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Mystery shopping thread 26 *please read the op first**please no client names or fees

Official MSE Insert:

This is a great Forum discussion full of Tips for Mystery Shopping. Read it in tandem with our Boost Your Income guide for more ways to make cash.

Back to weeg's original post...


For other ways to NOTICE TO FOLK WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT TAKING UP MYSTERY SHOPPING (MSing): Read the first few pages before asking Qs. We're happy to help, but a LOT of the answers are right here. There is no 'right' answer to 'Who should I sign up with first?' It's horses for courses. Read some of the comments on post 2 and make up your own mind.

Now enjoy - and play nice!


The vast majority of these opening few posts are advice copied from Timmne’s original compilation a while ago, with a few updates from Josie, ukmonkey and Becle’s previous threads, and other credits as mentioned.

The old threads are linked to below - it's worth reading as many of them as you can to get a feel for what you might need to know.
Part 1 (Thanks to nearlyrich for the OP)
Part II (Thanks to leni for the OP)
Part III , Part IV , Part V , Part VI , Part VII (Thanks to Timmne for the OP)
Part VIII , Part IX (Thanks to ukmonkey for the OP)
Part X (Thanks to Josie for the OP)
Part XI,
Part XII
Part XIV (Thanks to TractorGirl327 for the OP)
Part XV (Thanks to TractorGirl327 for the OP)
Part XVI (Thanks to Becles for the OP)
Part XVII (Thanks to Becles for the OP)
Part XVIII (Thanks to TractorGirl327 for the OP)
Part XIX (Thanks to Becles for the OP)
Part XX (Thanks to TractorGirl327 for the OP)
Part 21 (Thanks Heaven'sDevil for the OP)
Part 22
Part 23
Part 24
Part 25 http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4734623

Please also take the time to read these first few posts. They may be long but there is a lot of information in them and lots of your questions will be answered!

An introduction to the mystery shopping thread
The companies mentioned below are a good place to start. Don't worry if they ask you for bank details when you apply as this is only so you can get paid. Numbers of jobs offered seems to vary and very much depends on your location in the country so it's difficult to generalise. Lots of the companies have training materials and tests which help you to know exactly what to do and the standards they expect on their reports.

Most of us have worked hard to get good at this job so whilst we are helpful we are not keen to hand on a plate information to people not willing to do the legwork too. Please also note that there is a finite pool of MS work so respect that people may not be willing to share all their knowledge with someone who in essence will be taking work away from them or causing a decrease in fees. Being able to read and digest information is a vital skill for mystery shoppers so the next stage is to read the rest of the thread and you should find people happy to answer specific queries you have.

When you are ready pick a job: The first one is always nerve wracking. Possibly try one without timings or many complex stages as those give you just that bit much to think about on the first time. Go for one close to home so you aren't going out of your way as the fee will probably not be worth it otherwise. You can always go back into most places with an excuse if you miss something or if allowed take someone else who can keep an eye out too for details such as name badges.

Basics you should know before you begin mystery shopping
There are a few things you should know; these will help you hit the ground running, or alternatively, not bother with hitting the ground at all as mystery shopping isn't for everybody!

Equipment - things you'll need to get a good start with most assignments
Stopwatch (or a timer on your mobile can be useful)
Notepad & pen (pocket sized!)
Camera/camera phone

A pretty long list of companies is listed below. I would say though (and I'm sure most MSers would too) that registering with as many companies as you can get your hands on is never a bad thing. My personal advice would be that GAPbuster's probably a good company to get started with due to the number of jobs available. They're not famous for high pay but the reports are great and not too laborious.

Good and bad points of mystery shopping
Mystery shopping will never make anyone rich - the pay is simply not high enough. If you're just looking for some free meals or clothes, be aware that it's not just a case of buying them and getting paid. You need a good memory, you need to be objective and have a great eye for detail. Missing the smallest bit of information from an assignment can mean that you don't get paid for a job - this can be a nightmare if you've had to spend your own money on buying something as part of doing it too!

