Between a Rock and a Hard Place: When Mystery Shopping Providers Ask You to Do Bad Things

In an ideal world, all of your dealings with your mystery shopping providers would be above board and pleasant. For some mystery shoppers, good experiences all that they will have the pleasure of having. However, other mystery shoppers may be confronted with difficult situations that their providers put them in. If you find yourself in one of these situations, you may understandably feel as though you are caught between a rock and a hard place. You may have the desire to complete your assignment, earn your paycheck and please your provider. However, you don’t want to do anything unethical that you may regret or that may come back to bite you later. What can you do when you are faced with these sticky situations?

What’s It Worth?

First, you should consider what it would cost you to walk away from the assignment. One common situation that mystery shoppers find themselves in is being asked to make seemingly fraudulent changes to their assignment reports. If you are OK making the changes and feel no qualms about it, then this is entirely your decision. However, others who may have their reservations about making fraudulent changes to a report may want to consider if it is worth it. What is the total amount of the assignment worth? The fact is that most mystery shopping assignments have fairly low compensation, so you may be out some time if you walk away from an assignment, but the financial cost to you may be negligible. If you walk away from the provider, you can easily replace that provider with a new one.

Review the Consequences

If you are thinking about making the changes or doing something else that you may not entirely be comfortable with, consider the consequences. Who may be hurt by your actions? Will there be legal ramifications or other personal consequences to you? Consider the worst-case scenario, and ask yourself if you can live with that.

Is It a Scam?

As a final note, you should consider if the request is a scam. If the request is coming from a provider who you regularly work with, chances are that it is not. However, keep in mind that some scam artists will mimic the email messages of legitimate providers, and you may think that you are working with the same company that you always are when this is not the case. If you think something isn’t quite right, it may be best to trust your gut and do some extra research to figure out what’s going on before you jump right in.

If you believe that you are being asked to do something that is not quite legitimate or ethical as a mystery shopper, you may not be alone. Many mystery shoppers feel like they are torn between doing what’s right and what they are being asked to do at some point. If you find yourself in these situations, consider some of these points as you make your decision about what action to take.