Is ShadowShopper a scam or is it a legit mystery shopping company?….
ShadowShopper.com is a kind of work at home job site that I am sure many of you have heard of if you have been trying to make extra money as a secret shopper. But, unlike most legit mystery shopping companies, Shadow Shopper charges you $4.95 for registration. Although, it should be noted that the $4.95 you pay entitles you to become a gold member, which means you can actually sign up for free with them if you want to be a gold member.
Try Swagbucks, the famous rewards program that pays you for watching videos, taking surveys, shopping and more.
From my quick review of Shadow Shopper, I understand that the difference between the 2 levels is that as a gold member you get notified of any available shadow shopper jobs first and you will be able to apply for that assignment right away.
Yes, you guessed it right, Shadow Shopper isn’t itself a mystery shopping service provider, it is basically a middle man company that finds you any available mystery shopping assignments, making it easier for you to become a secret shopper.
Mystery shopping is an innovative way that companies use to hire ordinary people to buy products or services on their behalf. Mystery shopping companies hire you to visit a store to evaluate how the staffs treat shoppers, or how the shop appears. After the visit, you would be required to fill out a card highlighting what you observed. Any purchases made are refunded at an additional fee. (Read more about mystery shopping here)
The data gathered from secret shoppers participating in these studies will be used by the companies to improve their performance and offer better service to their customers. At the same time, mystery shopping is a wonderful opportunity for you to earn a little money while doing what you love – shopping!
Shadow Shopper rip off?
As I mentioned above, Shadow shopper charges a fee to potential mystery shoppers to give them access to their list of companies that offer real secret shopper jobs.
ShadowShopper.com is similar to several other websites that specialize in offering survey opportunities at a fee. These websites are often viewed as or confused with scams because the information they compile for you is in the public domain, so should not cost anything.
I have a hard time lumping these websites in the same heap as scams, because they do offer a genuine service and when you analyze this issue further, you will realize that other products use the same model to sell – newspapers or books charge us for information that we can get for free, if only we knew where to look!
If you have to only sign up for one paid survey site to make money with, I recommend Ipsos-iSay. Ipsos is the most fun and well-paying panel. Give it a try to see how you like it. It is free anyway!
It is also important to note that Shadow Shopper does appear in the Better Business Bureau listings. Though, it is not a BBB accredited business. And it has a total of 131 complaints (closed and open).
The main problem I see with ShadowShopper.com and other suchlike websites is the misleading information they give about exactly how much money you can earn from using their service and how easy it is for you to get started. When using this website, be particularly keen about their terms of service.
This is because they do offer you free membership, but the truth is that they give you a free trial period of seven days. After this period expires, they will begin to charge you and process your membership.
It would be prudent to therefore cancel your membership before the trial period expires. Do not expect to receive any refunds after the free trial period expires. In their defense, this is a tactic used by most websites that offer free trial periods, so buyers beware!
I did some research, and sadly, I did find a few complaints from Shadow Shopper customers. The majority of the complaints had to do with credit cards used to register as a gold member. In a few different cases, they had charged customer’s credit card without their approval.
Avoid Shadow Shopper
In as much as it is not against the law to offer free information at a fee, I would recommend that persons interested in mystery shopping avoid this website and others like it. There are legitimate mystery-shopping opportunities out there, so be patient and try to avoid mystery shopping scams.
You will be surprised how many people are actually looking for mystery shoppers without having to go through the trouble of dealing with the middlemen websites.
So, personally I would stay away from Shadow Shopper. But how would you find legit secret shopping jobs?… Easy, check out my free list of over 100 legitimate mystery shopping companies that are all free to register with, here.
What to do if you have been scammed by ShadowShopper or any Mystery Shopper scam?
If you have been victimized and scammed by ShadowShopper.com or any other company for that matter, be sure to report it to the FTC, so they can stop it. You can file a complaint with The Federal Trade Commission or your state Attorney General.
And if you want to contact the company directly, here is their contact info (although, I wouldn’t think you would get much results this way, but nonetheless, it’s worth a shot):
ShadowShopper Contact Info:
- Customer Service Number: (832) 443-4760
1894 E. William Street, Suite 4-215
Carson City, NV 80701-3202
Having said all of that, I have also seen a few positive reviews about ShadowShopper as well. But you know about online reviews, you never know which is real and which is made up. So, make sure you read and understand the fine prints and watch out for the expiry period if you do decide to use any mystery shopping site like Shadow Shopper.