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MelissaBo
Member

Beatrice, Nebraska
USA
21 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  12:30:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did two jobs for them in the same month. I got paid last week for one of them. I have another job outstanding also, that I did the month after those two, and who KNOWS when I'll ever see payment for that. While I am relieved to see SOME of my money finally, I really won't be HAPPY until they pay me EVERYTHING they owe me. I really don't think that's too much to ask.

I will not shop for Freeman Group again, as their actions reek of a company that is going bankrupt. I don't care if they've been in business for 27 years. That means nothing if there is poor management NOW, as is obviously the case. These jobs required so much of MY OWN money upfront and that makes it so much more infuriating to me to not get paid on time/at all. Its just not acceptable.

As for the scheduling company working for them now, I'd probably be pretty reluctant to accept any jobs from them either, just because they are willing to associate with Freeman Group. How can the scheduling company guarantee that their shoppers are going to get paid on time? The only way for that to happen is for shoppers that take work with the scheduling company to get paid before the shoppers that are owed money from months and months ago. Lovely.


Melissa
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PrivateEyeLysa
Member

Middlebury, CT
USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  3:04:53 PM  Visit PrivateEyeLysa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Melissa,
I would appreciate it if you would not take my words out of context. My reference to the Freeman Group being around for 27 years was not to justify anything about the pay issues. It was clearly mentioned in my explanation of how many months we had been scheduling for them vs. how long they have had payments issues. I will try to explain this one last time... You received the pay recently remitted to you because I personally sent that request to them after doing some research. Many others have been sent their pay because we have tried very hard to push it to become a priority to the Freeman Group.
I really do understand your frustrations. I think it to be very unfair to the shoppers, not to mention extremely detrimental to the company's reputation. I have expressed this to them as a voice for shoppers, and I have tried stay involved in order to mediate (at the risk of my own reputation). We have done our best to help, and it is because of our help that there have been results faster than there would have been without us. The reality is that they are having difficulty catching up because their client is behind. Knowing this, the bottom line decision would be... We can schedule for them as we are able and continue to be a driving force in helping shoppers get paid up, or, another scheduler or company can come into the picture instead, not care at all about this issue (as was done previously). I thought I was helping, and believe me, I've gotten grief over my involvement with them. Yet, I stayed to help more. Not because anyone asked me, but because I thought we could make a difference. From a business and moral standpoint, I think it best for all involved if someone that cares about this is in the picture, but, as mentioned in my previous post, if shoppers would rather Private Eyes bow out, so another entity can take over these shops and not care what happens to the shoppers, then that might just have to happen. Private Eyes has been here to help many and HAS made a significant difference. I see the numbers.
You are shooting down the best chance for resolution.

L.Sampson
Private Eyes Scheduling
www.privateeyesonline.net
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Jeff406
Contributor

Venice, FL
USA
76 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  5:37:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Lysa, are you getting paid as agreed?

Jeff Crozier
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper pi1jhd
Co-Owner VIDEO SHOPPING PROS
Shopping Nationwide Full Time/Video shopping road warrior.
Nevada work permit
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JeannieGA
Valued Contributor

Alpharetta, GA
USA
216 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2012 :  7:11:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Lysa,

You are correct that I am not in the database and have never done a shop from this company. As a mystery shoppper for over 15 years I am speaking based on my experience of all the other mystery shopping companies that went out of business. The same scenario is being repeated here. I can't even begin to name the companies that went out of business owing shoppers money. What ends up happening is almost like a Ponzi scheme. The company pays until it runs out of money and it finally has to close shopping leave many unpaid shoppers.

Also why should shoppers even need to send emails to request their money. We do our shops and should be paid without contacting the company or the scheduling company. By working with Freeman you are helping them to remain in business. The best course of action for all shoppers would be for the Hotel customer to switch to another mystery shopping company who pays their shoppers in a timely manner and without the shoppers having to send multiple emails. There are enough legitimate companies who pay in a timely manner. The problem is that losing $10 from a fast food shop is not that significant but not being paid $100 or more for a hotel shop is a significant loss because of the real money already paid by the shopper.

So I have never accepted a shop because of this.

Jeannie in GA
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Cary in Cincy
Star Contributor

Cincinnati, OH
USA
250 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2012 :  05:52:05 AM  Send Cary in Cincy an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just took a shop for next month as I am going on Vacation and one of the shops is where I want to stay. I can wait for the money because I believe at some point I would be paid. I would lose the hotel money anyways, so the shop may get me some of it back.

I do wish that all the shoppers that slammed them for non payment would take the time to say if they got paid. It's only fair. Everyone will still know it took forever but it gives the slightest amount of confidence in this company which we all want to happen.

