Wednesday, March 29, 2017 
  mystery shopping info | become a shopper | FAQ section | home  

 

Frequently Asked Mystery Shopper Questions

Please click on a topic heading below to view frequently asked mystery shopping questions for that particular topic. Be sure to review the previous questions within this FAQ prior to emailing Imyst. If you have a question that has not been addressed, please contact our staff.

Expand All  

Questions About Becoming A Mystery Shopper

Does it cost anything to become a mystery shopper?
No. There are no registration fees or other fees to join.

Furthermore, Imyst strongly recommends that prospective shoppers never pay to become a mystery shopper, as there are numerous free resources available.

What do I need to do to become a mystery shopper?
To become a mystery shopper, you must register with us by clicking on register. Following registration and approval of your application (generally 1-2 business days), you will be able to sign up for available assignments.

After I have registered, how do I login to the Imyst website?
On most pages of our website, there is a login link for mystery shoppers on the lower left part of the page. You may also login by clicking here. If you do not have your login information readily accessible, you may go to the login page and click on the Forgot Your Password link to request that your Account ID and password be emailed to you.

I forgot my Imyst account login information. How do I retrieve it?
If you do not have your login information readily accessible, you may click on the Forgot Your Password link to request that your Account ID and password be emailed to you. Your information will be sent to the email address on file with our company.

I received a cashier's check in the mail asking me to perform certain tasks (i.e. - a wire transfer, etc.). Is this legitimate?
No, the mailer and the cashier's check are fraudulent.

The mailer that was sent to you contains fraudulent documents and is in no way affiliated with Imyst, Inc. or www.imyst.com. Please note that these documents, including cashier's check, were sent as part of an offshore scam in which you will lose personal funds. To ensure that your personal, sensitive information is not compromised in any way we suggest that you contact your local authorities and retain copies of all documents sent to you for your personal records.

I received an email soliciting me to become a mystery shopper from an "@gmail.com" / "@yahoo.com" / "@hotmail.com" email address or some other personal email address. Is this legitimate?
No, the email you received is fraudulent.

We only send emails via our company domain, such that any email that does not end in "@imyst.com" is not a legitimate email from Imyst, Inc. Please note that Imyst, Inc. is an independent market research company and as such we are not affiliated with any other market research/recruiting companies. Additionally, registering to become a shopper with our company does not cost anything. To become a shopper with our Imyst, please click here to access our application.

When can I start searching for available mystery shopping assignments?
After you have registered with Imyst as a mystery shopper, it may take from 1-2 business days for your application to be approved. Generally, mystery shopping applications are approved the same day they are submitted, except on weekends and holidays. Once you have been approved, you may begin searching for available mystery shopping assignments. Prior to approval, you may not see any shops available.

Why am I asked for my social security number (or social insurance number for Canadian shoppers) and date of birth during registration? Is it safe to give this information over the Internet?
We ask mystery shoppers to provide either their social security number (SSN), employer identification number (EIN), tax identification number (TIN), or social insurance number (SIN, for Canadian shoppers) for tax reporting purposes only, as this information may be required to be reported to the IRS by our company. This information will not be used for any other reason or disclosed to any third parties without your consent unless required to do so by law. Imyst, Inc. allows the use of and Employer Identification Number (EIN) in lieu of a Social Security Number. You may obtain an EIN online from the IRS.gov website. If you elect to use an EIN, simply contact our staff by email or phone to have it updated within your account.

Your date of birth is required only for demographic purposes and will neither be used for any other reason nor disclosed to any party not directly affiliated with Imyst. Additionally, Imyst provides all mystery shoppers 128-bit SSL encryption to ensure the highest level of security when submitting information on our website, so you can feel safe supplying this information.

Note that mystery shoppers are required to provide a valid SSN, EIN, or TIN (or social insurance number for Canadian shoppers) prior to receiving payments from our company and within 45 days of completing an assignment. Click here for additional information regarding this payment related issue.

