Get to mystery shoppers together in a room – or in a virtual room online, and they most certainly will gripe about how hard it is to get some providers to pay them in an timely manner. (And sometimes even to get them to pay at all!) Sometimes the griping on this topic even turns competitive as mystery shoppers try to out-do each other with the worst payment horror story around. Of course, no mystery shopper really wants to be the one to win that friendly competition!
The fact is that some providers are great at paying promptly, and others may either hit a snag every now and then causing a delay or be notorious for paying late. If you want to know how you can get paid faster, here are some tips:
Stand Up! You don’t have to just accept slow payment from a provider. If a provider is a bit slow on the draw with opening their wallet to compensate you on your efforts, by all means, find another provider. Does it sound easy? It should, because it doesn’t take much effort at all to drop a provider and exchange them for another one. You can simply stop working for a provider by ceasing to request assignments. We all know how easy it is to sign up to work with other providers. Just be sure that you do some homework on potential new providers. By all means, make a quick post on the forums and get some feedback on how fast or slow other providers are before you sign up to work for them.
Remind Me! Dropping a provider is great if you don’t have any money currently outstanding with them, but what if you are waiting for payment for a job you did several weeks ago? By all means, send a friendly reminder email to the provider asking for an update. We are all human, and there is a possibility that your payment slipped through some crack. A friendly reminder may be all that is necessary to get that cash in your hands.
What’s Up? If you have a major problem with a provider not paying, by all means, do the mystery shopping community a favor and post your experience on the forums to let others know about it. First, you will be warning others to avoid working with a provider such as that. Second, another mystery shopper may have had a similar experience, and they may just be able to give you some guidance and advice to help you get your hard-earned money.
To The Courts? Few mystery shoppers want to squabble in court over a measly $10 or $20 payment, or even a $100 either. The court costs and time are simply not worth it for most people. However, you can certainly threaten legal action, which usually is enough to get the provider to write you that check. After all, they certainly don’t want to have to pay hundreds of dollars in legal fees for a measly $10 or $20 payment either! So first, start by printing out your emails that you have sent to follow up on the outstanding payment, as well as a copy of your report and the assignment details, too. Then draft a very professional, non-threatening letter to the provider demanding payment or you will take matters to the next level. Send the letter in a certified, signature required, envelope so that you have proof that they received it. While you may not ever do anything with that proof, the fact is that the provider now knows that you have proof they received it and thinks you may be serious about legal action. Sure, it’s a game of chicken, but with the stakes so high, the provider will typically pay up.
Most of the time, you simply just need to be patient and wait for the provider to get around to paying you, whenever that might be. However, every mystery shopper has their point when enough is enough, and if you reach that point, know that you have several options available to you.