Cary
Mystery shopping and Merchandising in Ohio, KY, IN, WV, and More....
Video Certified with Own Camera
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6492 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2012 :  08:00:28 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
It would be best for someone from Freeman come here to post and answer the shopper concerns. I did not see anyone ask for an advocate nor should anyone need to, although it is commendable that you are doing so. The work was completed and payment should be rendered as promised and expected.

I do not understand why Freeman cannot do the same as other companies with their hotel client. Simply reverse the charges on the credit card bill so these shoppers are not waiting so long for their own money to be returned to them. I do not understand how the client can be behind sending money back to people who have already given them money.

Whether a person has completed jobs for them, owed money at this time or not has nothing to do with posting or having an issue and showing concern for our fellow shoppers. We are a community and watch out for each other.

I personally have friends who work for them and do not mind waiting for the money, others have been told untruths about payment times and they are no longer so willing.

It is a shame that a company (Freeman Group) that has been in business this long is losing their reputation with so many shoppers. It makes no difference to a shopper how great they get along with whatever scheduling company they choose to use and how many fluffy words are posted here. It matters to them they get their money and can pay their bills.

Edited to add:
Jeff asked a good question.
Are you as the scheduling company getting paid as agreed?

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

Challis, ID
USA
8 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2012 :  6:06:36 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did four hotel shops in May 2011 and have been paid for one.

I have written with no response but still expect to be paid at some point.

THANK YOU Lysa for your help with getting shoppers paid.

Sue
Gold shopper x3cfja
shopping ID-UT-WY and more
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JeannieGA
Valued Contributor

Alpharetta, GA
USA
216 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2012 :  08:23:47 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sue so how much money do they owe you? It is over a year later and you still expect to be paid? Are you still doing shops for them.

For those interested do a search of the following company and read the thread about this company and how it went out of business owing many shoppers money. Patterns of not paying and going out of business are the same. - Global Growth Group (G3)

Jeannie in GA
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PrivateEyeLysa
Member

Middlebury, CT
USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2012 :  12:56:24 PM  Visit PrivateEyeLysa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Shoppers,
I just wanted to post publicly on this and another forum that Private Eyes has severed our scheduling relationship with the Freeman Group.
I have seen the numbers, and I know that the efforts that we've made to help shoppers get paid (as many shopper payments have been made over the last few weeks) have offered tremendous relief. However, until The Freeman Group gets these issues resolved 100% within their organization, I feel there is not much more we at Private Eyes can do to help anyone.
Our separation with The Freeman Group has been done with complete respect and understanding, as they understood our position and were gracious about our decision.

I have read a lot of untruths about this company above, however, so I would like to clean a few things up before I wrap this topic up for us...
They have not lost any clients.
They have ongoing meetings where the outstanding shopper payments are discussed and prioritized.
They are not going "out of business" and are putting a lot of energy into resolving their issues.

Being more on the "inside" of their goings on, I do still very much do believe they are doing the best they can.
Nevertheless, taking into consideration what's been mentioned on this forum thus far, and the fact that our assistance seemed to offer little appreciation or relief to the ones that have posted here, we saw more reason to back out, then to stay in.
I just ask that everyone keep in mind that there is always far, far more going on than what they see.
However, that being said, shoppers are owed money and that needs to be rectified, and Private Eyes we will no longer be associated with that situation.

L.Sampson
Private Eyes Scheduling
www.privateeyesonline.net
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Jeff406
Contributor

Venice, FL
USA
76 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2012 :  4:10:47 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Lysa,

Once again I ask, have you been paid as agreed ?

Jeff Crozier

Jeff Crozier
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper pi1jhd
Co-Owner VIDEO SHOPPING PROS
Shopping Nationwide Full Time/Video shopping road warrior.
Nevada work permit
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SueMecham
Trainee

Challis, ID
USA
8 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2012 :  4:17:25 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hello Jeannie
At this time I am still owed a pinch under $300. Both of those shops were in May 2011.

Sue
Gold shopper x3cfja
shopping ID-UT-WY and more
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6492 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2012 :  5:13:21 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
This was posted on Posted on Volition in regards to the Freeman Group on - 05/26/2007 : 9:55:48 PM.
Originally posted by BrianCollins
What is the current situation? Any further comments about bouncing checks or a 4+ month wait for reimbursement?
http://forum.volition.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26652&whichpage=7

Since there is so much talk about shoppers not getting paid by Freeman, I sat down to research the forum and when it started. 2006 is when things started going down.
http://forum.volition.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=26652&whichpage=6

Volition is a great resource for shoppers if it is properly used. Shoppers have the opportunity to research a company before working for them. As IC's we have the right not to work for any company, just as any company has the right to not use our services for any reason.

Although I feel incredibly sorry for those waiting to be paid, I cannot understand why all of a sudden everyone is acting like this is a big surprise and something new. It has been five years.

Please protect yourself with the power of knowledge available to you. It is your responsibility alone to do this research and make sure you are going working only for companies who pay in a timely manner, you own a business, you are spending your money, do not throw good money after bad.

