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 Feedback Requested: The Sentry Marketing Group, LLC (SMG)
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2010 :  4:35:16 PM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sela,

I'm not sure what you mean by "how we treat our shoppers" but I would be glad to discuss your concerns offline.

I am sorry if you were offended by my comments, however, I'll stick by what I stated about shoppers who flake shops as well as those shoppers who abandon a shop by refusing to revise it. Poor quality work is a black eye for the entire industry and no one benefits if clients are not satisfied with the data provided to them. I'm not aware of a company in this industry who would condone a shopper refusing to revise their shop.

Our team takes pride in building long term relationships with our shoppers based on mutual respect. The relationship can become strained based on the added stress of filling last minute assignments to meet a deadline.

I agree that The Sentry Marketing Group is not a good fit for your skills and experience.

We wish you good luck.

Dave

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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ChrisThomas
Valued Contributor

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2010 :  12:14:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Dave,
Thanks for resolving the issues.
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Bob Engleman
Valued Contributor

Dayton, OH
USA
201 Posts

Posted - 04/21/2010 :  4:32:33 PM  Visit Bob Engleman's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I recently completed my first assignment for this MSC and encountered a problem. After reading Dave's extensive and prompt replies to other shoppers, I sent the following:

    Dave,

    I checked on my first completed shop today, only to learn it had been rejected. On the assignment page I found the following:

    Evaluator Feedback: Shopper did not respond to request for revision

    I wasn't aware of such a request. While it's true that in my 7 yrs. in this business I've needed to address an occasional issue, why wouldn't I fix a problem that determines my pay? I'm a 67 yr. old lifelong self-employed businessman; it would be illogical for me not to respond were I aware of the request. Please assist.


In a scant 13 minutes I received the below response to my situation:

    Bob

    I have returned the shop to you with the editors guidelines for revising. The shop must be submitted by 10:00 PM this evening.

    Dave


Dave's to be commended for his professional approach, as I succinctly stated the situation and successfully argued my case. This was 2 businessmen satisfactorily handling the matter.

Bob
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 04/21/2010 :  6:38:13 PM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Chris,

To answer your question:

No, it is not common practice not to pay a shopper that has been deactivated for previously accepted work. Therefore, if you are experiencing this issue, feel free to email me directly at dave@sentrymarketing.com .

The fact is that I do not know who you are and we do not have a record of a shopper with your name registered with us or having done a shop for us at any time. I cannot find any email messages or support tickets from you. Perhaps you could elaborate on who are or why we don't have a record of you completing shops for our company. Like I said, I don't know who you are and what your agenda is.

The reality is that our company is very liberal when it comes to granting extensions and working with shoppers to accept shops. As you can see from Bob's post, a professional inquiry is responded to with a professional reply. Shoppers who chose to communicate in an unprofessional manner are more than likely going to find their accounts deactivated. Life's too short to deal with their type of nonsense.

I looked over the posts and cannot find one comment supports your accusation that we don't pay shoppers. The reason is that your accusation is baseless and completely untrue. If we didn't pay shoppers, there would be plenty of posts on this forum and others discussing the matter. The fact is that our payment policy is that checks are mailed out 60 days from shop acceptance and we are currently running about 50 - 55 days.

We are by no means perfect and we certainly make our share of mistakes. I believe shoppers will find that we'll work hard to make the situation right. I am happy to discuss any concern that someone has with our company off line or on this forum.

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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BStevenB
Apprentice

Beachwood, OH
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2010 :  6:10:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've worked with Sentry. No problems. Some jobs are just not very well paying.
Specific directions on some dining shops can be cumbersome. $100 reimbursement and $25 payment is tempting at first glance. But I don't bother anymore.
Example? Get a drink and record your own and 3 other customer transactions, Then repeat with a separate bar and bartender. Finally find a table and order a soft drink and appetizer. Restrictions on liquor choices and no direct reimbursement for a full meal.
If I am recording the interactions of 6 other customers at the bars and 2 bartenders plus a waiter with me and my guest that's a lot of detailed reporting. By ordering and enjoying 3 sets of beverages then I'd be in the restaurant quite a while. I can't spend that long in a restaraunt without eating a meal!Only the appetizer and beverages are reimbursed. The idea that the $25 payment might cover two full meals (in addition to the reimbursed single appetizer) means lots of work for a "nearly free" meal.

