What: A Closer Look enlists mystery shoppers to review retail, restaurants, senior living facilities and health clubs. It also drafts work-at-home editors and schedulers 

Expected pay: below minimum wage

Husl$core: $$

Commissions & fees: none

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: Age 18 or over; access to computer; access to a scanner or digital camera

Review:

A Closer Look is a consumer experience marketing company that enlists freelancers as mystery shoppers, editors and schedulers. Everyone works from home. However, none of them appear enthusiastic about the job or the company.

Secret Shoppers say pay is generally in the form of reimbursement only — and it doesn’t always cover the cost of the shop. Schedulers and editors say they’re on call 24/7, seven days a week, and earn the equivalent of a few dollars per hour. They get paid by the piece — essentially by the number of shops that they edit or schedule. But it’s tough to schedule people to work for less than minimum wage. And when you’re working for a pittance, you may be less concerned about how well you perform your write-up. Thus, the scheduler and editor jobs are tough.

Mystery shopping doesn’t pay well in the best of circumstances, but there are better mystery shopping companies, including BestMark and SecretShopper. If you are looking for work-at-home writing and editing positions, check out SideHusl’s top-rated opportunities in Writing. Those who simply must work from home should take a look at our blog posts “Jobs you can do in Pajamas” and “Virtual Assistant: A well-paid, work-at-home position.”

What their shoppers say: (from Glassdoor)

Pay is generally reimbursement only

As Shopper: 1) reimbursement amounts are sometimes low and sometimes not even enough to cover what is required. 2) Very few shops offer payment on top of the reimbursement. 3) The shop search engine sucks and has not changed in 10 years, so it is far more difficult to find shops than with other companies.

As Editor: 1) expected to attend unpaid meetings. 2) You’ll get no positive reinforcement . 3) The difficulty of metrics increases. 4) Odd working schedule with not as much flexibility as one would think. 5) Expectation to coddle bad shoppers as if they are customers.

Was sent work queries for out of town shops with bonuses that wouldn’t cover travel expenses (gas)

Be more upfront about the time that is needed for numerous tests. Three tests, one video, read a 15 pg document — all before the job. Then your gas, time during review, endless emails daily, and paying upfront for food…only in hopes of getting paid back. It is not worth a total of $8

Even when a review on a shop is approved you won’t receive your full refund. So it’s still money out of your pocket working for them. Expect 20 emails, calls, text a day offering secret shops on the 5 companies they work for. Find anothe secret shopper company. This one is not worth your time or effort.

What their schedulers say (from Glassdoor)

You will always be working at home. No days off ever. Low pay for the hours worked. They expect 7 days a week 365 days a year. If you complain they give you harder areas to work. High pressure negative environment. I honestly can’t say anything positive.

Schedulers have no days off. Not even 1. Expected to work 7 days a week 365 days a year. Responsible for “selling” shops to the shoppers for no pay reimbursement only.

40-60 hour work week for less than $600 a month.

You can be reprimanded for not meeting goals as a scheduler. I have seen schedulers get a lower shop count (less money) for not meeting goals. If you offer to help, you will not be rewarded. You will be paid below minimum wage, but expected to work 50 hours a week to meet goal. You will be able penalized for not answering the 102,728 emails you get asking if you scheduled a shop. A lot is asked of you for the amount of pay.

What their editors say (Glassdoor)

I worked as an editor and, to be honest, the interview/training process lasted longer than my employment with the company. I chose to walk away because the job was stressful, tiresome, and the small amount of money the company pays its editors is almost criminal. In training, you can work several hours on editing ONE shop, only to be paid [on average] about $4-$6 per shop…..you will make pennies compared to the amount of time you put into the work. I’m sure things get a little easier as you become more experienced with the editing process but for the extremely low pay, it’s not worth it. ACL should pay editors per hour rather than per shop.

(from the Better Business Bureau)

[Sheduler] I worked for this company for 8 months. I put in about 40-65 hours a week depending on the time of the month, and my paycheck was around $500-$700, depending on how many shops I filled. The amount of work for the little amount of pay is absolutely insane.  Although I was working as hard as I could, I couldn’t convince 150 people to do low-paying mystery shops each month.

Terrible company that treats their schedulers like dogs. The people that have left [positive] reviews are employees of the company. What does that tell you?!?