The great thing about mystery shopping is that you can make a difference to shops' service standards and your comments are listened to! You do get a meal or two paid for and sometimes you're paid handsomely to do them. As long as you treat the job with respect, you'll be rewarded.

The more you work for a company and the better your reports get, you will be given better paying and more rewarding jobs. Companies aren't big on giving new shoppers the best jobs; these come as a reward for your loyalty and hard work, later on.

Registering for tax
If you wish to start Mystery Shopping on a self employed basis, even just one job, you need to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 3 months or you could face a fine of £100. Please don’t think that because you’ll potentially only earn a few quid doing MSing that you needn’t register as self employed – it’s absolutely essential that you do as being caught out can be costly. The admin work involved in being self employed is so minimal that it’s not worth avoiding - and we're here to help you do it!

It might be a myth but there's been word of mystery shopping companies passing names of their shoppers to HMRC before, which can spark investigations is said shoppers are not already registered as self employed.

Forms and Guidelines you will need –
To register as Self Employed you will need to either ring HMRC on 08459 15 45 15 or download and send back the form CWF1 (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/cwf1.pdf )
If you prefer to register online, see this link:

You may also be required to pay class 2 National Insurance at the rate of £2.70 a week, but only if you earn more than £5,725(between 06/04/13 and 05/04/14) after expenses in any one year through Self Employment. This means earning more than £5725 in addition to your other sources of income.

If you think you will earn less than £5,725 in the financial year, then you can apply for a “Certificate of Small Earnings Exception” which means you will not have to pay NI (National Insurance) Contributions. The Exception application can be found at the end of this document CF10 - http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/cf10.pdf

IMPORTANT National Insurance point: (thanks to Becles for this!)
If you earn less than £5,725, you don't have to apply for the Small Earnings Certificate and you can pay the £2.70 a week contributions.

If you are not paying NI in any other jobs, it can be worthwhile to pay these NI contributions. It will count towards any benefits you may need in the future and contributes to your state pension record.

For example, the self employed get one of two rates for Maternity Allowance, regardless of their actual earnings. If you have a Small Earnings Certificate, you get £27 a week. If you have paid enough NI contributions, you will get £136.78. It's a big difference!

Bear in mind that HMRC generally seem to have very long delays on processing these forms so don’t worry too much if it’s a few weeks before you hear anything. It's usually better to just call them!

Information on Self Assessment - http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/selfemp.htm

Working out how much tax you’ll have to pay
You will be taxed at your normal tax rates for your mystery shopping. This sounds desperately vague but means that your MSing income (profit) will be added to any other income you have (employment, generally) by HMRC and taxed at the following rates (between 06/04/13 and 05/04/14):

If your total income is less than £9440, you’ll pay no tax. (for 2013-14)
If your total income is more than this, up to £32,010 will be taxed at 20%.
Any earnings higher than this will be taxed at 40%.

Tax rates can seem confusing but following the above information logically will help you work out your tax.

If you have any job paying more than £10,000 per year then your MSing income will most probably be taxed at 20%

Unless you earn more than £7,755 by self employment, (for the majority just mystery shopping) National Insurance (self employment’s version of National insurance is known as Class 4) will not be applicable. If you earn more than this, it'll get figured out and paid along with your income tax on your self assessment return.

“Tax doesn’t have to be taxing”
Many people are put off MSing because of the tax registration work involved - but they needn’t be. Tax is actually quite easy to deal with and when you know what to do you’ll have no issues.

There are a few accountancy trained MSers who regularly visit this board who might be able to help with a specific question that isn't answered here. Or just ring your local tax office!

Record keeping
Keeping records is something that’s vital with MSing. This is for two main reasons – one is that the MSing company may call you (potentially ages) after the job has been completed to query your report, and the other is for your tax return information at the end of the year.

In terms of tax, the record keeping can prove invaluable on a month to month basis and it’s worth investing some time and possibly money in setting up a bookkeeping system.

