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 Feedback: NSS (National Shopping Service in CA)
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Paula H.
Valued Contributor

Pasadena, CA
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2007 :  3:57:40 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
This is the only company (other than Hilli-D) that frustrates me no end. It took 4 e-mails to 2 different people to get a reimbursement for a required food purchase. Now, I'm being penalized for not completing a shop that I did complete and am being removed. The shop had one problem and I first spoke to a man at NSS about it & did what he told me to do, then reviewed the problem with another person via e-mail, telling her what I did. She noted that everything looked ok. Now, they act as though none of that happened. Their pay is very low. It's also a nuisance to have to call to find out what the shops are really about and what they pay. I do not like being dropped, as I know I did everything properly. However, it's not going to be a big loss. The ridiculous, unnecessary repeating what I've already done is a total waste of my time and effort. So there! I've vented!

Gold Certified shopper
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Rita Collins
Star Contributor

Michiana, MI
USA
518 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2007 :  4:48:02 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've decided to stop shopping them for a while. I was concerned when the last check I received from them was dated the beginning of December, postmarked the end of December, and received the second week of January. That smells like money problems - not let's blame it on the holidays.

I do still like the company; I just don't think they are financially sound right now. I love the Chinese restaurant shop and the pizza delivery shop.

Rita Collins
Shopping Michiana
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ChrisT
Star Contributor

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2007 :  7:30:42 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It's funny...they had a certain type of shop that started out at $10 that other places will pay 20-40 for depending on the kind of detail needed. I don't do this type of shop for 20 why would I do it for half? The next week it had a bonus of 7, then a bigger bonus a few days later.

This is one company you should wait for a bonus if any comes through. Their regular pay is on par with CORI :P

ChrisT
Deliriously Happy Shopping Uncertifiable
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BrianCollins
Valued Contributor

USA
243 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2007 :  11:43:47 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've done okay with them. They gave me some decent $15 shops right off the bat and I did some $7 shops that had bonuses of $7-25.

Sometimes they expect a tight schedule but I usually try to file my reports promptly anyway.

I've had assignments where the instructions appeared to be patched together from different shops. One form in particular was very messy, but I just did the best I could and it went through okay.
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Bob Engleman
Star Contributor

Dayton, OH
USA
361 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  12:05:58 PM  Visit Bob Engleman's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've completed 1 shop for this company, and it was paid as agreed. There have been several others I applied for, but, the rate at which I stipulated wasn't acceptable to the scheduler; that's business.

Bob Engleman

Bob
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2007 :  03:44:00 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
What is with their scheduling set up? This is the most inefficient way to schedule. This is what happened with a recent job request:

1. I had to log-on and search for jobs
2. I selected and requested my prospects
3. A scheduler sends an e-mail telling me to call her
4. I made the call and get put on hold for 8 minutes, only to have the scheduler return and say the shop is gone.
5. Two days later, I receive another e-mail for the same shop and asking me to call them...since it is open.
6. I deleted the e-mail and did not call!

Are you kidding me? How is this an effective system? If I selected the shop as a prospect, just assign it to me. Don't make me call you...too much time is wasted with these guys. On top of that, the pay is low or non-existent.

Anyone have suggestions on working with these guys?

MSPA Gold
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BrianCollins
Valued Contributor

USA
243 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2007 :  07:42:32 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KellyH
Anyone have suggestions on working with these guys?
Yes! Here is what I do:

1. Check their job board at the top of the month when fresh assignments are posted. Sort through the list and put anything matching your preferred criteria in your "prospects".
2. Don't even bother with email -- call 800-800-2704 and ask to speak to someone who handles each of the accounts for your "prospects".
3. Ask if they can assign you some shops in your area. They will get your shopper ID, locations, etc., and start trying to match you with available assignments. They will be picky and ask you what date/time you will do the assignment. Have your calendar in front of you and only make realistic commitments.
4. Ask how much a job pays if you don't know. They will also describe what is involved and you can gauge how labor intensive it is. If a job is below your work-for-pay standards, simply pass on it or say that you have other commitments.
5. I'm a part-timer and I've been assigned more than half a dozen shops during a single call. If you are full-time, you could probably get a big chunk of the available assignments all at once.
6. Do your scheduled shops but don't bother to check the job board until the end of the month.
7. At the end of the month, come back to see which assignments didn't get done. Call them up again and ask for someone with that account's team. Ask if they need any help with shops that are near deadline. By this point things will be bonused and you can negotiate somewhat freely.
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DeborahW
Star Contributor

Bellevue, WA
USA
779 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2007 :  07:57:36 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a bunch of shops for them a while back, I think it was in December or maybe November. The shops were lower paying than I normally take, but they were super-easy and I was able to do 10 in just a couple of hours because they were within a few miles of each other. I was paid on time and thought the shops were actually kinda fun. I was able to self-assign these directly from their website.

MSPA Gold Certified
Specializing in hotel, restaurant and bar shops in Seattle and the Eastside since 2004
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TerryInTulsa
Star Contributor

Tulsa, OK
USA
349 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2007 :  10:13:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Calling the schedulers as soon as a shop you are interested in shows up on the prospect list is the best (and easiest) way to get assignments.
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Kris R.
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2007 :  11:35:28 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks to Terry & Brian for the advise to call the scheduler to get these shops.

