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The Therapy Agency's Blog (web log)

The views represented in the Therapy Agency's blog, may not necessarily represent those of the Therapy Agency. Also, the Therapy Agency cannot be held responsible to links to any external websites, or the content thereon.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

UK Mystery Shopper Employment Agency (ukmysteryshopperjobs.com)

We've been noticing a significant number of visitors coming through to our website on mystery shopping, from a website called ukmysteryshopperjobs.com (calling themselves 'UK Mystery Shopper Employment Agency').

However, we'd never heard of them prior to the visitors coming through, and have never been contacted by them, nor requested our details be listed with them.

As far as we understand it, for a fee of around £50, they're providing an online list of companies seeking mystery shoppers (a list that could be compile relatively quickly yourself, by spending a bit of time searching on Google, which is probably how they found our information in the first place).

Unfortunately, many things about ukmysteryshopperjobs.com or 'UK Mystery Shopper Employment Agency', flag up significant warnings to me:
  1. None of their contact details are publicly accessible.
    Doing a search against their domain name, for the registrar details, concerning www.ukmysteryshopperjobs.com, they've chosen to hide all their contact details through a proxy registrar in Arizona (for an individual, concerned about their privacy that can be a reasonable idea, however, for a company to hide their information, should flag up warning signs very quickly).
  2. BBC Endorsed
    They make reference to 'as seen on BBC TV' by carefully wording it to give the impression of themselves being featured on BBC TV, although, all they actually refer to, is the act of 'Mystery Shopping' itself having been featured, not them (the likely chance of them being featured on BBC would be on a scam watch show or similar).
  3. You have to give personal info, before you can view more
    I never give across a personal email address, until I know enough about a company to trust them (and even then, I tend to use unique email addresses for most companies I give email addresses too).
  4. Search for their company name, before handing over any money or contact details:Doing a quick search for "UK Mystery Shopper Employment Agency" on Google, brings up primary links to forum posts on scam watches and similar.
  5. 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
    Apparently, they offer a money back guarantee if you're not happy.  However, judging from other threads, getting this money back is a difficult thing to do.  Your best bet, is probably to contact your Credit Card company, and get the money back from them.  There is apparently a UK address on your payment receipt, however, as far as we understand it, this is a shared office postal address somewhere in London (ie without any real people working there).
  6. Why pay for something, you can get for free?
    Mystery Shopping, for almost everyone, is not a career option.  There are far more people wanting to do it, then there are placements available.  You need to have a lot of specialist skills to do the role justice (excellent observation, accurate memory & recall, experience/knowledge of the industry you're mystery shopping, etc.).  However, lists of companies to contact, in order to become a mystery shopper with, are freely available. So don't pay someone else, to get a list that may be months out of date, unless you have that money to just throw away.
  7. They're not listed with Companies House in the UK
    A Limited UK company, must be registered with Companies House.  Sole Traders are exempt.  However, doing a search through web check brings up no results, so they're either a sole trader with the misleading trading name of 'UK Mystery Shopper Agency' (which also isn't listed with Yell.com, so they don't have a UK Business phone number under that name), or they're an overseas company.
So all in all, I'd recommend you don't give money over to them, as I believe they're not operating in a fair an reasonable way.

If you have already given money over to them, I'd recommend you do whatever you can, to get your money back sooner, rather than later.

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