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 Shops you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole?
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Harvey S.
Star Contributor

Glen Mills, PA
USA
439 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2009 :  4:23:26 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The $4 gas stations are just not worth it. I wait for them to go up to $10 if they are very convenient. Otherwise, the amount of work involved and the time it takes to resize photos and answer all the questions makes this one a real pain. However, I will admit that it did get easier with time, and after I learned my lesson with the first few I accepted at $4, I have been much happier. Anyone who snags them at $4 can have them.

Harvey
Southeastern Pennsylvania Northern Delaware,"South" Jersey
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LisaSTL
Star Contributor

St. Louis, MO
USA
733 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2009 :  5:01:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
When I first started doing shops that required photos I hated the time I spent resizing them. I had never had a digital camera and couldn't decide if it was worth the investment. I decided to buy one last July after I'd signed up for enough of the gas station audits to pay for it and leave me a tidy profit. Eventually I learned I didn't have to take the photos at 8 megapixels and resize after the fact. I now take them at 1 or 2 and do all my labeling from the thumbnails. It cut my reporting time by over 50%.

Lisa
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SherryDG
Star Contributor

Chicago Burbs, IL
USA
366 Posts

Posted - 04/04/2009 :  10:43:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Golf!!

I don't wanna make a call about it and I don't want to do it!!

SherryDG
MSPA Silver
Happily shopping the Chicagoland area
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Joyce1947
Valued Contributor

Bourne, MA
USA
221 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2009 :  05:04:05 AM  Send Joyce1947 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SherryDG

Bank shops!!

They are too much like work.

I wouldn't mind or would at least consider some that my daughter did where she simply had to go in and more or less check supplies...nope, I lied...still don't like banks



I LOVE bank shops. I love getting paid to make a deposit and report on the teller. For me, it's one of the fastest and easiest shops I do. I do them for three companies; the pay is all over the board, but the reports are a breeze!

On the other hand, those cell service shops that pay $9 and you need both a photo of the location AND a business card or literature from the sales rep. Talk about overkill; do you know how hard it is to get a photo of a kiosk in the Mall without being made? I won't even get in to the report.....

Joyce
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Ellinbeth
Valued Contributor

USA
129 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2009 :  06:48:29 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My no-nos are:

Tanning salons----not going to sacrifice my skin! I know you can get a spray painted tan, but the thought of standing semi-nude while getting squirted with paint is not appealing!

Veterinary visits---way too traumatizing for my 16 yo cat to be brought into the vet!

And----I guess I need to brag about my husband. I asked him if he wanted to do an adult bookstore shop and he replied, "No way---those places are way too seedy!"

Ellinbeth
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MsJudi
Star Contributor

New Jersey
USA
582 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2009 :  11:05:10 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a veterinarian shop with the dog my son brought home from SC and needed a check up. Well, when I had a dog (and it was only about 5 years ago) I never remember paying over $300 for his check up and shots visit. That shop ended up costing me over $200. I think I'll return to my old vet when she needs to go back. Those shots really add up at the place that's being shopped!!

Another one...No matter how desparate I am for money..EVER...I will never do the Swedish furniture store again. What was I thinking? I did it yesterday and, no lie, I was in the store for 4 1/2 hours. No one mentioned that the pick-up place was across the parking lot in another building and I had to drive there. OMG, thank heavens I purchased something small or I would have had to put the top down on my convertible to bring it back to the return place. I used to go out one door with the cart and right back in another to do the return. I obviously haven't done one of these in a few years, and read that the report was so much more concise, SO, I gave it another try. I consider myself to be an experienced MSer, and to do this shop and honestly cover all requirements, it took that long. PLUS, the store is being remodeled and the travel path was all screwy. I found myself walking around in circles. The lines were long, 20 minutes in some cases. NEVER..EVER again. And then there was the report..which had to be entered in 12 hours. HO HO HO. I feel relieved that it is over and submitted. The pay probably ended up being about $5 an hour. I refuse to believe that anyone can do this shop, as required, in the times I've read elsewhere. I find it interesting that these shops are done on a regular basis and they get shoppers to do them. I can also see many shoppers leaving in the middle of the shop after they see what is involved. So not worth it. But hey, I killed a crummy afternoon, AND EVENING

It was like childbirth..you forget what it's like and do it again. NOTE TO SELF..don't do this one again EVER!! I could have done 8 of the simple cell phone shops and come out ahead. I don't mind them at all, and I've never had a problem with the photos.