Working out your profit/loss
There have been lots of people on the old MSing threads asking how to work out their taxable income. Below is a little example of how to do this for each job, with some suggestions of what you could include for each job you do:

Income: (includes all fees and reimbursements): £30.00
Job specific costs (anything you had to pay out as part of the job) (£20.00)
10 miles @ 45p (HMRC’s agreed rate per mile) (£ 4.50)
12 pages printed @ 6p (reasonable cost of printing a page) (£ 0.72)
Profit (income less expenses) £ 4.78

It’s important to remember though that you can’t take the cost per page for printing from your income AND replacement printer cartridges and paper – it’s one or the other.

When the MS companies state that the fee includes all expenses, it is up to you to work out how much you have actually 'earned', and how much you have legitimately spent on expenses. And yes, it is even possible to make a loss, on paper, for the odd job!

What expenses can I claim against my income?
Claiming expenses other than the direct costs incurred in the job (meals etc) can be a bit of a minefield, and requires a bit of educated guestimating sometimes! with MSing, the usual, more obvious costs are:
Paper & printer ink OR a cost per page (usually 6p for most people)
Files, dividers, folders etc
Mileage costs (anything up to 45p per mile is acceptable)
You can also claim expenses against your income such as buying software or small equipment (calculator, diary etc) which aren’t necessarily related to one job. If you buy something expensive (like a laptop) you can only claim a portion.
There are some other things you can claim for though - these are more indirect costs and things you would have paid for even without MSing in most cases. These are simply contributions your business is making to you, for providing certain things. Below are some examples:
Broadband - you can claim a % of your monthly cost against your income. For example, if you estimate that you use your internet 25% of the time for MSing, then claim 25% of your broadband costs against your income
Telephone - this is done in a similar way to broadband. Line rental is done similar to broadband; calls are done either on this basis if you can't easily work it out, or using the exact costs if you can.
Use of home - this is something most small businesses charge against their income. It's a bit of a notional amount (usually set at £5/£10 per month) that's supposed to contribute towards the costs of keeping your business running at home, using the heat, light and a bit of the spare room as an office!
The last one is definitely a guestimate one - it goes along the lines of using your common sense and making educated guesses. More info is available here from HMRC on allowable "other" expenses....
__________________________________________________ _____________

Originally Posted by misssarahleigh
From the horses mouth (anthony and his department at HMRC)

Taxable Expenses

If the breif required you to purchase said products in order to be paid a fee, the products are 'incidental benifits' and can be classified as an allowable expense.

Reimbursement only

You cannot argue you have done the job for a fee. You have taken on the job and recieved goods for that job. Therefore payment in kind and is taxable.

If you can argue and prove that this was only done in order to gain access to fee paying jobs or build a reputation with the company, this will more likley depend on the strength of your argument. No set right/wrong to this, but based on individual circumstances.

Taking on reinbursment only jobs and classifying it as an expense is not allowed. If you do this purposly to lower your profit margin, he was clear in that it would be classified as Tax Evasion.

This is the answer I have received but please note this is not set in stone and very much open to interpretation.

I believe the difference in opinions is due to the fact there is no right or wrong answer for SOME of the situations we come across.

As previously said, i think it depends on your interpretation. i.e. i order a pizza and right it off as a taxable expense to get a fee. If the fee was £10 its clear I was doing it for the money. If the fee was £1, common sense would say i wouldn't go to all that trouble for £1 fee. But I would for the benifit of the pizza.

It's a grey area and in fairness i think it's down to the person who looks at your accounts if your ever audited.

So long as you can justify what you have done, and feel that your happy explaining why you have done that, then consider the matter closed.

__________________________________________________ ______

CONFIDENTIALITY is something MSers really need to bear in mind. Please don't mention fees or client names (naming the Mystery shopping company itself is fine!!) on this thread as neither the MSing company nor the client being shopped will be very happy about their names being discussed on here.
E.g: Don’t mention “B&Q”, or refer to it as “The orange DIY store with two initials”. Simply refer to it as “A DIY store” as there are more than one DIY stores!

