Catholics/Mystery shopping ok?


I have signed up to do secret shopping for some extra money, and was wondering about the morality of it.  Some of the jobs entail pretending to be interested in a product or service.For example, I saw a job where I would need to pretend I was interested in a car and go to the dealership to evaluate the service.  I would then report back to the company my observations and customer service experience.  Is this considered lying and deception?

First of all, can you be sure you wouldn't be interested in the car (or whatever), as distinct from simply not being in the market for one at this time?
Second, I would assume that such dealerships are notified in general that such spot checking is always possible, even if there is no information to them as to who or when is it being done.  The goal of such a check would be to ensure that these firms are complying with laws themselves.  If this uncovers some illegitmate activities (e. g. selling a car they know to be defective or even dangerous) then you have performed a genuine public service.  And if it shows they are doing everything perfectly right and above board, certainly it would be fair to at least see that they and their customers can know that they have passed a very important test.
But remember, though your purpose might be to be this "secret shopper," they do nevertheless have a legitimate opportunity to give their sales pitch, and in fairness you can listen to it, deciding (separate from your "secret shopper" role) whether you might be actually interested in the product.  There is no need to buy it of course, only to hear the pitch out exactly as if some other set of circumstances had brought you there.
I think those considerations should be able to put your conscience at ease as to any "deception" on your part.  If they ask if you are doing such a thing you must admit it, but if they do not then there is no obligation to bring it up.
My extreme apologies for the delay, hope this helps, God bless.


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Griff Ruby


I focus on the "why" and "how" questions of the Faith and one`s need for the Church to overcome sin, live the life God wishes us, and to become what God wants us to be. I seek to provide insight and information such that you are then able to see for yourself the answer to your questions.


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