Mystery shoppers love getting paid. There’s no denying how great it feels to get emails from PayPal saying you have received funds from a provider, or opening up your mailbox to find several checks waiting for you. Unfortunately, some mystery shopping providers are just plain slow in paying for your hard work and valuable time. In same cases, payment for completed assignments exceeds slow and borders on ridiculous. If you are ready to start panicking about not receiving funds yet for work completed quite some time ago, don’t fret quite yet. Here are a few options available to you before you enter full panic mode:
Review the Dates. There is a chance – albeit a small one – that you may have mistaken the date that you completed the assignment. So give that calendar a second glance and make sure you have the dates, right. Be sure to look at the date your report was accepted by the provider, rather than the date you submitted your report. If you had some back-and-forth, question-and-answer sessions going on with your provider about your report answers, the provider doesn’t count your report as completed until that Q&A session ended. If you went through two weeks of Q&A with your provider, this may throw off your timing quite a bit.
And while you have the calendar in front of you, take some time to count backwards from today’s date to the date the report was finalized. Sometimes time can get away from you and what may seem like something that happened weeks and weeks ago was really only about 15 or 20 days ago.
Know Your Providers. Providers each have their own payment policies, and it helps to know how promptly a provider usually pays. If a provider usually pays within 2 or 3 weeks, and you are approaching the 5 week mark, it may be time to contact the provider with a friendly follow up email. However, if it normally takes you 6 weeks to get a payment from a provider, and you are at the 5 week mark, you may want to be patient and wait another week or two before you contact the provider.
If you are new to mystery shopping, you may not be familiar with your providers’ normal payment policies. Most providers publish approximate payment guidelines on their website, so you can get a fair idea of when to expect your funds by referring to their websites.
Contact the Providers. When you realize that enough time has elapsed and you should have received your payment by now, understandably you may be a little upset. However, approach the situation with your provider in a polite way. Send a very polite email to follow up, citing the date the report was finalized and when you expected payment based on their payment policies. You may want to fly off the handle and get angry with the provider for their slow payment, especially if this is becoming a regular occurrence with this particular provider, but getting angry will not resolve the situation. If you are not happy with a provider that consistently pays late, you can certainly stop working for them and find providers that pay more promptly.
In an ideal world, we as mystery shoppers would submit our reports online and get paid via PayPal the next day. But unfortunately the mystery shopping world doesn’t quite work like that and we do need to stay on top of payments and even send a follow up email from time to time. Just keep in mind that if you are working with a legitimate provider, you are certain to get your money at some point – even if it’s not as fast as you would like.