I have been wary about trying mystery shopping because is seems like a scam. They want you to go pay for something and then reimburse you later but only if you complete certain things within their requirements or you don't get paid. I've heard people go and not get paid for a month or so. I don't have that kind of money to just blow on something that might pay me. Has anyone done it successfully? Do you actually make money doing it or do you just get part of what you paid for reimbursed, I've heard so many horror stories.
I used to do mystery shopping and it is true, you have to pay upfront and then you scan in your receipts and they reimburse you later once the job has been completed, as in on their side they have filed the job.
They can deny payment for any infraction such as going at the wrong time, buying the wrong item or being spotted as the mystery shopper. It's called a failed shop and you will get zero pennies. You often get a small fee for doing it, but while $10 a shop may seem good, think of your transport costs, parking, time reading the notes, uploading the images, and writing the report which is all time sensitive. Also you will pay tax on this.
I stopped because some companies were so nit picking, and one I did like where I had restaurant visits would make me pay cash only so that there was no name to trace back. It can leave a dent paying upfront and with no guarantee when you will the money back.