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Market Force Information / Scam

1 United States Review updated:

Market Force Information, Inc. ripped me off. If you ever decide to work here, you will most likely end up regretting it. Seemed like a great idea at the time-- even fun perhaps. Getting paid for your opinion, experience at writing AND reimbursed for your meals? Hey, I love writing and I give my opinion freely-- so why not get paid for it all, right? Hmph! Was *I* in for rude awakening!

On the initial application they want to know everything there is to know about YOU. Do you own or rent a home, do you have any type of disabilities, what's your gender, your race, are you married or single, what's your household income, what's your birth date, your Social Security number, your hair color, eye color, do you wear glasses, how tall are you and how much do you weigh??! Many of those criteria sounded very suspicious or even illegal to me but I ignored my intuitions. I knew that there were some mystery shopping jobs that were a scam and you had to be careful so I checked them out with the BBB. When I saw that they had a decent rating I eagerly signed up with them. I wanted this job. Badly. It sounded like my dream job so I ignored any skepticism on my own or anyone else's part.

They wanted me to take a written test that would test my attention to detail on the last place that I shopped. Spelling and grammar counts even though when you do the actual reports for them, you have an automatic spell checker-- but yet they still have an actual spelling test on there and they want to know the exact time right down to the very second that you started taking their test and EXACTLY when you ended it!

Then, if you're accepted, you have to read and then take a 35 question test on an 11 page manual. 5 pages of the manual are dedicated entirely on how to start and stop timing the workers at the restaurant. They devoted about half of the questions to things like: What is the timing point 1, 2 and 3 for the walk in, what is it for the drive in... which timing point is #2 and which one is #3 and then what are timing points #1-3 for the drive-thru. You only get 2 chances to get a 100% of all questions correct-- and you must get them all right either the first time or the second time!

When you're doing the actual evaluation at the restaurant though you have to be very discreet about your timings. Can't actually write them down while you're there or you could blow your cover. You're supposed to be able to remember exactly down to the second: "When did you come to a complete stop in the drive thru, what time you stop and pay for your food, what time you did you receive your food and drink, how many cars were ahead of you, what time did you go to the walk-in line, how many people were ahead of you, how many cash registers were open, what time was it when you were told the total cost of that order, what time was it when your food actually arrives... It shouldn't be more than 10 seconds or something's wrong with the worker! There are so many requirements that need to be met, so many questions that they ask, so many details that you have to remember but you are not allowed to bring these list of requirements with you because you are supposed to look and act as if you are an ordinary shopper. You can't even bring anyone else along. You must be alone, pay entirely in CASH, be very hungry, go to a specific location between a specific time frame. You must be able to eat, drink and honestly scrutinize 2 consecutive full meals all by yourself.

The night before my first assignment, I worked on my computer for over an hour downloading and printing out 10 pages of their rules and instructions. The next morning I woke up, got myself ready to snoop, took the time to go to Wawa to get $20 in CASH, (which was all I could spare this week), went to McDonald's and did the absolute best mystery shop that I could do with what I had to work with.

You would think with all of the pages that you have to download and print out, they would actually USE these pages to make it very clear exactly what to order for each part of this review but they are STILL unclear because they REALLY do not want to pay you for all of your hard work! For example, on page 3 of their 10 page "Information Sheets", they said you need to order one sandwich, fries and a beverage-- but it was unclear to me if they wanted me to do that for the walk-in AND the drive thru. They said you need to order: "either a sausage biscuit or sausage biscuit with egg, a sausage mcmuffin or a sausage mcmuffin with egg, a sausage McGriddle or a sausage egg and cheese mcgriddle. Then it says for the second order, (the drive-thru portion) you have to order one of these choices.. either: "a bacon egg and cheese biscuit, an egg mcmuffin or a bacon, egg and cheese mcgriddle." It did not say to order yet ANOTHER side and a drink... and I thought it would certainly be ridiculous of them to expect anyone to eat 2 entire meals all by themselves so I just got the sandwich for the drive-thru, just like it said to do in the upper middle portion of that page.

