Friday, September 12, 2008

Payment Problems

At some point in your mystery shopping career, you will experience a problem with the way a shop was paid. The wrong way to handle payment problems is to get your scheduler on the phone and start yelling and accusing.

The Right Way Good thing you've been keeping excellent records! You have been keeping excellent records, right? Look up the issuing company's IC Agreement you signed with them and read up on their payment policies. It will outline the dates they pay, the method of payment and what to do in case of a problem.

Now go to your assignment form, shop form and receipt. Double check everything to make sure you completed the assignment exactly as you were instructed. It is common for a mystery shopping company to deduct from your pay or not pay you at all if you started a shop even one minute too early, ended it too late, did not spend the right amount or forgot to upload a receipt. Take it one step at a time and check everything on your end first.

When you have all your information in order, contact the company using their preferred method. Be calm, have your facts ready and be willing to work with them instead of insisting on your way.

I have experienced payment issues in less than 3% of my shops, and about half of those were my fault. I don't push to get paid for a job I do if I did not complete the assignment as it was explained to me. There have been times when the paperwork indicated a certain purchase was optional, but the payment was denied me because the purchase wasn't made. Because I have the original paperwork, exactly what was agreed upon can be read to (or scanned and a copy sent to) the person helping me. If a scheduler offers me a bonus but it doesn't appear in the paperwork, I don't insist upon being paid the bonus. Part of my job includes making sure my paperwork is in order before I do the shop. If I fail to do that, any payment issues must be abandoned as "Contractor Error," in other words, my fault.

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