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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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13 Comments :

Blogger cyndi's notes said...

i wish i had read this before joining the site. So what is the way forward? how do i get my money back?

10 February 2010 at 13:10  
Blogger JasonParlour said...

I'm not sure precisely how it works, but based on point (5) above, they do have a 60 day money back guarantee. I'm not sure what their small print may be, but it'll be worth checking that in full.

You might also be interested in contacting your local 'trading standards' office, to discuss their particular techniques of promoting their services.

10 February 2010 at 13:41  
Blogger amanda said...

I managed to get a refund through CITYBANK, their online service providers. If you have your reference number from the original purchase, you can obtain a refund quite easily. They gave me mine within 24hrs.

25 February 2010 at 20:06  
Blogger Kayleigh said...

Hi Amanda
I got told I have to send a form to India and there was no other way!also the transaction was through click bank. how did you go about getting the refund online? or if anyone knows please message back

3 March 2010 at 22:59  
Blogger sales said...

I have just got round to applying for refund but have missed the deadline. If you need then user the URL.

http://www.ukmysteryshopperjobs.com/refundprocess.php

16 April 2010 at 16:45  
Blogger m.gokal said...

hi Amanda,
I joined about 6 days ago and was not impressed with what they were offering so I tried to cancel and they wanted me to send a signed form to India. Well, I deal with India and getting post out there is a problem and is it a genuine address we are posting it to? This company does no have any transparency. I have contacted Clickbank directly and they have issued me a refund. Get in touch with them...they will get you the refund

20 April 2010 at 13:17  
Blogger m.gokal said...

Clickbank had issued a refund and now the money is in back in my account after 2 days which is good new

23 April 2010 at 12:31  
Blogger nessie said...

I cant believe i have been conned! Looked so genuine, well I am going to watchdog it may only be £22 but its the principle. Let me know if u wanna have your say

13 May 2010 at 02:30  
Blogger Elaine D said...

I can't believe it! I've been had too...What do we need to get the money back Amanda - I've got something I printed off saying what my debit would read but I don'think there's a reference no. on it.

17 May 2010 at 22:23  
Blogger chrissie said...

Wow, me too, well I never!!! I tried to get questions answered but the email I received related to the same Q&A so nothing was settled! I am now trying to get my money back, thank you all as I think you have made it easier for me to go about doing this. I cannot believe that the JOBSITE uses their ads!

25 May 2010 at 23:10  
Blogger Lori68iou1 said...

oh my days, me too, I have had no reciept from them, so no reference number, but would like my money back, I have emailed them but no response, can anyone tell me what to do next please. Lori68iou1@yahoo.co.uk

19 June 2010 at 20:45  
Blogger JasonParlour said...

That's unfortunate that they're now not sending you a receipt. I doubt you'll get a response any time soon too unfortunately.
Your best chance now then, I expect, would be to contact your bank/credit card company, and force a refund through that way instead, if you can.
If they're not able to do it directly, your bank/credit card company will certainly be able to give you a transaction reference number, and details of who the transaction was made to. With this information, you should then be able to contact Citybank (or whoever else the mysteryshopper company may be using), and arrange a refund that way.

20 June 2010 at 09:49  
Blogger JasonParlour said...

I've just had this through from today from Lori, above:

"Hi Jason,
Good news, I emailed the Click bank direct, who have a simple refund form to fill out, and I have been given a full refund, thank you for your help

Bright blessings"

23 June 2010 at 11:12  

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