Shadow Shopper Review: Is It Legit or A Waste of Time?

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Shadow ShopperCompanies out there would do anything to get the most honest feedback from their customers, including paying people to shop secretly and tell of their experience. Some companies like Shadow Shopper claim to connect people willing to shop anonymously for money, with companies willing to pay these secret shoppers. Maybe you're already aware of this and have gone through a couple of Shadow Shopper reviews, but you're still unsure of this company.

Well, we have everything you might want to know, and I would strongly suggest you read this review before signing up.

What is Shadow Shopper?

Shadow Shopper located at is a middleman company that claims to connect mystery shoppers with mystery shopping companies. Shadow Shopper LLC was started in 2003 in Carson City, Nevada by Christopher Valeri and David Nienberg.

How Does Shadow Shopper Work?

At the time of this review you can sign up, for the Bronze membership which is free, or the Gold membership which requires a monthly payment. Once you become a member of Shadow Shopper you will be notified of mystery shopping jobs within your area. If you didn't know, Mystery Shopping jobs is when you get paid to shop anonymously and provide feedback about your experience to companies. Once you complete the assignment, the respective company pays you.

How Much Is The Shadow Shopper Membership Fee?

At the time of this review Shadow Shopper changed their membership system. Bronze membership is free, but only for a week. After that you have to be a paying member if you are to continue using their services. If you choose to become a paying member, the Premium Gold membership will cost you $6.95 a month. You will then be hooked up with a spruced up profile that will allegedly be more appealing to potential recruiters. You can pay your subscription fee via PayPal, Credit/Debit Card or mailed check.

If you don't like the idea of having to pay any membership fees to earn, you may want to look into or!

How Do I Apply For Shadow Shopper Membership?

All you have to do is create an account through their website and pay the membership fee if you so desire. You have to be over 18 living in either the US, Australia or Canada.

If you are looking for an opportunity to work at home from anywhere in the world you can check out My Top Work At Home Recommendation.

How Much Money Can I Make with Shadow Shopper?

It's not set in stone how much you can earn with Shadow Shopper. It appears bronze members barely make money, as the access to the available mystery shopping jobs is limited for that level. However, paying members claim to be earning roughly $5,000 a year. If that's not enough money for you, you may want to consider My Top Work At Home Recommendation.

How Does Shadow Shopper Pay You?

Remember when I said that Shadow Shopper is a middleman at the start of this review? Well, because they aren't actually a mystery shopping company, they don't actually pay you directly. You will actually be paid by the mystery company they have listed on their site that you signed up with. According to Shadow Shopper most companies pay via PayPal once you hand in your shopping report. Others you will request an invoice and make payments via PayPal, wired transfer or mailed check.

What We Like About Shadow Shopper

Paying members do earn

Apparently some paid members of Shadow Shopper have claimed they were easily able to recover their monthly fee after securing their first mystery shopping gig.

Shadow Shopper Complaints

So up to this point you may have thought everything was sweet. Or if you're like me, you're already asking yourself questions like why do I need a middleman to find these mystery shopping gigs. Either way, if you're wondering what the cons are for this company, we've laid them out below.

Why Do I Need To Pay A Middleman?

Well, you don't. There are tons of mystery shopping companies you can find online without spending a dime if you know where to look. I don't mind investing in things that help make my life easier, but I don't think this is one of the cases where this service is necessary if you know how to use Google. It's not like your paid membership provides you the benefit of guaranteed work. They make this abundantly clear in their terms of conditions, in tiny font size of course.

What Are You Doing With My Info?

So you may not realize this, but when you sign up for an account with Shadow Shoppers, you're agreeing that they can share your information with others. But it seems like they will share that information to whoever pays them the most. So your info may end up in the hands of scammers. Users have complained of being contacted by people offering jobs only turning out to be scams.

Negative BBB

For those of you who wouldn't touch a company with a 10 foot pole before knowing its Better Business Bureau status, you might want to know that Shadow Shopper's current BBB score at the time of writing this review is a D.

If you prefer working for companies with positive BBB ratings, you may want to check out or

More Shadow Shopper Cons

Don't quit your day job boo boo!