The fundamental issue with this is that MSing is a very competitive business and if an MSing company finds out which company shops a particular client (and even for how much) then it puts that contract in jeopardy. This, therefore means that the competition between companies will always mean lower fees for us, the shopper.

Alerts thread
Timmne had the brilliant idea of an Alert thread, and set the first 2 threads up, the 3rd was started by UKMonkey and the 4th by mamashaz. It is specifically to alert shoppers of new job releases - the link is here. This is a very handy thread and it ensures us shoppers keep each other in the know - so if you spot a release of jobs, please let everyone know by posting on the alerts thread!

An Important point on posting
Please read the last few posts. Lots of people are 'Subscribed' so get an email for each new post, so check no-one has already posted. Check the jobs you are seeing are nationwide - a single job in Skegness does NOT merit a post! Also, remember to thank posters.
The Alerts Thread

Jobbingmusician's useful phrases thread
So, once you've started shopping, you'll need to get typing those reports! Jobbingmusician has created a thread here which is designed to help you along with typing up those reports. As with the alerts thread, this is only as useful as we make it so PLEASE add to it if you think of anything.

Useful Phrases Thread
:rotfl:Survey Queen/Poundland Fanatic:rotfl:



  • shell_belle
    shell_belle Posts: 615 Forumite
    I've been Money Tipped!
    edited 29 July 2015 at 10:42PM
    Companies used by MSE Mystery Shoppers
    All of the below companies use self-employed mystery shoppers (as opposed to employed ones, through a payroll). This means that to begin MSing, you must get registered for tax first (see above).

    You can sign up to as many companies as you like. The more you sign up with the more choice of jobs you will have.

    This is just a small list of companies that lots of us on this thread use. Googling "Mystery shopping" will bring up others, but DO NOT join any that ask you to pay out anything up front. You will NOT get work from them and you WILL lose your money. This list is NOT exhausted, and nor does inclusion here mean they are recommended. Comments in GREEN are JUST comments - a personal opinion by a shopper. Your experience may be different!

    Many other companies exist and are mentioned in this and the alerts thread. Have a read there for further info, and for an idea of what type of jobs they have (and what we think of fees!)

    Allocation of Jobs - Self allocation, you need to keep checking the website
    Pay Day: Depends on the job, but generally within 2-3 weeks of the job, by BACS. Briefs aren't that detailed. Popular company with this thread
    Tel. no. 01727 837322

    Allocation of Jobs – newly introduced Sassie System.
    Pay Day – by Paypal only.This company has fallen out of favour with some of the regulars are the fees are lower than some other companies.

    BARE INTERNATIONAL (if you get a current MSE'r to refer you they'll earn 1 Euro! So please ask)
    Allocation of Jobs – Self allocation although they contact you to tell you if you are successful in obtaining assignments.
    Pay Day – Around 22nd of the month following the assignment. By BACS or PAYPAL. NB They pay in Euro and some banks CHARGE for this. At the time of writing (Feb 2010) the following do NOT: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide, Smile; and the following DO: Alliance & Leicester, Halifax, Nat West, RBS, Satander group
    Contact no. 02 03355 9265 Lots of car visits. Decent company

    Allocation of jobs: by email.
    Pay Day: Payments are made directly into your bank account within 4 weeks of receipt of your completed pay claim.

    Allocation of Jobs - By email or phone
    Pay Day: Monthly by BACS

    Allocation of Jobs – from the website (Sassie). NB: This company is Irish so the rates of pay are usually shown in Euro – however, you will receive payment in Sterling.
    Pay Day: By paypal (you'll pay a tax-deductable paypal fee), towards the end of the month following the month in which you did the job or even early the month after. So, for example, regardless of whether a job is done on 1st April or 30th April you will be paid at the end of May or beginning of June.

    CHG do UK (London only) Hotels, restaurants, lounges and overseas hotels etc. BIG up front expenses and long reports, but decent fees.