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

Middlebury, CT
USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2012 :  5:55:47 PM  Visit PrivateEyeLysa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sorry, Jeff. I missed that question.
I was paid as agreed as of a couple of months back, however, all we have been able to do since May (since there were not yet any shops to schedule) was work on helping with the payment communication. In other words, we are not owed anything (that I could really charge them for at least). They will owe us for scheduling a few shops in July before I left them, but I will not be able to expect that for another month or two.

quote:
Originally posted by Jeff406

Lysa,

Once again I ask, have you been paid as agreed ?

Jeff Crozier


L.Sampson
Private Eyes Scheduling
www.privateeyesonline.net
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CourtneyEB
Member

Conway, SC
USA
21 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2012 :  4:07:25 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Big smile on my face
I just got paid $125 from my shop completed September 2011. 10 months to get paid!!! Never again will I work for this company. SOOOO not worth it.

People say, "Well, I'm going to stay in the hotel anyway, so I might as well do a shop and get paid for it." For any other MS company, I'd agree. But it's not just a hotel stay. You have to do a mystery shopping report (and hotel ones are always a bit stressful for me, because I really want to do a great job on it) and then harass the company to get paid. And you may never receive reimbursement.
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AndreaSarrah
Contributor

Alexandria, VA
USA
69 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2012 :  05:49:41 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just want to say that I have finally begun to be paid. I was owed for about 12 shops and over the past several weeks have been paid for 5. I don't know who to thank but I do know that the return e-mail address on my payments is one I have not seen before. So, thank you whomever.
Yes, it has been a long time, and yes, I had to send a couple of inquiry emails but I am finally getting paid.
Would I shop for them again, yes probably if I needed a hotel anyway and the reviews for the hotel were not terrible. Not to put Lysa in a spot she does not want, but her assurances that the company is not going out of business is part of the reason I would shop with then again.
Regarding bounced checks, I have always been paid through paypal; which is a positive because it is easy to see what has been paid by both myself and the company. Also, both of the Freeman sites are set up to show which shops you have completed.
My one complaint, slight compared to not getting paid, is that they make payments out of the order of when they were done and trying to figure out which payment is for which shop is a pain. I don't know why they don't include that information when they pay you.
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6492 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2012 :  4:55:41 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
You might find this interesting. You will need to log in to Facebook to read it.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mystery-Shopping-Providers-Association/101290243894

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

USA
44 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2012 :  7:19:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't do Facebook, but asked my sister to check out this site reference.

Similarly, online research shows http://www.mysteryshopforum.com/search/6/search=Freeman/page=1/match_type=ALL/match_dates=30/match_forum=ALL

Compelling and provocative.

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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6492 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2012 :  7:53:06 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
This is what it says for those who cannot view it on Facebook.

Between June 11 and July 6, 2012, six mystery shoppers contacted MSPA alleging non-payment for mystery shopping assignments with a member company. The association has communicated with the shoppers and the member company in question in accordance with its confidential Complaint Review Procedures to resolve the issue. Pursuant to MSPA’s Code of Ethics and its Complaint Review Procedures, the company’s MSPA membership has been suspended.

As an advocate for the mystery shopping industry, MSPA takes very seriously all complaints submitted to MSPA that pertain to MSPA members and will continue to work with mystery shoppers and company providers to improve communications for the good of the industry.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Cilla
Star Contributor

MD
USA
1424 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2012 :  06:15:20 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Following further pressure from many more than six shoppers, plus open letters from other forums, MSPA yesterday suspended the membership of Freeman Group specifically for not paying shoppers fees and reimbursements earned.

Cilla
MSPA Gold Certified 2005
IMSC Certified 2009
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Bob Engleman
Valued Contributor

Dayton, OH
USA
201 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2012 :  06:47:27 AM  Visit Bob Engleman's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I completed my first and only assignment for Freeman in Mar. of 2006. After learning of their payment problems, I don't recall when, I decided to scratch them from future consideration. The below is as sound an advice as could be given on this subject:

Paminca--Although I feel incredibly sorry for those waiting to be paid, I cannot understand why all of a sudden everyone is acting like this is a big surprise and something new. It has been five years.

Please protect yourself with the power of knowledge available to you. It is your responsibility alone to do this research and make sure you are going working only for companies who pay in a timely manner, you own a business, you are spending your money, do not throw good money after bad.

HOWEVER, I was surprised to read the following from Andrea:

Yes, it has been a long time, and yes, I had to send a couple of inquiry emails but I am finally getting paid.
Would I shop for them again, yes probably if I needed a hotel anyway and the reviews for the hotel were not terrible. Not to put Lysa in a spot she does not want, but her assurances that the company is not going out of business is part of the reason I would shop with then again.

Bob's comment--As the old adage goes, "To each his/her own."


Bob
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