Judi
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MitchK
Member

Illinois
USA
25 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2009 :  7:30:58 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't think I'll ever do an income tax preparation shop again! I thought it would be a breeze. I have a simple return (one W-2 from a full-time job and one 1099-MISC from mystery shopping). Single. I don't even itemize!

The tax preparer had almost no training. Turns out the company is only interested in issuing refund anticipation loans and prepares returns as a means to that end. When I handed her a 1099-INT for bank interest, she said she had never seen that form before and wanted know whether it had something to do with childcare! I gave her my 1099-MISC (another form she had never seen ) and she proceeded to enter the name of the MS company as MY business name, and their tax ID number as MY tax ID number!

It ended up taking over two hours. I had to walk her through her own software line-by-line, and she still miscalculated my refund. I now need to file a 1040X (another form I'm sure she's never seen) on my own to make things right with the IRS! She apologized at the end, saying she had never seen a return “so complicated”.
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Quinn
Star Contributor

Atlanta, GA
USA
50245 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2009 :  7:47:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
That is extremely funny, but I feel for you because of the exasperation you must have felt. Sounds like they give these folks some real "extensive training".
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Dar-L
Star Contributor

USA
1031 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2009 :  8:04:49 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a verification audit on one of those locations in a WallyMart once, and could not help overhearing the goings-on while I waited. Thought I was going to bust my gut trying not to laugh!!! I think like Mitch, that they qualify/train their "tax pros" only in filling out the refund anticipation loan forms.
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2009 :  05:49:02 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I once applied for a job to answer phones at H & R block and they tried to talk me into doing taxes for people. I had no tax training, I've never even done my own. I took Math 101 in college three times. I wouldn't trust me with something as serious as taxes (however I did work as a bookkeeper part time for nine years, but this whole thing was before the bookkeeping gig) and they almost wouldn't take no for an answer.
It scared me because I had them do my taxes for years and I just assumed the people were trained or this was like their lifelong dream or something.
But no, it seems they will hire anyone off the street - including me!!
Now I do go to a H & R person, but she's been doing my taxes for years and she does mostly businesses - plus she's done the mystery shopping so she understands.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3045 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2009 :  08:41:20 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I wonder if H&R Block training varies by location. I looked into it once in IL and the place where I inquired told me they require a training course that is pretty extensive (I don't remember now how many hours, but I didn't have the time with a real job). And before you can take the course you have to take an aptitude test to see if it is worth their time to try to train you. Once trained you can pretty much set your own hours within the guidelines of their office--weekends, evenings, etc. But you have to take update courses every year in order to continue to work for them. I think the cost of taking the course was around $200 and they did say one way to increase the chances of being eligible to train was to work for them answering phones so you could see the operation and therefore have a little more knowledge before taking the aptitude test.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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TinaMarie
Star Contributor

USA
1811 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2009 :  10:36:41 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I agree that HRB have higher standards than the others tax chains. My friend was a college graduate and he had to pay for their training course, approx. $300 and passed a test, before he could work for HRB.

~*~TinaMarie~*~
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2009 :  4:23:05 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The H & R thing was several years ago - about 18 I think, so maybe it has changed - in fact I wonder since they deal with such sensative matters if they have to do some traing or something - I mean they do get ahold of our ss number and stuff like that.

Would be interesting to know.
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CariTX
Valued Contributor

Plano, TX
USA
201 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2009 :  07:00:28 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't know if I really want to admit this, but I worked for H&R Block several years ago . I worked one tax season as a customer service representative (front desk answering phones, setting appointments, managing walk-in client flow) and was not allowed to any kind of tax-related work. I was encouraged to apply for their tax training the following season, which I did. I forget how much it cost, but it was over 50 hours of training in all aspects of tax preparation. Then if you pass the final exam you can apply to work for them. You don't have to go to work for them to take the training; many people in my class just wanted the information. I worked one season as a tax preparer. The reason I didn't continue is that I got a full-time job and didn't have the time/energy to do the continuing ed or work part time the next season. You are required to take continuing ed classes to continue from season to season.