Questions About Shop Visits And Evaluations

Why are there only 3 (or the specified number of) days to complete shops when I sign up for available mystery shopping assignments?
Our default period to complete a mystery shopping assignment may be any specified amount of time, depending on the assignment requirements set by our client, but is generally three days (72 hours) from the self-assign date. This is by design so that if a shop cannot be completed by the proposed due date, another mystery shopper that is able to complete the assignment sooner will be able to sign up. This ensures that shops are completed as soon as possible for our clients and helps our company to meet internal deadlines. This also prevents shoppers for assigning themselves shops and then failing to complete them in a timely manner. Note that Imyst, Inc. has strict penalties for delinquent shoppers that do not complete assignments as agreed upon within the assignment contract, including restriction from signing up for future assignments, denial of payment, etc.

Please note that often times you may ask for an extension by emailing staff@imyst.com prior to signing up for an assignment; however, our company does not guarantee an extension will be granted, and the shopper is still held responsible for submitting their report as agreed upon. Note that assigning yourself to a shop requires electronically signing the assignment contract, which is the equivalent of signing a written contract that you have digitally signed, such that the contract is legally binding.

When must a shop visit and mystery shopping evaluation be completed?
Initially, you must complete a shop visit and fully submit an evaluation on our web site by the specified due date (generally within 72 hours of accepting a contract).

Please note that for dealership (and certain other) assignments completed on Fridays with due dates that fall on either Saturday or Sunday, reports will be accepted on Monday even though your account may state that an assignment is overdue. This due date is generally automatically extended accordingly.

After successfully completing a certain number of quality assignments, Imyst may award mystery shoppers with preferred status, in which case you may schedule assignments several days in advance.

Is there a rotation time for available assignments, or a set period that I must wait before a I may complete a shop again?
The rotation time between shops varies based on the particular assignment available and the mandates set forth by our clients. Most assignments have either a three or six month rotation which is in place in order to protect the anonymity of the shopper. Our system will prevent you from assigning yourself to an available shop if you do not meet the predetermined rotation requirement.

How much payment do I receive for performing an evaluation?
Different visits have varying payments. Payment may include cash, reimbursement, or both. Payment and/or reimbursement for a particular contract will be specified within the specific details of that contract and prior to your acceptance of that assignment.

Where do I send receipts and report confirmation information?
Receipts and report confirmation information must generally be uploaded directly to the online evaluation when submitting a report to our company. If you have received instructions from our staff to send this information by alternate means, it should be sent to (please follow the assignment instructions to determine which method is required for the shop in question):

Via Email (Scanned): accounts@imyst.com

Via Fax: (248) 282-0816 (accepted only if stated within assignment requirements)

Via Postal Mail (accepted only if stated within assignment requirements):
        Imyst, Inc.
        Attn: Receipts Department
        P.O. Box 7733
        Ann Arbor, MI 48107

I made errors on the evaluation form that I submitted. What should I do?
Shoppers are expected to verify their reports for accuracy in addition to checking for spelling or grammar errors.

Any corrections to reports must be sent via email to staff@imyst.com within 12 hours of submitting a report. Incomplete or incorrect reports may result in denial of payment for services rendered.

I sent my receipts/business cards (or other required documentation), but I forgot to print my report confirmation page after submitting my report or I forgot to send the confirmation page with my business card/receipt (or other required verification materials). What should I do?
Imyst generally requires all required materials to be uploaded directly into the online evaluation form that is submitted to our company.

For assignments where alternate means of sending materials to our company are specified, Imyst requires that you send in materials with a confirmation page to accounts@imyst.com within 24 hours of submitting your report. All attachments must be under 250KB each, and in either .jpg or .gif format, such that attachments that do not meet these requirements may not be accepted. Be sure to always include the correct confirmation page with all completed assignments, as assignments cannot be processed without this information. Mystery shoppers may also print out report confirmation pages for shops by visiting their "Account Information" page after logging in to our website and clicking on the shop's reference number (this only applies to shops with a payment status of "unpaid" or "pending").