Steven
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2010 :  8:43:50 PM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Steven,

We don't offer a shop as you've described it. We have a bar compliance shop that pays a $25 fee but the guidelines are not as you describe them. There is a dinner shop in your area that requires a trip to bar, but again, the guidelines are not as described in your post.

Ultra-premium liquor is excluded from our bar compliance shops but we are hardly the only company in the industry that includes this stipulation. The guidelines for all our shops are as specific as needed so that we can avoid the assignment being performed incorrectly.

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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GHanson1971
Apprentice

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2010 :  04:23:23 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did a handful of shops for them, no problems until my last one. I completed the shop, submitted the edits. Went back to the site a few weeks later to find out my login had been disabled. To get an explanation, I've called, left messages, emailed. I have gotten zero responses. I'm not sure if they didn't like my last shop report or what. I can't even get an answer. And of course no payment for the shop. I still would like one, and would consider shopping for them again. However, this would have to be the poorest of all companies I shop for as a result.

George
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2010 :  11:03:43 AM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
George,

Please contact me directly at dave@sentrymarketing.com . I will look into this for you.

Dave

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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FlyGuyBill
Apprentice

Phoenix, AZ
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2010 :  12:39:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My experience in dealing with Dave and his Sentry Group was not a positive one. Dave has a very hot temper when you talk to him on the phone. He berated me and used fowl language directed at me. I did TWO shops back to back for him and was only paid for one. I spent over 6 hours on the second one doing and re doing a report and each time they wanted something else done or changed. I finally had enough. And deleted everything in the report so that he could not use a single thing. My advice is stay away from the company.

And DAVE save your breath in trying to make me look bad you know who you are and I know who you are. You were very unprofessional on the phone and lost your cool. Not good folks once again stay away...

Bill Bradley
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2010 :  10:44:55 PM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Bill,

You were not paid for your second assignment because you refused to revise the shop and we were not able to send the shop to our client. This is standard policy in the mystery shopping industry.

In addition to refusing to revise your shop, you sent a very long and unprofessional email to our editor.

I don't have a reply to your comment about the shop taking six hours to complete. We have not received similar feedback from any of the other shoppers who have completed this assignment over the last six months.

Lastly, I neither berated you nor did I direct any foul language toward you.

We treat our shoppers with respect and professionalism and expect them to conduct themselves in the same manner.

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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AuntieCeleste
Apprentice

MN
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 06/12/2010 :  1:13:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've done COMPANY_NAME for them and everything has been fine. Unfortunately, COMPANY_NAME is the only opportunity in my area and frankly, we are sick of eating there!

Celeste
Twin Cities Shopping Queen
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ChrisThomas
Valued Contributor

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2010 :  6:35:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Anyone looking for further information about Sentry can simply open the most recent email requesting shopper feedback. This is a great example of the "this MS is totally disconnected from it's shoppers"!

I have traded many emails with shoppers all over the country following my recent "disagreement" with the owner of Sentry. We all recall the "fast talking" I am better than you attitude, right?

Said owner keeps blaming shoppers for all the problems, well how about the recent survey.

As most of you will recall (clearly those that have continued the conversation outside this forum) I was publicly canned from Sentry.
I was also publicly pleased that happened. I did continue a lively exchange with Dave for good laughs, which we all agreed was fun while it lasted.

OK, on to the point. I recently began receiving emails inviting me to shop for Sentry. I got a kick out of that since I was "removed" long ago. I made effor to send an email to the scheduler simply stating "I am not so sure Dave want me on this list". Never got a reply...until..............THE SURVEY!!!!

This well organized company can't seem to remove who they "remove".
Says a lot about the organization doesn't it?

To add insult to insult, the survey also asks shoppers to use a scale...and I quote:

On a scale of 1 to 5, rate your overall satisfaction with The Sentry Marketing Group(SMG).

Just below there are questions with a scale of 1-10. That's perfect!
If a real company placed this survey.....anyway...I will next thought to the rest to the shoppers out there to read between the lines.

Seems Sentry is finally thowing the right people under the bus for once..themselves!

I made a screen shot of the survey and email that I will post on the site later tonight. I am sure our friend will take the survey down quickly.

We can all have a good bit of fun with this one.
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Vonni
Valued Contributor

NC
USA
193 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2010 :  7:15:22 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Put me on the list of shoppers who are disappointed with Sentry. I recently completed a shop for them which I have done in the past. I have received perfect scores on the last few shops. I completed this shop in the exact same way as the others. Only this time, they are not going to pay me for the shop. I was never notified that there was a problem with the shop or that I would not be paid. I only found out by going to the site when I realized the pay was late. I sent in a "ticket" and received a reply that did not address my question. My theory is once burned, twice shy.

