What To Do When You Don’t Get Paid

One of the most common complaints mystery shoppers have about their providers is that they don’t pay fast enough. For some providers, this complaint has turned into a full dilemma when the paycheck doesn’t arrive after weeks of waiting. Before you go into panic mode about your missing paycheck, take a deep breath and think about your options.

Check The Calendar. Before you call up your provider with an angry tone and even angrier words, double check your dates. Verify the date you submitted the report, but keep in mind that most providers don’t count the report as “complete” until after all questions have been answered. So if you and your scheduler went back and forth for a week answering questions on the report, use the date of final correspondence on the report as your starting point on the calendar. Then count the number of weeks until today.

While many mystery shoppers would love to get paid a week or two after an assignment is complete, in the real world most providers won’t send out your payment until one to two months after the report is submitted. A few providers average even more time than this! Don’t start harassing your provider about your check into the provider’s average stated turnaround time on payments has passed.

Check The Website. Providers offer a range of useful information on their websites. Take a few moments to log in to your account with that provider and check your account status. You can often get valuable information from your account page that may clear up any questions you may have. For instance, some providers require payment to be sent via PayPal. If you don’t have a PayPal account on record with your provider, some providers will simply hold your payment until you submit that information to them. Some providers also include payment information on-line, such as the date a check was mailed as well as what address the check was mailed to.

Check The On-Line Forums. Mystery shopping forums are often used by mystery shoppers to share feedback on providers, including information on slow and no payment. Take some time to peruse the message boards to locate the information you are looking for. If you can’t find the information you need, simply post a quick message about your issue and await the response. Usually you will get back several relevant responses within just a few short hours.

Ask Nicely. When every indication points to the fact that your payment should have arrived long ago, simply send a polite email to your provider to request an update on the payment. Keep in mind that any number of things could have happened, from a simple oversight in the provider’s bookkeeping to a check getting lost in the mail. A polite email can be used to both give the provider a gentle reminder that you are still expecting your payment as well as to notify them that there may have been an issue the paycheck’s delivery (via PayPal, US mail, or other methods). While you may be livid that it’s been three months since you completed the assignment and have not yet gotten paid, it really accomplishes nothing to get angry. So unless the matter escalates, try to keep a friendly and professional tone to get your check faster.

While not getting paid (or not getting paid promptly) can be a frustrating issue for mystery shoppers, you will usually get your end result of receiving a paycheck by staying calm and exploring the situation in more detail on your own before you raise the issue with your provider.