What: Certified Field Associates, sometimes known as MarketForce, provides mystery shopping jobs, but has a rotten payment record. 

Expected pay: minimal

HuslScore: $

Where: National

Requirements: Free time and a pulse


Certified Field Associates, sometimes known as MarketForce, provides mystery shopping jobs, but has a rotten payment record. 

Dozens of former workers have complained to the BBB about a host of abuses, from “invalidating” shopper reports — which gives the company an excuse not to pay you — to requiring a ridiculous amount of work for practically no pay.

We’d advise you to avoid Certified Field Associates and it’s sister company MarketForce. Mystery shopping is not a highly paid profession, but it does offer lots of flexibility and, sometimes, free stuff. If you want to find mystery shopping gigs, check out BestMark and SecretShopper, which both appear to offer better pay and opportunities.

You may also want to read our blog post on what it’s like to be a mystery shopper

What their shoppers say:

“This is a terrible company. They are disrespectful to their contractors and have vague guidelines. Yet, they expect perfection and will not hesitate to invalidate a report. That means they found a technicality upon which to withhold payment. I suspect they still submit these to the client and it is a way to get work done for free. They are a shady company who does not value those who do the work for them, nor do they value their time and effort. Pay is ridiculously low and not worth it.

This company sets standards as if you are an employee but pays you well below minimum wage. For instance: Shop at a jewelers where you are required to shop on a certain day, read and print the paperwork, do a certification test, shop, then login and fill out a narative to their subjective desires. They tell you how long it should be and when it has to be done. Pay? $8.00. 

Editor’s Note:

Market Force’s answer to the following BBB complaint should give you an idea of why you shouldn’t waste your time with these jokers. Short version: This worker had to fight to get paid $12 — $7.02 of which was her out-of-pocket cost.

Problems with Product/Service 


I completed the job on the day, time and at the location asked of me. The shop was done correctly as stated in their requirements and I submitted all receipts showing the location, amount paid, time and who the cashier was. During the time to do paperwork online, a “T” was put in front of the name of the person I spoke to. The rest of the spelling of the name was correct. They marked it “invalid” and refuse to pay me. It angers me that though I submitted the receipt and did everything right, they refuse to pay me. It’s like they found a reason to not pay me instead of looking past a small error that doesn’t effect the job itself. People are human and mistakes are made. 

Desired Resolution: My monies for this job. I paid $7.02 out of pocket which was promised to be reimbursed and the additional $5 promised to complete the shop, which I completed correctly.

MarketForce response:

The Complainant acknowledges that somehow when she was entering her shop data into her report the name of one of the employees was misspelled.  The mystery shopper has an obligation to review her report data prior to hitting the Submit button. If mistakes are caught by us or the Client, as they were in this case, the shopper risks having her shop be invalidated.  Usually by the time the Client or we discover a mistake in a shop, it is too late to pull it back. The shop is put out for reassignment immediately.  An uncaught mistake also calls into question whether other mistakes were made in the report.  We will not be offering this shopper any more assignments. In return, we will pay her the sum requested.