For each evaluation, you have to answer questions about the server's friendliness, their attentiveness, their communication, their speed, the accuracy of the order, the food quality, the store's cleanliness, how the drive thru was and how the restrooms were. Ok. No problem there. That is what I expected to do but it was disappointing to me that they did not have any space for me to write in my own comments and observations, which I feel are just as important as the other things that they want scrutinized. (I thought the restaurant was fine. The only thing that could use some improvements were the fact that the tray was very wet and so was the counter top in the ladies' restroom.)

I filled out their report on the walk-in, the surrounding area, the drive thru AND the restroom then I scanned the receipts and the "CPI", which is the Contractor Payment Invoice-- the form that they have you sign that you must also print out when you print out the useless 10 other pages of their requirements...and you have to print it out right at that time, not later on.

After waking up early to go to this place, spending my time and my money, doing their report, scanning everything that they wanted, they still have to try to find something--anything that wasn't done precisely so they don't have to pay for all of this.

It took me hours to try to upload my CPI. I tried it a dozen times but every time it just made my computer freeze and then I'd keep getting an error message. I shut down the computer and started it again 3 more times before the site finally said everything was received. By then I was angry, frustrated and was really starting to feel like this wasn't worth my time or aggravation. Not too surprisingly, a few hours later I received an email from Market Research Information saying that they were not going to pay me ANYTHING for all that I did because I only ordered a sandwich, drink and hash browns in the walk-in but I only got 1 sandwich in the drive-thru!!!

It was a very belittling and condescending letter!

Now if this were a reputable company, they would have prorated their assignment fees-- especially for my first experience working with them-- but they don't. It's all or nothing with these crooks. What I did was surely worth something but THEY acted like all my hard work and money were worthless and they allegedly "could not use it".

Now that I know how crooked they are and all that they demand, I think back to what my husband told me when I first told him about this place. They simply do not pay the reviewers nearly enough for all of this even it was done entirely correct in their mind. I also feel that they expect too much from the McDonald's employees too with what scanty amount they get paid! For this assignment, if I did it entirely how they say they wanted it, they were only going to pay me $7.50 plus the cost of food.

I thought this would be a fun job even though it doesn't pay well but this anal company is clearly not worth the time, money, effort and aggravation.

More Market Force Information Complaints & Reviews

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  • Sh
      15th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    I just read this review of Market Force and was very surprised. The headline says "Scam" but this is not a Scam company. I have been a mystery shopper with Market Force for just over 2 years and have done about 250 shops for them including the restaurant this reviewer discusses that requires timing and an exact order; they make it clear to follow the mystery shop guidelines exactly because that is exactly what their client is trying to get feedback on. I have always been paid on time and have found their shops easy to do. Yes, the first one is hard since it is new but after that, you are ready to go! I've made steady side income and as a single mom with a son in Ice Hockey the exra income is great!

    They have a nice website with a lot of information -

    I have recommended Market Force to several girlfriends and they love to mystery shop. I think all of them use Market Force and I have never heard a compaint. They are a big company but they treat their shoppers well.

    If anyone is interested in Mystery Shopping, they can read about all the Mystery Shop companies on MSPA - Mystery Shopping Providers Association - Market Force is listed with them as a member in good standing so this might be a place to find the right company for you.

    Best of luck and happy shopping :)

  • Ye
      12th of Apr, 2017
    +2 Votes

    @ShopperMystery Corporate Shill comments above. Beware.

  • Pe
      17th of Jul, 2017
    +2 Votes

    @yellowsubmarine Agree, , Linda is a SHILL.
    She is an office employee of Market Force and posing as a researcher.

  • As
      16th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    I also was extremely surprised by the complaint. I became a mystery shopper for Market Force this year to earn some extra money, and haven’t had any problems with the company. There are always a ton of assignments posted to choose from, and I’ve been paid for every shop I’ve completed correctly!

    I understand why you are a bit frustrated - one of my mystery shops got rejected too, because I ordered the wrong side item on accident. Ultimately it was my fault though, and it just made me extra careful the next time I went through and completed a shop. The assignments for this fast food chain tend to be the most tedious out of all the job options. I suggest checking out all of the assignments listed and picking out another one to see if you enjoy it more! Once you get the hang of it, I’m sure you will be able to complete jobs much more quickly and will definitely enjoy making some extra money too!!


  • Mr
      24th of Aug, 2010
    +3 Votes

    I have seen other complaints about this company online. I wish I took them seriously. What a waste of time this crooked company has been.

