Mystery Shopping Companies rally on Capitol Hill yesterday!
I belong to MSPA, The Mystery Shopping Providers Association and I flew to Washington, DC to defend the Independent Contractor status of mystery shoppers.
A bill was introduced that would eliminate the protections of Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 which essentially enables businesses to rely on a long-standing industry practice of treating shoppers as IC’s. We are very concerned that if this status were changed, it would be impossible for mystery shopping companies to continue business. We , as a group, use tens and even hundreds of thousands of professional freelance mystery shoppers to conduct customer service and sales evaluations and the very nature of the work assignments are totally IC oriented. Shoppers do the work on their own schedule, with their own tools, on the day they want, etc. They are paid per job and they are accepted for the job if they fit the profile of the “typical customer” so the need for shopping companies to have massive shopper pools is important.
This “fly In” was my first and I found it very educational. MSPA had set up appointments with 72 legislators, 145 member legislator contacts were made, 33 companies sent reps to participate and more than 50 people participated.
I was set up on a team with Christoper Warzynski and Gary Godding of Beyond Hello, Madison, Wisconsin.
We had set appointments with our respective state legislators: Suzanne Kosmas and George LeMieux of Florida and Tammy Baldwin and Russell Feingold of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, we did not meet directly with the legislators but did meet with their Legislative Assistants, who were all bright,smart, young people who took copious notes on our issues and concerns.
There are over 20 industries fighting this Independent Contractor status issue along with the Mystery Shopping Industry. They include Home Builders, Health care, Direct Selling and the Trucking Industry.
We plan to follow-up and continue this fight as this cause is a vital one for us to stay in business.
Does it make sense for our shoppers to be re-classified as employees (to collect revenue tax) and then causing the bigger issue of mystery shopping companies going out of business because they would not be able to support 100, 1,000 or 10,000 shoppers payroll tax ??
Win the battle, lose the war??