NEWS26 March 2007

‘Deceptive’ mystery shopping operation faces FTC charges

Mystery Shop Link accused of taking consumers’ money with the promise of non-existent jobs

A US firm is facing Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges for deceiving consumers into paying $99.95 in the hope of lucrative work as mystery shoppers.

The FTC alleges that Mystery Shop Link charged consumers the fee, for which they believed they would be trained, certified, and given access to enough mystery shopping jobs to ensure them “a steady part-time or full-time income”.

Instead they received a worthless certificate and access to recycled job postings that they could have found for free elsewhere – with no advantage over any other applicant.

The FTC said the operation deceived consumers by giving the impression that it was hiring mystery shoppers itself, that a specific number of jobs were available, that there was a shortage of mystery shoppers, and that people were likely to earn a substantial income.

Today the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) voiced its support for the FTC’s action. The association said: “Mystery Shop Link is not and has never been affiliated with the MSPA, and the MSPA does not support the practices of which the company has been accused.

“The MSPA has cooperated with the FTC in its investigation of Mystery Shop Link and encourages the FTC to continue investigating all mystery shopping-related scams.”

Author: Robert Bain

Related links:

MSPA alerts consumers to mystery shopping scam