  • An
      25th of Aug, 2010
    +3 Votes

    I agree. I've worked for them and they are a rip-off! Stay away!

  • Ob
      26th of Aug, 2010
    +4 Votes

    They say that 'The difference is in the details". Rubbish. Like Sylvia103, I was suspicious about the amount of information requested in the application. Then my application was rejected - they sent me an email requesting additional data and - wait for it - addressing me by a name that I had LEGALLY changed over 3 years ago - because my old name was attached to that SSN on an old application. My SSN is tied to my new name on all Social Security and credit reports - not "aka" as MFI had labeled me.

    Well I challenged their mail, and their bureaucratic demand for additional information (most of which, it appeared to me, I had already supplied). I had already decided that, if a company cannot even read my application before telling me that I am wrong, then I do not have very much confidence that they will accept and pay my mystery shopping assignments. They telephoned me to explain that this was a bulk mail sent out to prospective applicants when there is missing information, and I only need supply the information that was highlighted in bold.

    Ok. Explain this to me. You can highlight something, and you can enter my name as xxx aka yyy (a hybrid of my new and old names, taking much longer to type than to just enter my new name from my application or from any official document), but you CANNOT delete the superfluous paragraphs from the same sheet? Even the DMV can make a better job of rejecting applications than this - that pen-checked box AT LEAST shows some humyn interaction!

    I call that LAZINESS and LACK OF RESPECT for the applicants. You're just a number, now get in line. No thanks, I would prefer to stay in the benefits line rather than be demeaned by you.

    And, pray tell me, what is to stop Market Force from rejecting a review but yet using it, avoiding the reviewer's compensation while still raking in the profits from their big corporate clients? Call me cynical if you will, but I just don’t trust them. There are other market review agencies out there offering much easier, more streamlined, personal, INTERACTIONS with their reporters. I know - I work for some of them now.

  • Is
      25th of Sep, 2017
    +2 Votes

    @Observer101 Hi, thanks for placing your review. I was planning on working for them too, but not anymore. Would you mind letting me know what company(s) you're currently work for now? I'd like to apply since you have good experience. Isabel in San Antonio

  • Mr
      26th of Aug, 2010
    +3 Votes

    Good for you! I'm happy for you, Observer 101 and Anonymous 1 that you didn't get sucked into their foolishness. :) I don't trust them as far as I can throw them. Luckily for me, I was only out $5.98 plus the cost of food, unlike some of their other victims who I read about who were ripped off over $40 for each mystery shop.

    The only thing I got out of this is learning to be less trusting and to have even more empathy for people who work at fast food places. These big corporations expect way too much from them for what little they pay.

  • Li
      16th of Nov, 2010
    +4 Votes

    I feel your about leaving out a ketchup packet or salt packet in the drive through order...that was grounds for NOT being paid for any of the meals you buy, whether in drive through or walk in. They can go back and view their cameras to determine if you left any of your mystery shop out. AND, they actually call you to verify what you were wearing that day if they believe you were "caught" as a mystery shopper. I quit doing mystery shopping after 5 years of rediculous paperwork and printing on your OWN printer, having to memorize what you need to do while in the restaurant/store, gaining weight from eating/tasting all of that fast food within 30 minutes of each other, then having to make purchases that you may or may not get reimbursed for if you do one little thing wrong. Hmmm...I thought the purpose of a mystery shop was to help companies obtain a higher standard of customer service by seeing if they serve you properly and that the food is of good quality, NOT anazlye to death what type of food you order and how much you spend on it, or what race/gender the cashier or waiter was. And how about what color hair they have, what their body size is, and weather they have long or short hair...seems like discrimination to me.

  • Th
      16th of Jul, 2017
    0 Votes

    @Littlejoe Reading this, I wonder if you've ever opened your take-out bag only to find no one remembered to put in ketchup, or mustard, or napkins, or something else that's required to eat or drink your purchase? It's inordinately frustrating.

  • Bi
      27th of Nov, 2010
    -2 Votes

    I am just a curious observer looking to keep busy, I have no experience with the program.

    The Sylvia103 dissertation was enlightening and revealed valuable information to consider the assignment, it's prerequisite and details of reporting. But to call it a scam was disingenuous.

    It sounded like specific details were required to be addressed and if not accomplished the report would be invalid, in total. not in part.