In general mystery shopping gigs don't pay a lot. You'll need a lot of them to make any decent money. And that is based on supply and demand. So it's not something I would say you can replace your income with consistently. If you want to do that, you may want to check out My Top Work At Home Recommendation if you are looking to earn real money working part time or full time.

It's not global

Shadow Shopper is only available to Americans, Australians and Canadians. So if you live outside of the U.S., Canada or Australia then “sorry for ya” according to Shadow Shopper. It may just be a supply demand thing so don't take it personally. You may want to look into something like Clixsense or Wealthy Affiliate instead.

Your “free” membership is worth that.

Don't expect to sign up for the bronze membership and get tons of work. It is really designed to get you to upgrade to a full membership which gives you access to far more mystery shopping gigs. But at least they give you a sneak peak at what you can expect which I do appreciate it.

Is Shadow Shopper Jobs Legitimate?

Shadow Shoppers are a middleman that seems to be unnecessary. But apparently some members claim you can get you paid, if you're willing to pay for the membership. However, it does not guarantee you work. Furthermore will share and sell your information to anyone, including scammers from what users have said. So I'm not sure if I would recommend Shadow Shoppers.

There are other ways you can earn money like or and it doesn't require you to leave your home. And if you are shopping for a real income opportunity online, check out My Best Work At Home Recommendation which can help you earn a full or part time income.

Don't forget to leave your two cents right down below, we would love to know about your experience with Shadow Shopper.

Until next time

Eddy with a Y

8 thoughts on “Shadow Shopper Review: Is It Legit or A Waste of Time?”

  1. In 2008, I saw an advertisement for Shadow Shopper and signed up. I was skeptical because it was a $99 annual membership for the year with a money back guarantee. I signed up for the free site first and then saw that I couldn’t see all the jobs specifications unless I bought the annual membership. So I dove in. I made that money back within the first week I shopped.

    As I got jobs on Shadow Shopper, I begin collecting the website names and information in a notebook. As I found the websites, I wrote them down and then the following year, I didn’t need to sign up for the membership.

    I have been mystery shopping on and off for the last 15 years, and I can tell you—without a doubt—- that it has now replaced my full-time job and I make a lucrative income of over $5000 per month. I do have to get my taxes in order, but I am able to write off portions of my house, my cell phone use, and any electronic equipment I buy. Another added bonus, is that my car and mileage is also a right off. My schedule is my own and I have multiple $1000 days each year, especially around the Christmas holiday.

    I have traveled as far as Key West Florida to do a shop, but most are local. Some shops pay nothing and others pay a lot. I have some companies that I stick close to because there is consistent work. The article’s author is correct in saying that it is difficult to consistently find work—unless you have access to lots of different platforms and websites. The work is not for everyone and it is very important that anyone going into it be able to read quickly and have a good handle on using handheld technology.

    Over the past 15 years, I have seen mystery shopping change from scanning and desktop, computers, along with mailing in photos to being primarily done through your handheld device. I am able to create routes using free apps like Road Warrior, where I used to use MapQuest and print out a route. I remember my first year being so excited that I got a Garmin for Christmas! I’m also able to except a job and then once I’m done in a faraway place (or even in planning before I go) open up apps and websites to find more jobs in the area. Times have really changed and it has become even easier to find this work. However, the competition for this work is also growing.

    You need to be very conscientious, and complete work that you accept. The business is very nepotist, and all of the schedulers, even if they work for different companies, tend to know one another. They will communicate with each other to refer shoppers back-and-forth that they know are high-quality. They will also let each other know if someone is not reliable and should not be given work.

    There are lots of new companies that are app-based that are trying to replace the companies like Shadow Shopper and other online websites. These companies don’t pay as much, and while the apps are easy to navigate, the work pays considerably less.

    Therefore, using Shadow Shopper as a springboard to finding the high-quality companies is a very good idea, unless you can find someone in the biz to get you started. I help people all the time and people wonder why, but there is so much work out there no one person could do it all.

