One of the biggest complaints mystery shoppers have is slow payment by mystery shopping providers. While some providers may pay you as quickly as one week if you accept PayPal payments or use direct deposit, other providers may take months to pay you regardless of the payment method. While some companies pay within a fairly reasonable period of time, some providers will not pay without repeated follow up calls. There are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of providers paying you late.
Skip The Check. With many providers, accepting PayPal or setting payments up via direct deposit often results in faster payment. Payment via these methods is not a cure-all, but it does reduce the overall time by cutting out the check printing and mailing time.
Double Check Your Work. A provider typically will not pay you for your mystery shopping services if any paperwork is outstanding or if there are questions on your report that have not been cleared up. On each and every assignment you do, ensure that you have filed all of the required paperwork including receipts or business cards. Sometimes these documents may not transmit properly or the images may come across blurry, causing the provider to reject your files. After you submit the files, you should ensure they were accepted by the provider.
If the provider contacts you with any questions about your report, respond to the questions promptly. Your report is not complete until all questions about your report have been cleared up. If you and your provider go back and forth with a series of questions and answers for a week, your report will not be marked as complete during that time. You can speed up the overall time it takes to receive payment by filing a complete, accurate, and thorough report the first time, removing the need for the back-and-forth Q&A session with your provider.
Accept the Process. If you ask a seasoned mystery shopper about “typical” timing to receive a paycheck, you will likely be told that it ultimately depends on the provider. While some providers have a typical time frame of 3-4 weeks to process a payments, others may take 6-8 weeks. This is based purely and simply on the provider’s internal process. Once you determine a provider you work with has a standard slow payment time frame, you have two choices. You can either accept their turnaround time on payments and budget appropriately on your end. Or you can discontinue working with that provider and choose to work with providers who pay more promptly.
When There’s A Problem. In the current economic climate, it’s altogether reasonable that many mystery shoppers may get worried about the possibility of never receiving payment for their work. After all, the news is riddled with stories of companies closing their doors and filing for bankruptcy. If you notice that a payment is later than usual, the first thing you should do is contact your provider. While the adage of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is often true, keep in mind that you will get farther if you handle the slow payment with a degree of professionalism. If after several calls you are still not getting anywhere with the provider, you may have to take a different approach. While it may seem altogether worthwhile to call in some legal help to back you up, it’s best to weigh the legal costs against the amount of money that is actually owed to you. However, often a simple letter from an attorney will do the trick, rather a full-fledge lawsuit. Ultimately, though, you want to try to avoid burning bridges with a company if at all possible. So you may be better off be patient and waiting it out unfortunately.
While getting paid is often one of the most frustrating factors with mystery shopping, rest assured that you usually will receive your payment at some point even without a courtesy call.