Mystery Shopping Company Reviews

Mystery Shopping can be a great way to make some extra money to help you make ends meet or pay off debts. It takes work, organization, and diligence but it definitely pays well. You can get paid to grocery shop, eat at restaurants, get gas, shop for clothes or beauty items, and almost anything else. Also, you help to influence the customer service of these stores so mystery shopping favorably benefits not just you but future shoppers.

When I started mystery shopping I felt lost and was afraid that I would sign up with an illegitimate company and would fall victim to a scam. I would look through the lists on and discussion forums at but not all the companies were vetted and I was confused about which companies would work best for me. The Mystery Shopping Service Provider Association (MSPA) also shows a list of their members on their website so you know those companies are legit. Also, check out, a site that will show you mystery shopping jobs near you and link to the company offering them.

I have since tried out many companies and have decided to share my experiences with different mystery shopping companies to help people make the best choices and get the best payouts. It’s really easy to make money as a mystery shopper and it’s a great way to pay off debt.

Mystery Shopping Requires a bit more work than points companies but they pay much more! You need to be organized, a coherent writer, and pay attention to detail. It is easy to get the hang of and is really fun though! Remember: Never fall for scams that require you to pay anything to join a mystery shop company.

You may have to front some money to pay for your purchase or meal but most companies will reimburse you according to the requirements of the shop. Read the fine print, follow the directions, and you will have no problems completing the shop correctly to get paid.

Bestmark– Bestmark is a well known and respected mystery shopping company and has been an industry leader for 24 years. I have done a few mystery shops for Bestmark and have really enjoyed the experience. They pay monthly by check automatically so you can be surprised by a check in your mailbox in just a few weeks! I have gotten paid twice from them and look forward to doing more shops soon. Use referral ID MD5921 when you sign up!

MarketForceMarketforce is the leading Mystery Shopping company and is widely known and respected. They have a wide variety of industries which they provide shops for including grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, and banks. Marketforce is my favorite mystey shop company. I have done many shops with them and have had no problems with receiving payment. They pay by direct deposit the month after you complete the shops so at first there is a bit of a delay but if you continue to complete shops you will have steady monthly direct deposits. If the company has a hard time getting a shop completed, they may call you and ask you to complete it, sometimes offering a bonus.

Corporate Research International/Stericycle– CRI is a legitimate mystery shopping company which I have personally worked for and have been paid by. The company contracts with retail stores, gas stations, restaurants and all kinds of other companies to mystery shop their stores. I have completed many shops for CRI and their online reporting website is easy to use. Often their reports do not require much writing but they will require an uploaded photo of a receipt and/or photographs of the store, depending on the requirements of the mystery shop. CRI pays promptly about two weeks after you complete a shop for them and pays via direct deposit or PayPal. CRI has shops available across the 50 states and even is looking for international mystery shoppers in places like Puerto Rico, Mexico, Russia, Canada, India, Sinagpore, Spain, Malaysia, and Brazil (to name a few). If you want to sign up to be a mystery shopper for Corporate Research International, you can email me at [email protected] and I will send you an invitation right away. Good luck!
UPDATE: CRI is now called Stericycle due to a recent merger. As of January 2020 their mystery shopping site appears to be down.

Goodwin & Associates Hospitality Services, LLCGoodwin and Associates is a mystery shopping company that focuses on the hospitality industry. I have completed several mystery shops for this company and their forms are short and easy to complete. The shops vary depending on the client but most of the shops I have completed for Goodwin have only taken about 15 minutes each. They pay a flat rate for shops so you get reimbursed for whatever you spent if it is under the flat rate, plus whatever is left over to get to the flat rate.

I have completed shops for quick serve food locations for Goodwin and have had a very positive experience. They also have bars and restaurants available for mystery shops. Their online web portal is easy to use and you can reschedule yourself once if you have a scheduling conflict with shop you signed up for. Goodwin pays 60-90 days after you complete a shop which is a long time by most mystery shopping standards. They pay by Paypal.

Overall I am satisfied with Goodwin and enjoy doing shops for them. If you are interested in becoming a mystery shopper for Goodwin & Associates, click here.

Sinclair Customer Metrics– SCM is a legitimate mystery shopping company that I have conducted shops for. They are a smaller company and do not have the range of clients as some larger companies, but they offer a variety of companies. In my area they have shops available for banks, quick serve restaurants, and retail stores. SCM pays automatically each month via check for the shops completed in the prior month. When the company has a hard time filling a shop they will offer a bonus on the shop, even up to $20. The company will send you emails when they have new shops available in your area but will not usually call you or send many emails a day. You can see my longer review of the company here.