The assignment that I will be conducting requires that I make a purchase. Are gift cards or coupons allowed to be used during these visits?
Some assignments require that a purchase be made during the visit to the location and have a specified reimbursement or payment amount based on actual expenses incurred at the location. If gift cards or certificates are allowed and are used as payment for expenses during a visit, please note that our company cannot reimburse any amounts paid for with a gift card or certificate since these are not considered incurred expenses.

Additionally, if a coupon or discount is allowed (either per the assignment instructions or with prior written approval from our company) and used during a visit, our company is unable to reimburse any amounts that are discounted since these will not be incurred expenses.

The assignment that I will be conducting requires that a tip is provided for service. Why is this necessary and how much am I required to tip?
Several assignments, such as restaurant or bar visits, doorman or attendant interactions, driver or valet interactions, or other visits where there is an interaction with a service provider, require that you provide a tip. If a tip is required for a particular assignment, it will be explicitly specified with the detailed instructions that are provided for that contract. Tip amounts are typically required to be a percentage of the purchase amount, and are to be calculated based on the after-tax purchase or total after-tax expense. If coupons or discounts are allowed and used, tips must be calculated on the amount that the total after-tax purchase/expense would have been without the application of the coupon or discount. Note that our company has requirements on tipping amounts to provide a standardized gratuity and promote objectivity without jeopardizing shopper anonymity.

Does Imyst provide grades or use a grading system, or otherwise provide feedback to shoppers regarding completed assignments and evaluations?
It is a requirement for all shoppers to follow instructions carefully and submit quality and detailed reports, even though our company does not make grades available to shoppers for completed assignments. However, we do use a payment deduction system to allow shoppers to see if they followed instructions carefully and adhered to all shop requirements. Our company also provides bonuses on a per assignment basis for shoppers that submit exceptional reports. If you notice a deduction or bonus on your account information page after logging into your account, you may first review your Account Information page for any listed reasons, then view our Payment Deduction Schedule, and finally email accounts@imyst.com to request further information regarding a particular shop (please be sure to include the assignment reference number with any requests).

For how long should mystery shoppers retain records (such as report, receipt, business card, or other copies of documentation) sent into Imyst after a shop visit has been completed?
Unless instructed otherwise, Imyst strongly recommends that mystery shoppers keep all assignment documentation for a minimum of 6 months after a shop has been completed and report submitted. Please note that as part of your Independent Contractor Agreement with Imyst, Inc., you MUST also be available at any time via both email and telephone should our company need to contact you regarding a current or previous assignment.

Questions About Payment

When will I receive payment for performing an evaluation?
Payment for services is generally sent within approximately 7-15 business days (generally no more than 3 weeks) if you are being sent payment via PayPal. Note that most assignments through our company are paid via PayPal only. Additionally, Imyst, Inc. strongly recommends that shoppers use PayPal to receive payments from our company because of quicker payment processing and because there are no merchant account fees incurred as all PayPal processing fees are prepaid by our company.

Upon advance approval, payment may also be issued via check within approximately 30-45 business days. Note that this is not the preferred method of payment as PayPal payments are processed much quicker (only 7-15 business days).

Note that the processing period for payments begins after Imyst receives your online report (and any required follow-up materials by email/upload if this is specified within the shop instructions) along with your invoice for payment. Note that your invoice for payment is automatically created and sent to Imyst once your report is submitted.

Factors that may delay payment (or result in payment deduction or denial) include failing to upload receipts or other required materials when submitting your online report, submitting incomplete or inaccurate reports, submitting overdue reports, or failing to respond to an email or phone call from our staff requesting additional information regarding one or more submitted reports. Another factor that may delay payment is final acceptance of a report by our client. You must send inquiries regarding payments on your account to accounts@imyst.com.

