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Historical MSPA News Releases

 


Title   Fake Check Scams: Do Not be Fooled!
Date Published  05/24/2011
Author   MSPA Staff
Publication   MSPA Website


If someone claiming to represent the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) sends you a check and asks you to cash it, wire most of it to someone else, and report on your experience with the wire service....don't do it! It's a scam! Someone is doing that very thing and, in some cases, is providing a toll-free number for their scam targets to call...and they answer the phone as if it were really MSPA. It is not.


Fake check scammers have been around for many years, adopting identities that suit them, trying to appear legitimate. They may represent themselves as officials from a lottery, telling you to cash a check they send you and wire a portion back to them because the check mistakenly was for more than you supposedly won. They may respond to your ad to sell your car by sending you a check for more than your asking price, then contact you to ask you to wire the difference back to them so they can fly out to pick up the car. Fake check scammers have a thousand stories. Don't fall for them. Especially don't fall for a claim that MSPA wants you to cash a check and do some mystery shopping! We will NEVER send you a check and ask you to wire a portion back to us. Anyone who claims to be MSPA and asks you to do that is a fraud.

If you receive a check, regardless of who it is from, asking you to cash it and wire a portion to someone else, DON'T! Instead, immediately contact the organizations listed below.

Call police (they may not be able to do anything, but filing a police report can help if discover later if the scammers are caught)

File report with your state's Attorney General

File and report with www.phonebusters.com.

File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP or at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

If the package with the check came by U.S. mail, contact your local post office and ask for the Postal Inspector (be sure to take a copy of the stamped envelope and its contents).

A useful resource about avoiding mystery shopping scams and finding legitimate mystery shopping opportunities may be found on the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt151.shtm


 


Title   American Express Survey Reinforces Value of Mystery Shopping
Date Published 05/09/2011
Author   MSPA Staff
Publication   MSPA Website


The results of a survey released on May 3 by American Express clearly bode well for companies that conduct mystery shopping programs and act on them. The American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer quantifies the business benefits of good service and the penalties for poor service, providing more evidence in support of the value of implementing mystery shopping programs.


Good service is not just something Americans expect; it is something they are willing to pay for. American Express says seventy percent (70%) indicate they are willing to spend up to 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service, the survey showed.

According to the American Express study, Americans are placing more and more importance on the value of good customer service while, at the same time, they believe the quality of service is slipping. Moreover, says Jim Bush, Executive Vice President of American Express World Service, "Getting service right is more than just a nice to do; it's a must do. American consumers are willing to spend more with companies that provide outstanding service, and they will also tell, on average, twice as many people about bad service than they will about good service. Ultimately, great service can drive sales and customer loyalty."

A key finding from the American Express study reveals that 78% of customers have opted to cancel a transaction or did not complete an intended purchase because of a poor customer experience. Conversely, three in five Americans would try a new brand or company for a better services experience.

Members of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) are enthusiastic about the release of the American Express study because it demonstrates the requirement that businesses pay close attention to the level of service they deliver to their customers if they are to be successful. "We see the study as providing further support for the value of mystery shopping," says MSPA President Lynn Saladini of ath Power Consulting Corporation. "Mystery shopping enables businesses to measure the extent to which they are delivering on their brand promises through the customer experience and to identify and correct deficiencies. Using the statistics from the study, you can calculate that two otherwise identical businesses would have very different revenue pictures if one had excellent customer service and one did not. If the one lacking in excellent service was a $10 million dollar business, its identical competitor could have revenues of $10.93 million. That $930,000 revenue differential is a compelling argument for using mystery shopping to improve customer service."

About Mystery Shopping and the MSPA

Mystery shopping is a process in which pre-recruited and qualified consumers measure the extent to which a customer's interactions with a business mirror the experiences the business intends. The purposes of this customer experience measurement include evaluating customer service and the degree to which a company's brand promises are being executed in the customer environment.

With more than 300 member companies worldwide, the MSPA has a diverse membership, including marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms, training organizations, and other companies that specialize in providing mystery shopping services. Its goals are to establish professional standards and ethics for the industry, educate providers, clients and shoppers to improve quality of service, improve the image of the industry and promote the membership to other industry associations and prospective clients.

About the Subject Study

Details about the American Express study may be found at:

http://about.americanexpress.com/news/pr/2011/csbar.aspx

 


Title   Beware Scammers
Date Published 09/20/2010
Author   MSPA Staff
Publication   MSPA Website


Mystery shopping is a great opportunity to earn a few extra dollars or get a nice meal. It can be a super way to help improve customer service. But sometimes scammers try to take advantage of its allure to take your money! Don't let it happen to you!

Several scammers recently have used the MSPA name (and the names of many MSPA Member Companies) and give email address that LOOK LIKE but ARE NOT MSPA or member company email addresses (the addresses we have seen so far include: jobs4u@mysteryshop.org and job@mysteryshop.org. In other cases, the scammer claims to be our executive director and have even used his name. The scammer claims to represent MSPA or a member company and it looks almost legitimate, until you see that you are not responding to an MSPA or member company email address but, instead, an AOL address (the ones we've seen so far: mspassociations@aol.com and mspaassociation@aol.com) or a *.sify address or a *.gmail address or some other unrelated address. The scammers are trying to trap shoppers into letting their guards down by claiming the message and its writer are from a legitimate organization...but they ARE NOT! MSPA will NEVER send you checks to cash and will never promise you mystery shopping assignments!

Other scammers use the MSPA logo or member company logos on websites or in emails. They are trying to clothe themselves in legitimacy...don't buy it! If you receive an email invitation to become a mystery shopper for MSPA, don't believe it! We don't engage mystery shoppers, only our member companies do.

Always look at the email addresses and web addresses these scammers use...they are seldom the "real" addresses of a legitimate company. If a shopper has any question about whether an email is legitimate or not, check it out thoroughly before sharing your personal information and NEVER cash a check sent to you in advance of an assignment...that's a sure sign the deal is a scam.

About the MSPA

With more than 275 member companies worldwide, the MSPA has a diverse membership, including marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms, training organizations and companies that specialize in providing mystery shopping services. Its goals are to establish professional standards and ethics for the industry, educate providers, clients and shoppers to improve quality of service, improve the image of the industry and promote the membership to other industry associations and prospective clients.

 



 
 
     
 
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