    Ask or PM blindman if you want more details

    Allocation of Jobs – By telephone.
    Pay Day: 21 days maximum, but usually within 7-10 days

    Allocation of jobs by invitation to an email on the site
    Pay: By cheque on around 20th of the month
    You need to post off paperwork before you can be accepted.

    Allocation of jobs online. Self-allocation for certain jobs once you've completed a certain number of satisfactory assignments for them.
    Pay Day: Job cut off is 31st, , pay date 10th following month by BACS. ESA generally have nice, short tick box reports

    Allocation of Jobs – By text message/email
    Pay Day – 20th of month Some shoppers have reported issues with getting paid

    GAPBUSTER known affectionately as "Gyp" by regulars on this forum!!
    Allocation of Jobs - Self allocation, you need to keep checking the website
    Pay Day – 27th of the month following your assignment by BACS

    To contact them re: payment enquiry use: ShopperPaymentUK@gapbuster.com , and for any other queries: ShopperAssignmentsUK@gapbuster.com
    GAP are quite a good place to dip your toe in -they have lots of jobs, and if you can deal with the nerves of timing with a stop watch, you should be OK. Also, it's not a big expense if you mess up.

    Allocation of Jobs - Self allocation, you need to keep checking the website
    Pay Day = be made on the 10th (for all jobs completed by the 25th of previous month) and 25th (for jobs completed by the 10th of the month) , or on the working day before if it falls on a Saturday, Sunday or English Bank Holiday) The briefs can be convoluted and the reports can be 'wordy' but they're a pretty good co.

    Allocation of Jobs – Self allocation, you need to keep checking the website
    Pay Day – Varies but usually 3-4 weeks after your assignment by BACS
    They offer jobs on a 'nearest first' basis, so it can be worth making your additional postcodes supermarket/ shopping centre postcodes. Nice and straitforward briefs and reports

    HELION RESEARCH Allocation of Jobs – from the website (they have their own platform that is ever improving, they welcome all suggestions and feedback)
    Helion specialize in Mystery Shopping but also complete Audits, Exit interviews and recorded visits & calls.
    Pay day – Middle of the month following your completion. Paid by Bank transfer or PayPal.
    Contact by phone +32 (0)3 609 50 02 or you can email for a call back to uk@helionresearch.com
    They also keep an eye on this thread, and often pop up if we mention them. They also have very thorough training on their site, so definitely a great one to sign up to.

    Another company using the Sassie system.

    Takes a while to get established but they have a good range of assignments.

    Allocation of Jobs - By email
    Pay Day: 30th of the month - if you do a job on 1st, you'll get paid on 30th - do a job on 27th and still get paid on 30th!
    Tel. No. 0131 208 4433

    MYSTERY DINING COMPANY AKA EATING COMPANY THAT CANNOT BE NAMED, as they don't like to be talked about.
    Allocation of Jobs – Self selection from website. 4 levels – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, you get a higher rank as you do more jobs and the higher ranks see the new jobs first.
    Pay Day: By BACS 4-5 weeks after doing the job!
    Tel. No. 01225 470 281 Reports are lengthy and detailed. They have good sample reports on the site

    Allocation of Jobs – By e-mail, acceptance of allocation is done online.
    Pay Day: About 2 weeks after work is completed, by BACS. Need to submit invoice on their website.

    Applications are done online, visits are self-allocate and data entry in online.
    They do mainly video work, but their main two non-video clients are a car dealership franchise and a high street building society.
    Payment: is by BACS paid by the 15th of the month following the month in which the work was completed - sent automatically with no need for the MSer to send an invoice.

    Allocation of Jobs - by email, telephone or text
    Pay Day: generally pay by cheque 2 weeks after the assignment is completed.

    Jobs allocated on "Sassie" system now, they no longer email as much. Best to check the board.
    Pay Day: Automatically generated through Sassie system and paid into bank account. Pay date is usually 30th. Good briefs, helpful staff.