  • Us
      5th of Dec, 2010
    +4 Votes

    Can I say the name? Golden arches? They use every excuse not to pay you. Ridiculous requirements. I've had two shops rejected, one that I drove over 25 miles to do. I don't eat junk food, but I had to for this shop, then I'm out almost $6 and gas and time. Once I was 15 minutes late. Was it really that crucial? The second, I paid by card because I didn't have cash, so they DQ'd it. What difference does that make? And I bet they still used the information even though they didn't pay me. I don't do food shops anymore. They don't pay anything and will disallow you for the smallest infraction. Oh, yeah, forget the convenience stores, too.

  • So
      20th of Dec, 2010
    +2 Votes

    I have been mystery shopping since September 2010 and in that time I have performed and been paid for 37 shops with 5 different companies.
    I did my first shop at McDonald's for Market Force last week. They have rejected my report saying:
    Shopper caused delay: You looked at and inquired about menu while at Drive-thru.
    Their instructions say to order a Value Meal, so I asked for a McChicken Value Meal. The order taker said there wasn't a McChicken Value Meal so I ordered the items separately. The receipt indicated "McCHICKEN VM" with a single price of $6.39 for the three items listed.
    For this they won't pay me? RIPOFF!!!

  • No
      26th of Dec, 2010
    +2 Votes

    I was ready to re-register with them and decided to check this site first. Then it all came flooding back. All the negative comments on Market Force are the absolute truth! I think all mystery shoppers who have been ripped off by this company, and others like it, should forward their shop to the Quality Control departments of the companies they shopped and swear to boycott ever shopping at these businesses as long as they employ dishonest mystery shopping companies - for example: never shop at a McDonald's as long as McDonalds uses a dishonest mystery shopping company and forward your shop to McDonald's for proof and post your experience here and tell everyone you know.

    In addition, after calculating what you earn, IF your shop is approved for payment and the time it took to complete it your wage is well below minimum.

    Wouldn’t it be great if companies looking to hire a mystery shopping company would mystery shop that company to see how it handled their shops?

  • Mr
      26th of Dec, 2010
    -2 Votes

    Great idea! I couldn't agree more!!! Excellent letter and excellent ideas!

  • Ro
      27th of Dec, 2010
    +2 Votes

    You made a purchase. You received the items. There is no scam involved. This company isn't staffed by crooks. You are being unfair, unjust and misrepresenting the truth. You affirmed with the company that you will follow directions, conduct an evaluation in a specific manner and that your actions will be assessed according to their specific criteria. If you don't meet your obligations to their satisfaction then you won't be reimbursed for the food/service that you actually obtained. There was no deceptive practices. You didn't follow the instructions. You were confused. You were in over your head. You invested too much time and energy into a low paying food evaluation shop. You should only accept shops that have goods or services that you enjoy and desire. This industry is not for everybody. If it is not for you then move on and be at peace. Stop lying to folks that will benefit from working in this industry. There are no crooks or scams being truthfully identified in this complaint.

  • Bi
      5th of Jan, 2011
    -1 Votes

    I've worked for Market Force and I made some good money. They don't want you to make money. If they feel you are making too much money, they will web restrict you or remove you as a shopper. It happen to me, my brother, and a few friends. They want give you the real reason. I actually liked mystery shopping. This company do not treat their dedicated shoppers right. I've been down the road on shopping and missing part of the scenario and not getting paid. It is frustrating but I usually learn from my mistakes. At one time it seemed like that was their mission to try to not pay you. As a new shopper, they should understand and not delete you after a month or two. I'm looking to shop again, Any suggestions? I'm in California so there is a chance I will not be working in your area.

  • An
      16th of Jan, 2011
    +5 Votes

    I have to agree that Market Force has some significant issues. The key thing to realize is that these jobs pay less than minimum wage. If you want to make money work for the restaurant you are evaluating! Here is my take on it...I did a shop for them where I called the store in advance (because it was a snow storm) and they said they were open. When I arrived at the store 10 minutes later I was told they did not have enough staff to open. Outside the store were customers complaining about the same issue that I had. I ultimately wrote up the report, submitted it and provided valuable feedback to the client. They paid me a fraction of my shop fee saying that it took less time to do the report. What they need to understand is the food is part of the compensation and since the store was closed I didn't receive food and now you are cutting my shop fee as well. Ultimately I lost money on the shop. Since then I left market force and found other consulting work.