I also received an invitation to complete the survey. I wonder what good it will do me to respond to it.

Yvonne
Silver Certified
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2010 :  8:19:25 PM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Vonni,

I'm not sure what reply you received because I am still reviewing the issue you submitted. Our Prophet server is currently down but as soon as it comes back up I will review your shop and touch base with you offline.

If you have further questions you can contact me directly at dave@sentrymarketing.com .

Dave

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2010 :  8:43:37 PM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Chris,

If you are receiving posts for open jobs with our company they must be coming from third party sites like Jobslinger or Shadowshopper because your account with our company has been closed for some time.

If you are going to post in this forum, at least post all of the facts. Your account with our company was closed when you sent an extremely unprofessional note to our editor, refused to revise one shop and flaked another. Your demeanor was far from professional and this post is a perfect example of why I deactivated your account. As you can see from Bob Engleman's post, those shoppers who communicate in a professional tone are treated in the same manner.

Also, you were not "publicly canned" from our company. Your account was closed long before you posted in this forum. In addition, your account was closed solely on the basis of your communication with our team member and the fact that you flaked your shop.

The survey is not going anywhere. We sent the note to all active and nonactive shoppers in our database in order to get a complete picture of how our company is viewed by the full spectrum of shoppers. How that makes us "totally disconnected" from our shoppers is beyond me.

Thanks for pointing out the typo. I do appreciate the heads up.

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2010 :  4:20:19 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been disappointed in Sentry for some time now and unsubscribed from their site about a month ago. I no longer want to work for them for the same reasons that others of you have outlined.

I was surprised to receive the survey since I no longer work for them but I filled it out anyway. I did not have anything good to say except that they used to be a nice company to work with and Dave was at one time my favorite scheduler. Something has happened through the years and I do not find Sentry to be a company I want to associate with.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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Vonni
Valued Contributor

NC
USA
193 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2010 :  8:33:02 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just wanted to post to let everyone know that my problem with the shop was resolved in an acceptable manner. Dave and I exchanged several emails, and we have pretty much agreed to disagree. He was very polite and professional in his correspondence. In the end, he made a goodwill gesture that I can live with. I felt that we had a very healthy exchange of opinions in the way that two adult professionals should. Kudos to you, Dave!

Yvonne
Silver Certified
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ReneeDC
Member

Washington, DC
USA
14 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2010 :  11:30:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have had a horrible experience working for this company. I should have known something was wrong when a bunch of cofee shops were not picked up by other shoppers for weeks. I had trouble entering them on the Prophet system which kept jamming and then went blank. I emailed the scheduler and asked if by any chance the shop was saved and then emailed her again saying knowing Prophet the whole entery was probably lost. I stayed up until 1 AM reentering the shops.

Then I got emails from the owner having the nerve to take off $2 off each shop because he claims they were not enetered by midnight. I emailed telling him the scheduler was alerted and he emails me mumbo jumbo. Meantime the scheduler told me I would be paid the full fee and then the owner again acts like he didn't know she did that and then he deactivates my account and tells me I won't be paid for 60 days!!! You can scan previous etries re this MSP and see they are supposed to pay in 30 days.

Based on the owners arrogant replies to me I have threatened to contact the client since he deactivated my account and it appears he has no intention of paying me. Just a warning to shoppers out there who may not want to get stuck with purchases out of their own pockets, having monies deducted and more likely not be paid at all.

Renee
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DAgius
Valued Contributor

Frisco, TX
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2010 :  10:28:22 PM  Visit DAgius's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
The vast majority of shoppers who contact our company do so in a professional and pleasant manner. Recent posts by Vonni and Bob Engleman are good examples of how issues are addressed when shoppers communicate in a professional and businesslike manner.

Unfortunately, there are always exceptions. We have a zero tolerance policy for shoppers who communicate in an unprofessional and/threatening tone. Any threat to contact a client is taken seriously and the shopper's account is immediately deactivated. In addition, any shopper who continues to communicate in an inappropriate manner is made ineligible for future assignments.