    Retail active have fallen out of favour with the regulars here, as they're fees have plummeted, to below national minimum wage levels for many jobs.
    Self allocation online
    Payment - automatic payment following job (can someone who works for them please tell me timings/dates of payment please?).

    Formerly known as RETAIL EYES (and sometimes referred to in this thread as MFers)
    Allocation of Jobs – Self allocation, you need to keep checking the website
    For Telephone and hotel jobs, you must have a valid work email address and phone number, i.e. not gmail, yahoo, aol, hotmail etc.
    Pay Day – 10th & 25th of the month (jobs done 1st-15th get paid on 25th; jobs on 16th-end of month are paid on the following 10th) - by BACS - remember to add your bank details!
    Good entry company, but fees are sometimes ridiculed by regulars here

    Allocation of Jobs – By text message or email. They also have a new self allocation website.
    Pay Day – Each month the cut off date is the 14th and everything received, completed & edited by them by this date goes through for payment on the 26th of the same month, (Or the next working day if the 26th falls on a weekend), and will take two to four working days to show in your account. Anything received, completed & edited after the cut off will go through for payment on the 26th of the following month.
    Interim payments are paid throughout the month to refund purchases of £18 and over, so that you are not out of pocket for long periods of time. Payment of fees, expenses and any other purchases made throughout the month are included in the monthly payrun.

    For 18 and 19 Year olds ONLY. They do test alcohol purchases.

    Mainly restaurants.
    Allocation of Jobs – by email
    Payment: by cheque

    Join the TNS Panel - https://www.tnsmysteryshopping.co.uk
    Further Info - 01494 427313 (Panel Administrator), information@tnsglobal.com
    Shopper contact email - contactus.mshop@tnsglobal.com

    Notification of jobs by email, apply online and you will be notified if you’ve been successful or not
    Payday: By BACS - sometimes really fast.

    ITS INCOGNITO]Allocation of Jobs - By email. Type of work - Specialises in the hospitality industry. Mystery shopper telephone calls but also Mystery Guest visits, and office quality assessment site audits.Valid business contact details required for hotel Mystery Guest stays]Looking for Mystery Shoppers in Manchester and London (as of Feb 2013) Pay: Usually by 14th of following month with hotel expenses paid sooner

    Douglas Stafford
    Some report visits but mostly video reports. Payment on the last working day of the FOLLOWing month (work on May 2nd, get paid June 30th) by BACS. Good company, that expects good reports

    Last edited by weeg; 08-08-2013 at 11:08 AM.
    :rotfl:Survey Queen/Poundland Fanatic:rotfl:

  • shell_belle
    This is a thread where people can ask questions and the experienced Mystery shoppers are happy to help. However, there are some questions which are asked time and time again so we have tried to answer them all here. If you can’t find the answer here to your specific question, ask us on the thread – we won’t bite (well, not very hard, and not unless we haven’t been fed!!!)

    ABA-i FAQ
    Q. "Do I get reimbursed for my purchase on an ABAi job?"
    A: "The 'incentive' shown is an all-inclusive amount i.e includes both reimbursement and fee".

    Q: I can only see one client on ABA-i. How do I add more?
    A: If you only have one client showing when you login, call Aba-i and ask if they can add on any more clients. They should be able to add two more particular clients without any problems. Emails don't get answered very often so call them for this particular request or use this link and add them on one at a time, by clicking “register” even if you’re already registered and follow the instructions, selecting your user name when it comes up. They currently have 11 clients.

    Q: How do I search for jobs for the whole country?
    A: Click on “other” then go to the box for “search” and press the space bar, then search. From the long list that appears select the bottom option “None of these, just look for the search term above”


    Q: I am new to GapBuster. How many jobs am I allowed to do in the first few months?
    A: You are limited to 2 a month for the first 2 months.

    Q: I've been told to get a business card for a mobile phone shop, or couldn't get one, what do I do?
    A: Scan in the brochure, business card or hand out you were given instead.