  • Ki
      23rd of Jan, 2011
    +2 Votes

    I signed up with Market Force and was emailed saying I would recieve a check to take to my bank and cash and await my first assignment. The next day I recieved another email stating I would recieve two money orders also to be taken to my BANK and cashed, then send the money minus my pay to western union and send it to a person in GA. No real information was provided. The check arrived the next day. I promptly took it to my bank to have it verified, it was a fake. I contacted the local police and FBI to file a report. That day the two money orders arrived written on USPS money orders. I took them to the post office to be told they were also forged. I turned them over to the post master general. For days I was getting emails and phone calls asking where the information and money was, needed immidiately!!! Do not be fooled, all they want is to get your banking information so they can drain you account, or put you in jepordy of criminal behavior by cashing one of their bad checks. BEWARE!!!

  • To
      27th of Jan, 2011
    Best Best Advice +11 Votes

    There are two issues here: Marketforce is not a "scam" they are a real company and I've seen their actual offices in upstate NY in East Greenbush Tech Park for a job interview to design the website. They may have questionable work practices/instructions but that is another story. They have too much at stake to play with banking scams.

    To kimkmccauley- you probably filled out a phishing application claiming to be MF. They would never send you money until you complete a job. Make sure when you apply on the site there is an HTTPS://, check the lower right of the browser and click/verify the identity of the site by exploring the dialogs. They are a company and if they collect SSNs they are legally required to protect online personal information as best as they can.

    Now the other complaints could be true. They give you very specific directions - if you aren't good at PRECISELY following directions and working very quickly, this work may not be for you. From what I understand from the interview (not to be a shopper but for their business description) I took they pass the report to the restaurant, and if they are happy with the info they get paid and pass it on to you. If you are asked to purchase a specific combination of items its because the store wants to see how their workers handle that situation (for example). Then this info is put into statistics and reports. Exact times absolutely matter. Ever do a science experiment and make measurements? This is the same idea. If I need to know how long it takes a substance to boil seconds count, and if you are off the experiment is worthless, even though you may have spent hours.

    If you buy the wrong item or take too long, etc the sample is worthless. Unfortunately, since you are set up as a contractor and not an employee YOU can eat costs if you screw up. Same as plumber who comes to your house and breaks a hot water heater he is installing. Guess who pays for the second one? If he told you I dropped it off my truck and need to charge you twice would you pay him? Honestly, the work at home thing lures lots of people, you would probably be better off with a $9ish or so an hr job in the restaurant.

  • Ha
      8th of Feb, 2011
    -10 Votes

    All I know is that some guy claiming to be named Charles Williams sent me a false cashier's check for $3, 565.00, sent me a letter with it to wire $3, 150.00 through Western Union to a woman in Jamaica, pay the $215.00 fee and keep $200.00 for myself. But the check was not real, the company was no longer in business (Shop 'N Chek---a subdivision of Market Force), and the bank that the cashier's check was drawn on didn't exist.
    I have put in complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the Georgia state police (where the letter and check came from), and with my local police department. I am a disabled man in my early 40's. TO MARKET FORCE---YOU OWE ME MONEY!!! I will see you and your lawyers in court.

  • Ke
      15th of Oct, 2017
    -1 Votes

    @hammer200 @hammer200 They say on their site to beware of scams...that they NEVER pay for a shop in advance and that $200 for a shop...if it sounds to good to be true it probably is...Someone may owe you money but it's not them and the latter advice is something you should probably keep in mind as not to be fooled next time...I have been sent those same cashier's checks and the same offers and no one in their right LEGITIMATE mind would send ANYONE over $3, 000 and HOPE AND PRAY you do what your supposed to do with it...I'm sorry but that kind of gullibility is dangerous as you found out...

  • Ji
      11th of Feb, 2011
    -1 Votes

    I just filed my complaint with the FBI. Same character, "Charles Williams, " in Norcross, GA. Same scam. Same ripoff.

  • Sw
      21st of Feb, 2011
    -1 Votes

    oh great i just applied for marketforce hope i dont get scammed i did get a fake email that was posing as sales rep for market force luckily i only filled out my name before i realize he was a scammer.

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