If an assignment is submitted past the deadline, the majority of shoppers will email their scheduler or our support team with a brief explanation of the reason for the delay. Nearly all of these requests result in a reversal of any fee deduction or penalty is reversed. Regrettably, a few shoppers chose to make demands with providing reason for the late submission. Sometimes their comments escalate into a threat to contact the client.

Our published payment policy is that we pay by check and that checks are processed for payment 30 - 60 days from the assignment acceptance date.

What I believe readers of this thread will find is that shoppers who communicate in a professional manner are treated in kind and have their questions handled promptly and correctly. On the other hand, those folks who chose to communicate in an adversarial, threatening or demeaning manner are handled accordingly. I am not going to apologize for the manner in which we handle those people who can't maintain a professional, or at least civil, decorum.

With one exception, all of the shoppers who have criticized us have few posts and are not active on this forum. Among this group are shoppers who have no-showed their assignment, refused to revise a shop, re-submitted their shop with gibberish typed in the narrative section and a shopper whose first communicate with our company as a threat to turn us into the MSPA and BBB. On the other hand you have Bob Engleman, who posted her after the issue was resolved and of his own volition, and Vonni. These folks, and many others, reported that their interaction with us was pleasant and that their concerns were quickly addressed. By the way, the experienced shopper who has severed ties with us did so over our shopper feedback and scoring system.

Like any other company in the industry, we take flaked shops, threats to contact the client, demeaning communication and other poor behavior seriously. No shopper would tolerate being communicated with in that manner, nor should they. We employ a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior. Nobody likes to reject a shop and we don't make the decision lightly. Any action that results in a shopper not being paid is reviewed by multiple managers and we everything we can to avoid having to take any action this type of action. Unfortunately, there are times when shops are conducted incorrectly, not submitted, submitted too long after a deadline or so poorly written that they cannot be released to a client. This is part of our business and certainly not restricted to our company.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I respect your opinion and it is every shopper's prerogative to chose or decline assignments from a mystery shopping company. It's unfortunate because you are arriving at your conclusion without have any firsthand experience with our company and based on the opinion of a few people who have an ax to grind. I'm not sure why the positive feedback from experienced shoppers doesn't carry more weight. As everyone knows there are two sides to every issue and perception is not always the same as reality.

Our company has nothing to hide and I would be happy to discuss any of the issued mentioned on this forum on or offline. If any prospective or current shopper would like to contact me, I can be reached at dave@sentrymarketing.com .

Dave Agius, Owner
The Sentry Marketing Group
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2010 :  04:21:27 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
By the way, the experienced shopper who has severed ties with us did so over our shopper feedback and scoring system.

Dave, I believe you are referring to me with this comment. Although I had a disagreement with your scoring system and lack of requested feedback, that is not the reason I severed ties with your company.

I have noticed in this forum how you have come to treat people. You have become condescending, patronizing, insulting, you are always right, everybody else is always wrong. I used to support you back when you acted with more civility.

I once needed help getting back into a report to make additions that had been asked for. The report was sent to me in such a way that I could not open it. I emailed you twice because the instructions said to contact my scheduler (and gave your name). You were busy working on your website and that was the reason given for not contacting me promptly. You said the report was sent to me in a format I could use but that along the way something happened and it arrived on my end in a format I could not open. Regardless of what happened, I could not open the report and needed help from you. Somehow you tried to turn it all around to be my mistake that I could not open the report and that I did not hear from you on a timely basis.

I realize that some people post nice comments about you after you have straightened out a problem. I also know that you have been known to "ask for" comments to be posted. You have done it to me before.

As for the scoring/shopper feedback...I asked you to have your editor explain what it was about my report that caused it to not warrant the bonus. I was paid the full fee of the shop. I had worked very hard on the report and, in my opinion, it was equal or superior to the one you posted as a sample. At first you said you would get back to me with an answer and then my question got deleted. I reopened the question but never got an answer from you. If there was something about my report to prevent me from getting the bonus, I would like to know what it was so that I could make corrections in the future. Since I received no answer, I just did not do any more of those shops. So, again, I was not upset by the score but I was not happy with your "feedback" system because you gave me no constructive feedback.

I had comments made in my report that could be construed as "opinions" and I explained to you why the comments were actually just possible explanations of my observations and necessary to the report. My main concern was that your editor was aware of the reasons for the comments and that they were not strictly "opinions" which would not be appropriate.

I wish for your sake you could go back to being the Dave I first came to know about five years ago. I seriously think you are headed in the wrong direction.


Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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