Do I have to send an invoice for payment after performing an evaluation?
When you submit an online evaluation to Imyst, you are also automatically creating and sending an invoice for payment to our company. The invoice created will have payment and reimbursement amounts (if applicable) entered per the amounts provided within your evaluation. As such, there is no need to send a separate invoice unless you have modifications.

When will I receive payment for a Paid Offer or Survey?
Surveys and Paid Offers through Imyst, Inc. require third party verification and as such are not subject to same 7-15 business day processing period as other assignments including mystery shops. Please note that all survey payments through our company require that a valid PayPal email address be supplied during participation.

An expected payment date for all surveys successfully completed with Imyst, Inc. and verified subject to the survey instructions, rules, and eligibility requirements will be stated within the survey instructions and Payment Details sections of the survey during participation. Please refer to this date if you have completed a survey through our company and have not yet received your PayPal payment. Payment for all Paid Offers will be remitted via PayPal to verified participants within approximately 30-60 business days of submission.

Please note that PayPal payments for online surveys cannot be reissued, as these require that a correct PayPal email address be entered during participation and are processed separately from mystery shopping assignments.

Why was I deducted payment for my last shop(s)?
There are several reasons that you may have been deducted payment for a mystery shopping assignment, including that you had insufficient commentary or spelling errors within your report, failed to follow instructions, submitted an overdue report, failed to upload required materials within your online report, failed to send in your confirmation information as required or sent them in late, or another reason. For a more complete list of reasons why you may have had payment deducted for an assignment, please view our payment deduction schedule (requires shopper login). Please be sure to check this page before contacting our accounts staff about a payment deduction.

I forgot to upload required materials within my online report (i.e. - a business card, receipt, or flyer), or I sent in required materials via postal mail and they got "lost", or my fax/email was not sent successfully. What do I do now?
It is the responsibility of the shopper to furnish the required confirmation information to our company as part of the assignment contract. This information is generally required to be uploaded when you submit your online report to our company. Note that the shopper will not receive payment until this is done. Depending on the shop you visited and the requirements that have been set forth with our client, you may be able to fax/email/mail another copy of your required verification materials. In general, the confirmation materials for an assignment must be uploaded as either a .jpg or .gif file within a report prior to its submission. However, a scanned and emailed copy sent to our Accounts Department within 12 hours of submitting your evaluation may be accepted with prior approval from our staff. It is recommended that you email our staff if you find yourself in this situation, as we are generally as accommodating as our client will allow.

Note, that we do have some specific clients that will only accept ORIGINAL receipts or documentation, as previous cases with fraud mandated stricter policies. If this is the case, it will be explicitly specified within the assignment instructions prior to acceptance of a contract.

I was sent payment via check for my assignment(s), but my payment check was "lost in the mail". Will you send me another check?
If a check is returned to us by the post office, we will resend it at no additional cost to the shopper. In this case, you will generally be contacted by our company for an updated mailing address.

Unfortunately, for any other case where a check is not returned directly to us, our company has very strict policies regarding this specific payment issue because of past cases of fraud. Therefore, to have an unreturned check reissued, we must issue a stop payment on a previous check for a fee of $32.00 (this is a bank charge and is incurred by the shopper) before we can reissue a check. Note that the shopper is responsible for updating their Imyst account information online and making sure that their mailing address is correct, such that any checks sent to the incorrect address will not be reissued under any circumstances. We find that postal mail is extremely reliable, as less than 0.02% of checks sent by our company have been claimed to be lost - usually checks are found shortly thereafter or have been previously cashed and the shopper forgot about depositing them. Also, Imyst recommends that shoppers receive payments via PayPal to avoid the hassle of checks.

