Evaluator FAQ

GENERAL
  1. What mystery shopping is and is not
  2. How do I reset my password?
  3. How do I change my personal information?
  4. I recently received an e-mail/text asking me if I want to be a mystery shopper. Is this a scam?
  5. How do I get an assignment?

  6. Shopping in Nevada

CERTIFICATIONS
  1. Is cetification required?
  2. Am I guaranteed more opportunities or higher pay if I am certified?
  3. How do I find my certification number?
  4. I have always been told, "Do not pay to shop." Why is this different?

  5. What if I fail?
  6. Are the certification courses expenses tax deductible?
  7. Once I am certified, how do I notify the companies?


GENERAL
1. What mystery shopping is and is not
Contrary to what you may have heard, mystery shopping is not a quick way to make a lot of money, nor is it a way to "get paid to shop."  Mystery shopping is a serious enterprise intended to gather information about the customer experience in a specific environment.  It requires time, attention, and effort.  Mystery shoppers are in business for themselves; while they get paid for the work they do while posing as shoppers, they are not paid to shop; they are paid to gather data.
(If you are asked to pay to become a shopper, you should be EXTREMELY leery of the offer... there are thousands of opportunities to do mystery shopping that do not require the shopper to pay anything!)
In some cases, the shopper may be expected to purchase an item (or a meal, theater ticket, etc.), in which cases the shopper is likely to also be reimbursed for that item, within the stipulations given by the shopping company when the shopper accepts an assignment. In every case, the shopper should strive to ensure he or she fully understands the scope of the shop, the anticipated time required, and the benefits, if any, that will result from doing the shop. (Back to top)

2. How do I reset my password?
When you attempt to log in, click on “Forgot your password? Click Here” and then enter your login ID which is your e-mail address. A link will be sent to your e-mail to reset your password. If you don’t see it shortly, be sure to check their spam/junk folder for this e-mail. (Back to top)

3. How do I change my personal information?
Click the “Edit My Information” link from your Member Profile. From there, you will have the ability to update your profile. (Back to top)\
 
4. I recently received an e-mail/text asking me if I want to be a mystery shopper. Is this a scam?
By signing up for an evaluator membership with MSPA Americas, you are not registering to be a mystery shopper. You must still register with mystery shopping provider companies to be a mystery shopper. MSPA Americas does not hire shoppers directly. We connect you with our member companies who can post assignments online and we offer certification to increase your potential as a mystery shopper.
 
If you have received checks or communication recently concerning conducting a mystery shop for which you purchase products and send them to a specified address or wire money from checks that were sent to you in the mail, it is a scam and we strongly suggest that you do not waste your own time and money carrying out the illegitimate assignment. We also share scams that we hear about on www.mspa-americas.org/scam and have further information available at www.mspa-americas.org/avoid-scams.
 
You will also not receive solicitous emails requesting personal information or promising payment for jobs that have not yet been completed. For a listing of all of the member companies, go to www.mspa-americas.org/member-companies. If you have received correspondence from a company that does not appear on this listing, please proceed with caution as we are not affiliated with this company and do not have information concerning their business practices. If you've received correspondence from someone that seems like it could be a scam and they are claiming to be affliated with a member company, further research the person's email domain and the member company's website. (Back to top)
 
5.  How do I get an assignment?
MSPA Americas does not hire independent contractors directly. We connect you with our member companies who can post assignments online. We offer certification to increase your skills but you do not need to be certified or an independent contractor member of MSPA Americas to get assignments. You can also search our member companies and search for assignments by visiting the Evaluator Tool Box section of the website and click on the Opportunity Board link. By joining the indpendent contractor membership of MSPA Americas, you are not registering with a company. You must still register with companies to get assignments. (Back to top)

6. Shopping in Nevada
ATTENTION NEVADA SHOPPERS! - Current Nevada law states that you MUST be an employee of a private investigator if you are going to perform shops in Nevada. It is illegal for you to perform mystery shops as an independent contractor. Mystery shopping companies and shoppers caught shopping illegally face fines of $2,500 per instance and more. While we still encourage you to educate yourself by completing the MSPA Americas certifications, we want to make sure you are operating legally as well. Current MSPA Americas members that are licensed to shop in Nevada are:
   
We encourage you to contact these companies and let them know about your certification status. (Back to top)

CERTIFICATIONS
1. Is certification required?
No. MSPA represents more than 250 mystery shopping companies worldwide. We do not know of any company who will not hire you (assuming you are qualified) if you are not certified. However, each company has the right to do as they see fit. If you are a good shopper for a good company, the MSPA does not see you losing shops because you are not certified. However, it may help you get your foot in the door with other companies and expand your business. (Back to top)
 
2. Am I guaranteed more opportunities or higher pay if I am certified?
No. However the certification may give you an edge with some companies. Imagine two shoppers in the same town, with the same experience and work performance. One is certified and one is not. All other things being equal, the certification sets one shopper above the other with some companies. 
If the same scheduler has a reliable shopper who has done excellent work in the past, we would expect the mystery shopping company would give that reliable shopper the job over a person who has never done any work for the company, but is certified. Again, the difference is if all candidates have the “same” qualifications, the certification may give you an edge with some companies. (Back to top)

3. How do I find my certification number?
To view your Certification code(s), simply login to your Member Profile using your email address as your login ID and your unique password. Once there, please refer to the bottom right portion of the menu under the Certification Code (ICs Only) heading and select, “View My Certification Code.”  From there, please carefully read and follow the instructions to view your code(s). Codes can take up to six hours to appear, so please check back later. (Back to top)
 
4. I have always been told, “Do not pay to shop.” Why is this different?
We agree with that. You are not paying to get more shops, you are paying to learn more about an industry that is changing every day. You may learn some tricks to help you work smarter and do your work in less time. You may not book more shops but you may take less time to do your current shops. Time is money as well. (Back to top)
 
5. What if I fail the test?
Currently, a passing grade is 80% but if you fail the Intro to Mystery Shopping Certification Course, you are able to take it again. (Back to top)
 
6. Are the certification course expenses tax deductible?
Since you are an independent contractor, any and all expenses directly related to your business including seminars should be tax deductible; always consult with your tax advisor to ensure you address deductions appropriately. Certification only strengthens the case that you are running a business. (Back to top)
 
7. Once I take the test, how do I notify the companies?
Email a scheduler and let them know you are certified. They will need your e-mail address and your certification number to verify your status. Many companies have already added a space on their shopper profile pages where you can go in and add your certification number yourself. Many systems have also added places for you to add your information. NOTE – your certification number is case sensitive and to verify your status, you need to use the same e-mail account you used to take the test. (Back to top)