Mystery Shopping bait and switch

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What does “bait and switch” mean in mystery shopping?  I can’t quite figure it out.


“Bait and Switch” is a practice with some not-so-nice Mystery Shopping companies.  It’s a rare occurrence, thankfully…but it can happen.

When a Mystery Shopping company posts an assignment, they’re supposed to give you all the details, so that you know what you’re getting yourself into.  Sometimes, they don’t do that, and bait you into taking an assignment that looks easy to do.  Once you accept it, they throw a whole bunch of details, stipulations, and extra work that you weren’t counting on.

But, you already accepted the assignment so what do you do?

You can return the assignment, stating it wasn’t what you signed up for, and the company can retaliate by banning you from receiving further assignments…or…

You can complete the assignment, grumbling under your breath that you’re not getting paid enough to do all of the additional work.

My advice lingers somewhere in-between.  If you’ve been working for the company for awhile, and this was a one-time occurrence, or new scheduler, by all means, let them know the error of their ways.  I’d complete the assignment, and talk to them afterwards.

If it’s a company you’ve never worked for before, I’d complete the assignment anyway to preserve your reputation and then check out the message boards to see if others have had issues. You can decide whether to stay with them at that point.

No matter what, though I do recommend doing the assignment.  Your reputation is more important than any one payment on any one shop.  The scheduler may have been forced to “bait and switch” and may eventually go to another company.  You want them to remember you as someone who completes their assignments, not someone who bails when adversity strikes.

Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company. Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!

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