Payment for my completed assignment(s) was sent to my PayPal address on file for my account, but I have since changed my PayPal email address. Will you reissue payment?
If payment is returned by PayPal as either "denied" or "unclaimed" (payment returns by PayPal usually take 30 days from the date payment was initially issued), you may contact our company about having payment reissued. Note that since our company pays the processing/transaction fees for payments sent for completing assignments, any payments that are resent after being denied or unclaimed will be assessed a $2.00 fee prior to being resent to cover the cost of transaction/processing fees incurred by our company to reissue payment. Note that payment reissue requests must be made within 6 months of completing an assignment, such that any reissue requests made after this timeframe are unable to be processed.

Unfortunately, if payment has already been successfully sent to the PayPal account indicated within your Imyst account information, then the funds have already been deposited and cannot be reissued to another account. Note that the shopper is responsible for updating their Imyst account information online and making sure that their PayPal email address is correct, such that any payments successfully sent cannot be reissued under any circumstances.

Please note that PayPal payments for paid online surveys cannot be reissued, as these require that a correct PayPal email address be entered during participation and are processed separately from mystery shopping assignments.

If I do not provide my social security number, employer identification number, or other tax ID number after completing a mystery shopping assignment, will I be paid?
Mystery shoppers are required to provide their social security number or tax identification number for tax reporting purposes, such that any shopper or contractor that has not completed an IRS W-9 Form and/or supplied their SSN, TIN, EIN, or SIN (for Canadian shoppers) will not receive payment unless this information is successfully received by our company within 45 days of completing an assignment. Our company sends email notifications to mystery shoppers that have successfully completed assignments or contracts if their tax reporting information is incomplete, invalid, or incorrect. However, it is the responsibility of the independent contractor to ensure that we have successfully received this information within 45 days of completing a contract, such that payment/compensation will not be remitted after this time period has elapsed.

Questions About Contacting Our Company

Who do I contact to ask questions or send comments to Imyst?
Please send any questions or comments to staff@imyst.com.

What are your business hours and am I able to contact you by phone?
Our business hours are 9AM to 5PM EST, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Additionally, we ask that shoppers contact our staff by email, unless the matter is urgent and pertains to a currently assigned shop. All other inquiries should be sent by email to staff@imyst.com.

Note that all payment related inquiries are handled only by email through our Accounts department. If you have a question or comment regarding payment, please email our Accounts department at accounts@imyst.com.

Is there a phone number listed so that shoppers may contact Imyst?
We request that all shoppers and prospective shoppers contact our staff by email. If you have any urgent questions regarding a currently assigned shop, a phone number is provided at the bottom of the submit reports page (requires shopper login) to contact our staff

Note that email is the requested method of contact for all matters that are not urgent, as it provides a written record of any conversations between our staff and our team of shoppers. This also allows us to cut down on staffing requirements, so that we may pay our shoppers more per assignment versus other companies.

Other Frequent Questions

When are shops for my area posted on the Imyst website?
Assignments for most states are posted for self-assignment during either the beginning of each month or during the middle of each month. However, availabilities and our specific posting schedule are dependent on our clients and how quickly shops are scheduled. Therefore, it is recommended that shoppers check the Imyst website for postings periodically. Shoppers will receive either email notifications or be contacted if shops remain unscheduled in their area, so please be sure to keep your contact information up to date by logging into your Imyst account and clicking on the "Change Personal Information" link.

Why don't I see any available shops when I check for assignments?
There may be several reasons that you are not seeing any available assignments, including the following: there are simply no assignments available in the locations you entered at this time since shops are often scheduled within hours of being posted on our website; your registration application may not yet have been approved if you registered less than three business days ago; you may not have a high enough shopper rating since some assignments are only available to our most experienced shoppers; you may not be eligible to complete a shop because you recently completed an assignment for a particular client; or, you may not meet eligibility and demographic requirements for certain shops.