  2. Okay. I have used ShadowShopper in the past. Yes, they are a middleman, but for anyone seriously looking into becoming a mystery shopper, auditor, merchandiser or otherwise they are an invaluable resource. Yes, the $6.95 a month is worth it as it will put you directly in touch with legitimate mystery shopping companies as well as training modules those companies take into consideration in hiring you as a contractor if you do them and get good scores. The purpose of this fee is not only to keep the website up and running but also to weed out people just looking for a quick buck.

    MSPA is also a training company that will background check you and verify you as well as training modules. MSPA does not link you to companies, but gives you a number that can be input on the applications of the companies you link to on ShadowShopper. This # gives you priority in getting initial job offers from companies. The rest is up to you (completing and giving accurate reports).

    Please understand that mystery shopping is a business. These mystery shopping companies have legitimate contracts with big name corporations and they HAVE to have contractors that they can count on. If you are serious about becoming a mystery shopper, you will need the resources available on ShadowShopper.

    I saw a comment about $5000/yr. Yes, that’s possible, however I will say you can make A LOT more using these resources. Less than $1000/mo is a bad month for me. I planned a route one day that paid me over $345 for the day, plus free breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a free shower at the start and end of my day. Oh.. let’s not forget the free oil change I got on my pick-up that day as well, plus free gas, and free snacks. I even got a free LG smartphone just for demoing the product a couple days a week for a few hours x 6 weeks. I got to keep the phone and it had a free month of service on it as well.

    Is there start-up costs? Well, yes, of course. Isn’t there with any business? The free stuff comes in the form of reimbursements. I paid for the oil change on site, submitted my report and reciept, then was refunded the cost of the oil change as well as paid the shop fee of $12.

    Oh, I forget the free tanning. That was a blast! I got a membership good for all tanning salons of that company, could tan whenever I wanted to, and when the shop came around, I’d snag it at all three locations and guess what? That paid for my membership!

    I say all this in the past tense, because I haven’t been able to mystery shop for several years. I’m so excited to get back into it and will be doing so in the next few days. Back then it took 30-60 days to get paid from some of the companies, but with apps and technology advances many pay in just a few days, 15 at the most.

    I looked up my ShadowShopper and saw this post, I had to say something because I’ve used them and I know they are legit. Do you have to pay for the $6.95 for forever? No… only until you’ve gotten signed up with the companies you want. If that only takes you a month then great. They do have a 3-month plan at a discount if you want to give yourself a little more time.

    Mostly be serious, be reliable and be consistently accurate and you can make a lot of money out there doing all kinds of things. I even got the opportunity to test drive a brand new Dodge Charger the first year they brought them back out and they paid me $65 to do it. See a movie? Sure… Play at an amusement park? Sure… Have dinner with your sweetheart? Sure… Whatever you want to do, there’s someone out there that needs a spy in the mix to tell them what’s really going on from a customer perspective!

    Good luck out there and happy shopping!!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. A lot of the perks you described are because of shops you landed not necessarily because of the middleman of shadow shopper. You can find tons of legitimate mystery shopping companies on your own.

      That said there is a convenience in having someone else do that leg work for you. I never really view mystery shopping as a business because you have very little control of the money you make and the assignment you get. But it sounds like there are some strategies you can employ to make it worth your while consistently based on what you’ve laid out above.

      You’ve given folks something to think about. So thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome. Yes, absolutely you must strategize and find what works for you, but as my next comment states ShadowShopper made it so easy. Can you find some of the companies on your own? Sure, but trust me when I tell you the best ones you’d never recognize as a mystery shopping company just by pulling up a website and many you can only link through to on SS. 🙂

  3. so im looking into to signing up for shadow shoppers and they have a section that states you can be a certified shadow shopper or mystery shopper. Is that legit or even necessary for a job they say you don’t need extensive experience on and all the companies will give you their instruction on how to shop anyway? I’m quite confused on whats a shadow shopper and a mystery shopper are they not the same?

  4. I signed up for Shadow Shoppers and received a Cashier’s Check for $2,320.00 was told to cash it and keep $300 for myself and buy gift cards from Walmart with the rest. I have done nothing so far. The letter with the instructions was so poorly written it was hard to understand what to do. Not sure if this is legit or not. Any feedback is welcome.


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