed and is there absolutely nothing I can do about it?

  • Harold
    Harold
    Reply

    Hi everyone, long time no post. Has anyone tried Service Evaluation Concepts? Is anyone willing to? I might be trying them myself, if there’s no fee.

  • Christal
    Christal
    Reply

    Hi again!!! I have been shopping for about 2 years now and will again recommend you go to volition.com and use there list of Mystery shopping companies to get started. I would say to start out with ssanet.com which is Sinclaire, shopnchek.com , beyondhello.com , and kernscheduling.com which has a lot of companies you can sign up off of there. This is just a few. I don’t know about the BBB but I know I get paid and I love to shop for exxtra money.

    Christal

  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Reply

    I myself am starting to wonder about the BBB. Turns out my own family member had a friend who worked as mystery shopper and loved it! I’m trying to find out who it was through, because I’m very interested. Maybe the lady at the BBB that I spoke to was getting ready to leave for lunch break and didn’t feel like dealing with me!

  • Tyra
    Tyra
    Reply

    I was kind of wondering about the BBB because I tried to find information on “Mystery Shopping” and I received no leads but I met a couple of people that said you have to just look in the want ads and sometimes a company will place an ad if they are looking for mystery shoppers. I know mystery shopping exists because I worked for Walgreens and they used to have mystery shoppers come in their quite a bit. Oops, maybe a call can be made to various companies (incl. Walgreens) to see how they went about getting mystery shoppers.

  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Reply

    Hello. I just spoke to a lady from the BBB and she informed me that they do NOT have a list of any good “mystery shopping” sites. She said that every site that they have come across has been a scam in one way or another, and none of them are 100% legit.

    Just thought I’d let you know.

  • Christal
    Christal
    Reply

    Hi, I started mystery shopping about 2 years ago. I paid $19.95 to a company for a list of companies and it took me to this site with a huge list of companies. If you are interested in mystery shopping go check out http://www.volition.com. When you get there click the button on the left that says GET PAID then go to the Mystery shopping company list. I shop for about 30 different companies and every company that I have signed up with has paid me. They have various assignments and you can look and see what you like. Some are reimbursements, some are purchase and returns and some are simple inquiries at banks etc… I really love shopping and you can enter the shops online. Your not going to get rich but I do make about an extra $1000.00 a month. One thing to remember when selecting jobs is that if it is a reimbursement type assignment for something you purchase you do not have to claim that money on your taxes and it will not show up on your 1099 at the end of the year. Another good place to look for assignments is a new site a lot of the schedulers use once they have been unable to schedule shops to help them obtain new shoppers is to go sign up and check out http://www.jobslinger.com. I have signed up for other companies on there site that I did not see on the http://www.volition website. I hope some of this information helps you. I started shopping because it helps with my gas since I work in outside sale. Happy Shopping!!!

  • Iris
    Iris
    Reply

    I’m with Tyr. I am very delighted that you care enough to do research on scams. I was working full time and still was considered in the poverty level. Now, that I had to take LOA to assist my ailing 89-year-old husband, this is what I face. Is there anything out there that a person can do without being taken to the cleaners?

  • Sabrina's Money Matters
    Sabrina's Money Matters
    Reply

    I’m glad that I could be of assistance – I take a sort of delight in exposing the truth about companies that routinely take advantage of the little guy – you and me. You have definitely come to the right place here at I’ve Tried That and my site features credit and money management information as well as exposing other scams I have come across. The key to saving yourself from fraud is listening to that instinct that reminds you if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Tyra
    Tyra
    Reply

    I am very delighted that you care enough to do research on scams. Even though I work full time I’m still considered in the poverty level so I am not in the position to be investing in a company that charges a fee to work for them especially if they are not legit. Thank you for caring about me and all other consmers.

  • Linda
    Linda
    Reply

    I just hate the fee request. I knew another similar company, it’s called DHS. Both of them are serious, however I just hate the fee.

  • Linda
    Linda
    Reply

    Interesting. I wanted to know that Company.

  • Julia
    Julia
    Reply

    Just want to say thanks for the informative article!

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