LisaOV, that's weird that you were asked to tax stuff without training. I know that HRB has both corporate and franchise offices; the franchises are a separate part of the company, so maybe that's where you were?

MSPA GOLD Certified gdhls4. Happily shopping and merchandising in North Texas
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CaudellDe
Contributor

Springville, IN
USA
97 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2009 :  3:30:58 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
MitchK,
I couldn't agree more! At first I signed up for one of those instant refund tax shops because of the pay but thought better of it for a variety of reasons. First of all, in the initial call to explain and verify the shop, the scheduler told me I only had to APPLY for the loan, not accept it on those terms. Secondly, I started reading about others' experiences with this shop and how incompetent the tax preparers were and how long a person might have to wait. Thirdly, Our taxes are somewhat complicated and I take great care when doing them with tax computer software to check and double check that they are correct before filing. (I often sleep on it first to make sure I have remembered every receipt, etc..) I really didn't relish the thought of maybe having to file an amended return. And finally, obviously to get the loan, one's credit has to be checked and every credit check (particularly for loan purposes) has the potential to affect one's credit score. Having just co-signed a loan with one son and getting ready to co-sign with another son, I just did not believe it was in my best interest to check my credit history for three loans within a three month period. I have mentioned this before on a bank shop thread I believe, but one's credit score even affects the auto and home/property insurance rates one pays. I have called and spoken with the company that insures both of these for us and they assure me this is indeed true, at least for the insurance company I use. Not wishing to risk raising my premiums as well as the other aforementioned concerns, I canceled the shop well before the due date and thankfully am still working for this company.
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Heather C.
Valued Contributor

Montreal
Canada
196 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2009 :  5:22:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LisaOV

But no, it seems they will hire anyone off the street


I'm totally convinced they hire any bobo off the street. Back when I was in college I got H&R to do my taxes. At the time I was still living with my parents, had one part-time job, and no student loans. My tax form was very simple and I thought there's no way they can screw up my taxes...WRONG! I ended up getting audited and owing the government $200 which was a lot of money for me back then. Needless to say, that was the first and last time I ever used H&R's services. I wish I could have mystery shopped them back then...


Heather
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AmyK
Star Contributor

Marin County, CA
USA
426 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2009 :  8:08:36 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I do full time sales and work for full commission. There is not a chance I would entrust my taxes to an unknown. The money was tempting but I've been through one audit too many to risk doing them as a shop.

OTOH, I loved being able to do the veterinarian shop and I hope to grab it the next time it comes around. It was a life saver. I didn't have the money for a vet visit and my new puppy really needed one. I received outstanding service and it was a win-win for everybody. Except, I have not received my check (it's 3 weeks overdue), but so far the company seems responsive to my inquiry.

Amy
Gold in SF Bay Area
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David Richard
Valued Contributor

Providence, Rhode Island
USA
207 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2009 :  8:14:36 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
After reading this thread, I'm glad that I choose not to do a tax return shop.

Happily shopping
Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts.
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MattMS
Star Contributor

Genoa, Illinois
USA
360 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2009 :  12:07:51 PM  Send MattMS an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I wanted to comment that I did a tax shop at H&R Block 2 years ago, my second mystery shopping. I had mostly prepared my taxes before going in, and thought I knew how much I would get. I actually got an extra $400 from 2 deductions I did not know I could take. These were legit, I looked them up online later, and I have yet to be audited. (I think they have 3 years though, technically). I was quite happy with the experience, and made over $600 when you consider the fee, the cost of the preparation, and the extra money found for me!

Matthew - shopping North Central & North West Illinois
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Stef The Kicking Cuty
Apprentice

Landisburg, PA
USA
4 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2009 :  4:42:21 PM  Visit Stef The Kicking Cuty's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I never did a tax shop, but that reminds me of something I saw on Cafepress the other day:

Don't mess with taxes!

Thought that was really funny!

Stef G
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