    Q: Where can I print off my job notes (questionnaire) on Gap?
    A: Go to Web Express and enter the job number. GapBuster have recently introduced a system whereby at the bottom of the briefing notes is a code which you will need to enter your results. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A NOTE OF THIS because once the date of the job is reached you will not be able to access it.

    Q: I am being asked for the Reporting Code but didn't print of the job notes. Is there a way I can get it after I've done the job?
    A: Try looking at the email that says 'Your job is now confirmed' , click on the link half way down, then you can see the code on the bottom of the questionnaire - it is a 4-figure number. If this doesn't work you will have to contact them to ask for it.

    Q: How can I tell which jobs Gap have paid me for?
    A: You will need to look at My Assignments and work it out from there, bearing in mind pay dates as listed above.

    Q: Is it ok to take others with me on a pizza job?
    A: Yes up to four people but the two in your party must pay separately

    Q: Can I use coupons?
    A: Depends - read the brief

    Q: Can I take advantage of a meal deal or special offer?
    A: Probably only where it would look suspicious not to, e.g. a free side order, not go large or equivalent.

    Q: Can I do Audits?
    A: Simply put, no, not until they ask you too.

    Q: I've just been sacked - is there anything I can do about it?
    A: No, sorry. Gap seem to cull their shopper list periodically for reasons that they don't explain.

    Q. When do MF pay?
    A. MF pay by BACS (bank transfer) twice a month; mid-month (around 10th-15th) and end of month. The money should show up in your bank account approximately 2 or 3 days after the date shown on your payment history.

    The general rule with cut-offs is:

    If you complete any assignments between 1st to 15th of a month (inclusive), payment will be made on the last working day of that month.

    If you complete any assignments between the 16th and the end of the month, payment will be made on the 15th of the next month.

    This is not always the case though, and should not be relied upon.

    Q. It's after the 25th and the money isn't in my account.
    A. It's not an error. It always hits your account on the last working day of the month.

    Q. How do I view my payment history?
    A. When logged into thesite, on the left you should see a section headed "Payment". Underneath is will say:
    Due dd/mm/yy: £xx.xx
    Due dd/mm/yy: £xx.xx
    Pending: X payments
    Clicking on either of these three links will take you into your "statement" and payment history.

    Q. I have a payment pending, why is this?
    A. When you have completed a visit, and filled in your report, the payment will stay as "pending" until your report has been proofread and approved. It's nothing to worry about and should move from pending after a few days.

    Q. MF have email me asking me to call them, what could this be about?
    A. It may be about one of your reports, they, or their client may have a question or two about it. Reply by email and ask them to email you with their specific questions, to which you can respond.

    Q. What are the points all about on the MF site?
    A. There are several theories but have been none proved or disproved! It is thought that some clients may ask for more experienced Mystery Shoppers, hence the points system is one (albeit, possibly flawed) way of managing this. Don't assume more points will lead to better jobs.

    Q. I can't see a hotel/bookmaker/etc assignment on MF, why?
    A. Certain clients demand certain Mystery Shopper demographics, so as to be "shopped" by someone who is similar to one of their typical customers. For example, a bookmaker may only make their jobs available to male shoppers, as it is typically (though not exclusively, I must add!) males who visit bookies.
    Another reason can be the answers that you have given to the various questions in your profile. If you firmly believe that you should be able to see the jobs (i.e it's not because of your sex, age or location), consider calling MF on the number given on their site. They are, on the whole, a friendly, helpful bunch, and should be able to find what the "problem" is.

    Q. I've just taken a job but lots of available jobs disappeared at the same time. How can they vanish so quickly?
    A. Often, Market Forse and/or their clients, only allow you to do one job of that type from that "wave" of jobs. So if you see 100 pub visits, and you accept one, what should then be 99, may drop to 0 as you're not allowed to take any other the other pub jobs. This is purely an example.

    Q: How do I release a job that I've accepted but can no longer complete?
    A: When you are logged into the MF site, you should see, towards the top left, a link that says "X Active" (where X is a number). Click on this link, then scroll to the job you wish to release. To the bottom right of the job details, you'll see a link that says "Release". click on this, and follow the on-screen prompts.