What is a shopper rating and how might mine be affected?
Shopper ratings are an internal grading system used to determine the quality of our mystery shoppers; a rating measures reliability, experience level, report quality, and ability to follow instructions. A high rating will allow you to sign up for shops, depending on what the shop requirements are (this is determined by our clients). A low rating will prevent any shops from showing up when you search for available shops. Your rating is defined and increased by the quality of your writing sample in your registration application, the quality and timeliness of the reports that you have submitted, and your current level of shopper certification. Your rating may be decreased by submitting overdue shops, canceling assignments, not submitting reports at all, and by submitting poorly written reports (note that all submitted reports and shops completed are also subject to our payment deduction schedule - requires shopper login).

Although there is no limit as to how high or how low your rating may go, higher ratings generally receive preference when scheduling shops and/or receiving bonuses.

Will Imyst contact me by email when shops near me become available?
We email shoppers when shops remain unscheduled on our website. Therefore, you may not receive email notification if a shop is scheduled immediately after it is made available on our website. Furthermore, our highest rated shoppers generally receive preference and are sometimes emailed before other shoppers.

My shopper rating was recently lowered because I unassigned myself from a shop or was unassigned by Imyst, but the only reason I was unassigned was because my car broke down / I had a family emergency / I was hospitalized / had a death in the family / etc. What should I do to have my shopper rating restored so that I can see shops again?
Please send our staff a quick email explaining in detail why you were unable to complete this assignment as scheduled, and attach any proof of the incident. Our staff will review your case and notify you if your shopper rating was restored. Although Imyst will try to be as accommodating as possible, please note that a legally binding contract was signed and you failed to fulfill its requirements, such that Imyst will not be required to restore your shopper rating.

Does Imyst reimburse for gas or mileage?
It is not the policy of Imyst, Inc. to offer reimbursement for gas or mileage, or any other expenses unless specified within the detailed assignment instructions. Additionally, payment and/or reimbursement for an assignment will be specified prior to acceptance of that contract, and expenses at the actual location will only be reimbursed up to the specified reimbursement amount. Our company recommends that shoppers only accept assignments which are within a reasonable proximity to them to minimize out of pocket transportation costs.

Does Imyst pay referral fees if I get other people to become registered shoppers?
Although our company greatly appreciates any referrals, we do not pay referral fees for acquiring shoppers (unless you receive prior notice from our company and a shopper that you referred successfully completes a shop at one of the specified referral locations).

How do I deactivate my account as I am no longer able to do any mystery shopping or I am no longer interested?
You may deactivate your Imyst account at any time by sending an email request to staff@imyst.com or by clicking here. Once your request is received and processed, you will no longer receive emails from our company.

Why do I have trouble accessing the web site around 3 am EST?
On occasion, our company website may be unavailable for approximately 5-10 minutes between at 3-4 AM EST in the morning due to site maintenance.

I received a cashier's check in the mail asking me to perform certain tasks (i.e. - a wire transfer, etc.). Is this legitimate?
No, the mailer and the cashier's check are fraudulent.

The mailer that was sent to you contains fraudulent documents and is in no way affiliated with Imyst, Inc. or www.imyst.com. Please note that these documents, including cashier's check, were sent as part of an offshore scam in which you will lose personal funds. To ensure that your personal, sensitive information is not compromised in any way we suggest that you contact your local authorities and retain copies of all documents sent to you for your personal records.

I received an email soliciting me to become a mystery shopper from an "@gmail.com" / "@yahoo.com" / "@hotmail.com" email address or some other personal email address. Is this legitimate?
No, the email you received is fraudulent.

We only send emails via our company domain, such that any email that does not end in "@imyst.com" is not a legitimate email from Imyst, Inc. Please note that Imyst, Inc. is an independent market research company and as such we are not affiliated with any other market research/recruiting companies. Additionally, registering to become a shopper with our company does not cost anything. To become a shopper with our Imyst, please click here to access our application.

 
contact us | privacy & security | disclaimer | site map ©1999-2016 Imyst, Inc.