MSI Services– I have completed several mystery shops for  MSI Services and they one of the most promptly paying mystery shop company I have dealt with. They offer shops in a wide range of retail services, food shops, product placement verification, etc. MSI pays twice a month on the 5th and 20th of each month, so if you have a pending payment by the time the pay date rolls around, they will send it to you via PayPal. Many mystery shop companies pay only once a month and sometimes they will only pay for those shops that you complete in the previous month, leaving you with a two month delay till you get paid. So MSI’s quick payment is much appreciated. I would definitely recommend signing up with this company.

Intellishop– I have been conducting mystery shops for Intellishop for about a year and a half now and they have become one of my regular companies that I conduct shops for. They offer a range of companies which they conduct mystery shops for including fast food, car maintenance, automotive sales, and communication companies. I have conducted a number of shops for Intellishop and they pay promptly. Payments are done by Paypal and are scheduled on the 20th of the month after you complete your shop. Shops usually take over 30 days to get paid for but that is pretty common in mystery shopping.
About Face– About Face is one of my favorite mystery shopping companies for cosmetics mystery shops. They also offer other shop types such as hotels, online shops, and home services. This is not a huge company and they often have only a few shops available at a time in my town, but they will offer more shops in larger metropolitan areas. About Face pays via Paypal 45 days after you have completed a shop.
Sentry Marketing– One of my favorite restaurant mystery shops is offered by Sentry though they do take 45 days to pay. Not a large company but definitely good to have in your repertoire.

9 Replies to “Mystery Shopping Company Reviews”

  1. I answered a fb post about doing mystery shops at Walmart from Intellishop and all of a sudden I got a check in mail for almost $2000 which was from Employers Council with a letter from Intellishop. I feel very leary of this because the letter states to make any purchase, use the balance to do two wire transfers to people in my city and then I can keep the balance as payment. They have been harassing me with text messages since I got the mail, saying I needed to do it asap and why was I not trusting them to be honest. I used to do shops for bestmark at lowes and home depot and they never paid in advance for anything. The phone number used for the company on the somewhat fake looking letter doesn’t match any phone number on intellishops website nor does the persons name who signed the letter.

    1. Nope, that is not Intellishop but a scammer that you are working with. Intellishop does not advertise like that on Facebook as far as I have seen, and they do not mail you checks asking you to cash them and then send the money to someone else. The check that they sent you WILL bounce as it is fraudulent. So if you send any money you will be out what you sent.

  2. Beware of IPSOS / ISAY !!!!!

    IPSOS had a year long mystery shop in which you were required to have a specific phone plan from At&T in which you pay first of course and then eventually IPSOS would reimburse you…or so they say.I was reimbursed for the first 6 months no problem and now they refuse to pay my for the balance owed.

    I was never told the shop ended prior to the posted shop instructions that stated: You will keep the plan going for 12 consecutive months April 2016 to April 2017 with At&T and now they claim I breached my contract by claiming emails were sent to me or I failed to do something. I even have payment pending in the history log and they refuse to pay me. IPSOS claims that the plan was changed and the study ended without any notification in Dec 2016. If a shop ends early it is the responsibility of IPSOS to notify and pay for any outstanding fees incurred due to no notification and/or early termination fees!

    We all know mystery shop dates change and it is up to the company to let us know the updates and have them posted as an update on the assignment instructions! I am out $800 with At&T, because I was on a one year contract. I only had this plan for the IPSOS study and of course they did not have me on a cheap plan. They even had their attorney contact me to scare me off and he did not even have the correct study dates on his letter.

    I had to email him the original job instructions and dates. was part of this nightmare as well. Anyone have any suggestions on how to collect this money from IPSOS.

    Just found out through other posts that the client did actually cancel their contract with IPSOS and IPSOS failed to notify their mystery shoppers.I have been told that I am not the only one who was not paid!

    Review about: Ipsos / AT&T

    Reason of review: Poor customer service.

    Monetary Loss: $873.

    Preferred solution: Full refund.

    I didn’t like: Fraud, Failed to properly post updates on shop portal, Uses their in house attorney to scare shopper to prevent payment, Client cancels contract with ipsos and they hide it, Ends mystery study with no notification to shoppers.

    1. Oh my gosh! That is totally nuts! I haven’t heard of such a year long mystery shop but I’m sorry that it ended up like that with Ipsos cancelling in the middle of the shop term. I have done dozens of mystery shops for Ipsos over the years and have not had an issue with payment, though I have never done a shop for that client of theirs. Sorry you had a bad experience with them.

  3. Has anyone ever worked for The Source (trendsource)? they did not ask for money to join, and I was bale to do an assignment, but they wanted a photo ID and a background check if I am to do certified site visits. Is this unusual?

    1. Yes, I have done shops for them. I believe they don’t require that level of info on you for regular mystery shops and it’s only when you have to go do an audit, right? I’ve had companies do that before when I have to go talk to the company as a revealed auditor.

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