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Secret Shopping and Confidentiality

It is called “secret” shopping for a reason. It is critical to maintain secrecy not only during a mystery shop, but before and after the shop as well. Confidentiality requirements demand that shoppers also refrain from sharing confidential and proprietary information of the mystery shopping company and the client. This seems obvious, but lots of shoppers seem to have trouble understanding the need for confidentiality.

I am always surprised when shoppers openly disclose the names of clients, fees they received, shop requirements and other information. I hear mystery shoppers say these things at shopper meet-ups, and I read inappropriate comments in public forums and blogs. What part of “confidential” don’t these shoppers understand?

Almost every mystery shopping company includes a confidentiality clause in the Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) completed during the application process. Prohibited activities typically include:

  • Sharing information about the operations of the secret shopping company and its clients.
  • Discussing compensation and other details of shop assignments with a third party.
  • Directly contacting a client, without the specific permission of the mystery shopping company.
  • Sharing blank or completed report forms, guidelines and other shop materials with anyone else.

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