    Q: I have been asked to provide my Bank IBAN and Swift code. What are these and where can I find them?
    A: IBAN is International Bank Account Number. You can find your IBAN and Swift code either printed on your bank statement or somewhere within your online bank account pages if you are paper free. If you still can't find it, telephone your bank and they will tell you.

    As always, if there is anything not covered in the first few posts, feel free to ask on the thread itself.

    If there is any piece of information that you have that you think should be there, please PM me, and I will add it in.
    :rotfl:Survey Queen/Poundland Fanatic:rotfl:

  • shell_belle
    What's video mystery shopping?
    Some companies employ Video MSers. These involve filming the entire visit with a hidden (usually a button) camera. Get some report MSing under your belt before you think about this.

    It's significantly better paid that report based shopping.
    Companies tend to have regular shoppers who can get a lot of work from them - especially if they are prepared to travel.

    You need to buy the equipment (with a few exceptions).
    It takes practice - to work the equipment and learn to keep the camera pointing the right way.
    You need to learn to minimise the noise the mic picks up from you - muttering and rustling are not what the client is paying for.
    There is no room for 'fudging' or mistakes. If you screw up you can't get around the fact.
    Many companies like to allocate in 'circuits'. They'd rather have one person do a whole region, than 5 people do 1 each. If you aren't prepared to travel, or as reliant on public transport, it can take a long time to pay off your investment in equipment.

    They 'good' video MSing companies won't just take any old footage. Don't expect to be able to use your android phone or a cheapy from maplin. The most recommended/ accepted appears to be the Lawmate PV500 or PV500lite as sold by Dogcamsport. Cheaper alternatives are available, but CHECK with your prospective employers on their acceptibility and preferences. You'll also need a supply of good quality SD cards.

    (NB: this post was put together from reading previous threads. I've only ever done 2 video visits - with a borrowed camera).
    :rotfl:Survey Queen/Poundland Fanatic:rotfl:

  • MysteryMe
    MysteryMe Posts: 3,068 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Hurrah! New thread. Thanks!

    Anyway, gotta love one of our really low paying MSC. Was looking to see if there were any easy fillers in a particular area.

    This visit can only take place 1st Feb it says (which is a Sunday)

    Big warning notes, it's the shoppers responsibility to check opening times.

    MSC kindly provides store opening times. Closed Sundays. OK look on store website, store closed Sundays.

  • mrbanjo
    mrbanjo Posts: 275 Forumite
    Stating low paying doesn't really narrow it down lol. RA, MF or JKS?
  • shell_belle
    MysteryMe wrote: »
    Hurrah! New thread. Thanks!

    Anyway, gotta love one of our really low paying MSC. Was looking to see if there were any easy fillers in a particular area.

    This visit can only take place 1st Feb it says (which is a Sunday)

    Big warning notes, it's the shoppers responsibility to check opening times.

    MSC kindly provides store opening times. Closed Sundays. OK look on store website, store closed Sundays.


    I would say LOL but it's not funny...one of these particular companies is the worst - RA - in my opinion
    :rotfl:Survey Queen/Poundland Fanatic:rotfl:

  • MysteryMe
    MysteryMe Posts: 3,068 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Yep, Mr B and Shell_belle you got it.
  • skintsocks
    Well that confused me. Was looking for the last page button.... Thank you for the new thread shell_belle :)

    A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work
  • Big_Graeme
    Big_Graeme Posts: 3,220 Forumite
    For once it was a pleasure to do a burger visit, great food, novel drinks and very good service, and MF even provided enough reimbursement to cover a decent meal too, shame Gaps client isn't as good. One of the few visits MF have that I would highly recommend.
  • mrbanjo
    mrbanjo Posts: 275 Forumite
    Had a ding dong with MF at the begining of the year and appear to have got myself labeled for anal proofreading queries on every single job I do. Oh dear another one to sack.
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