I have been trying to work with this site, and it has been driving me nuts! I did get one assignment and complete it and all went well and was easy, but I hate it that they don't post exact dates or $$ pay amounts on the jobs. It is frustrating because I am frequently trying to plan out of town trips and need to see if a date will coincide with another shop I have or am trying to get.
So now I know to call.

MSPA Silver Certified
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2007 :  08:13:07 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have never had any problem with those guys. Their forms are easy to fill out, with very little narrative. And while it's a hassle to have to call the schedulers, once you get a hold of someone, they try to work with you the best they can. Some of their jobs pay really really low, but if you get a bunch of them the same day, it makes it worth your time!

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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Virginia CA
Member

CA
USA
17 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2007 :  09:02:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a shop with them reccently and had an issue with the shop. I wrote them an email 2 days ago and havent heard back from their help desk. I also called them the night of the shop and explained the situation and they didnt really shed much light to the situation, but just sided with me. We will see how this goes.

shopping Riverside, CA & surrounding areas.
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SaraB
Contributor

USA
66 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2007 :  11:54:38 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I get this message from my scheduler today:

"Please note that the $5 bonus listed on this posting was a typo. We are not offering bonuses on these shops at this time."

"Typo"...I'll remember that excuse the next time I'm negotiating my salary. It pretty much sums up this company.
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Betsy E
Valued Contributor

Birmingham, AL
USA
170 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2007 :  12:47:18 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Brian's post is perfect. Follow his instructions to a "T" and you'll be set. It is nice in a way to schedule on the phone because it can put you ahead of others. Monthly calling and reliable reports will get you far.

If only their pay was better...
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Bri-in-CA
Valued Contributor

Ukiah, CA
USA
224 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2007 :  3:18:10 PM  Visit Bri-in-CA's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
They have food shop my dh & I like. The only thing is, they just pay reimbursement. When another ms company had them as a client, there was shopper's pay & reimbursment(much nicer).

Also, from what I can tell, all their shops are paid the same amount. The fee might be ok if you're just starting out & want to get some experience. But, I've been doing this for three years, my dh has been shopping for six years & has a silver certificate. Now that we have a merchandising route, we normally won't take anything that pays less than that does.

Silver certified & shopping Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino & Lake counties
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LisaTX
Valued Contributor

Plano, TX
USA
239 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2007 :  06:21:47 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I encountered a problem with NSS and was wondering if anyone was in the same boat as me. I was told to perform a salon shop for them and spent good $$$ on a haircut. Almost as soon as I returned from the salon, I received an e-mail message from NSS saying they meant to have me do a product shop instead of the salon shop. I spoke to them on the phone and they tried to weasel out of the salon shop but I had e-mail proof of their mistake. I was then told that they'd add the price of the haircut as a bonus onto the product shop if I'd go ahead and do it for them. I had my doubts and I've had bad experience with this company re: their "bonus" track record. I was assured there would be no problem.

Long story short - of course, I received my reimbursement check and there was no bonus. Sooo - I performed the salon shop and am stuck paying for the salon service myself. I spoke to NSS on the phone about the problem and have sent 2 e-mail messages to them that have gone unanswered.

In the meantime, they've sent me messages to "please respond" to a request to perform another shop. Gee - I'll respond to their e-mail message as soon as they respond to mine. -- and I'd appreciate the promised reimbursement/bonus for the salon shop. Wonder if it would do any good to complain to the MSPA about the problems with this company's "bonuses?"

Lisa
MSPA Gold Certified and happily shopping in North Texas
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RCaldrello
Member

Connecticut
USA
32 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2007 :  09:52:20 AM  Send RCaldrello an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a couple last minute shops for them, which they said were bonused- of course there is no bonus in my check or recorded in my payroll history. I don't have any open assignments with them now, but does anyone know if you have an open assignment that was supposed to be bonused if you can see anywhere the bonus in the system before you perform the shop? When they add it to your schedule shouldn't the bonus show up as well? Next time I think I'll make sure I check before performing the shop.

Ruth
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2007 :  11:32:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I had to call them 3 times for a $25 bonus once. By the third call, they told me that the bonus would not show up until much later. I had done the shop at the very end of the month, and the bonus took over one month to show up on my payroll summary. It kinda felt like if I had not noticed, nothing would have been done... That was the only "problem" I ever had with them ( and then again, it never got to the " problem " point as I did get paid as agreed).
Anyhow, call them, and again, and again... They don't respond to e-mail very well...

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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.MaryS
Inactive

CA
USA
10 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2007 :  9:33:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Lisa,
Don't give up on that bonus. Continue to call and try to speak to your scheduler or at least the same person. Also, I think you should document your calls. Don't lose your cool. Be really nice...
tell them you need their help to resolve the matter. This has happened to me before in my 4yrs of MSing and it works. Just hang in there. Once you get your bonus, depending on how they handle it, then decide if you want to continue with them. Good luck.

MaryS
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6556 Posts

Posted - 04/15/2007 :  06:38:25 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
The only shops I end up doing for them are bonused shops. I have always been paid the bonus. Sometimes these bonuses are pretty high. So, I always save the original email from the scheduler, as I do with all shops I take through any scheduler, until I am paid. See if you have the email somewhere and contact that scheduler. They are good about helping out.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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