Corporate Research International, often referred to as CoRI by independent contractors, is a well known company in the mystery shopping industry. CoRI offers convenience store audits, pizza buffer shops, retail shops, and phone shops around the United States. According to their website, they also offer some international shops.
The pay range for Corporate Research International is quite interesting because it varies like no other mystery shopping company I have ever seen. Still, CoRI is known for trying to get their mystery shoppers to complete shops for next to nothing. The rates of telephone shops seem to stay around two dollars. The base rate of their retail shops are four dollars, and the base rate of their convenience store audits begin at a whopping …drum roll please… six dollars. Yes, Corporate Research International would like you to conduct their shops for $2, $4, or $6. Have no fear because there is always a silver lining! Shop commissions will continue to increase if the shops are not immediately picked up. Therefore, patience brings forth rewards with this mystery shopping company. Just make sure to be aware of the new, eager, and clueless mystery shoppers in your area who jump at the opportunity to snatch up $2, $4, or $6 shops. Why? The world may never know.
This company used to have a good reputation because of their quick payment schedule. A shop done by Monday of this week would be paid no later than Friday of the following week. However, CoRI recently revised their independent contractor agreements which now state they have up to thirty days to send out payments. Unless you are hard pressed for cash, this probably won’t be a deal breaker for you. Plus, if you’ve become familiar with the secret world of mystery shopping, this payment schedule still seems quick compared to other mystery shopping companies who wait sixty to ninety days before paying their independent contractors.
Corporate Research International is regularly discussed on MysteryShopForum. For a look at what other mystery shoppers have to say about CoRI, check out this company’s page at
http://www.mysteryshopforum.com/companies/?Corporate_Research_International. The consensus on the forum is that Corporate Research International seems to be lowballing their mystery shoppers because of the less than minimum wage payments initially offered for completing an assignment. Other complaints include not being able to reach someone at CoRI to answer a shop question, shops being rejected for insignificant reasons, technical difficulties, and CoRI’s nonsensical rating system. Still, many shoppers love this company because of the bonuses that they receive after waiting for commission increases in their area. Seasoned independent contractors of CoRI have also made complaints about not getting the opportunity to select highly bonused shops other shoppers are too quick to take the assignments for little to nothing. It is best describes as a game of cat and mouse waiting for rates to increase while also weighing the probability that another over-enthusiastic shopper might not have the same standing power that you have.
CoRI! CoRI! CoRI! Let me count the ways that I love-and hate-thee! I must say that I do like CoRI because of the shop commission increases, but I also dislike CoRI because they don’t seem to value their independent contractors. It is not just the low base rates that bother me, but also the lack of consideration for mystery shoppers. I have only come across this particular individual once, but she is a Client Operations Support Representative at Corporate Research International who, in my experience, is very cold and disrespectful. I once drove out of my way to complete a shop at a location that was closed when I arrived. I called and emailed the representative assigned to my shop, but she took days to respond to my numerous attempts to contact her. When she finally did respond, her email response was accusatory and short in tone. She basically told me that it was my fault because the responsibility of knowing whether a shop would be closed or not rests upon me, as the independent contractor. Seriously? It rests upon the independent contractor for a whopping base pay of… six dollars. Granted, the shop I had was bonused, but with those types of expectations, why would one even consider to list a shop at such a price.
To become a shopper with Corporate Research International, visit www.mysteryshops.com and select the “Become a Shopper” option on the top right of the page. Follow the instructions provided on the screen, enter your personal information, and you should be able to start self assigning shops in no time at all. Well, right after you graduate from CoRI’s Auditor University of course! To accept assignments with CoRI, you first have to qualify and pass a test for each client you choose to conduct assignments for. The information needed to pass these tests is provided to you through videos and written guidelines in the Auditor University. These tests are not difficult to pass, but they are annoying to take.
All other issues aside, during my time with Corporate Research International, I have never even considered doing a shop that was not highly bonused. Some actors refuse to roll out of bed for less than a million dollars. Well, I refuse to roll out of bed, get dressed, start my car up, drive to the shop destination, follow the shop guidelines to the letter, and come home to fill out a report for anything less than a highly commissioned assignment. Especially for a company that likes to reject shops. Fellow mystery shoppers, we must unite and not accept shops at $2, $4, or $6. Seriously, please stop it folks.