Catholics/Is secret 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?

I can understand why you might think this is lying or deceitful.  

At the same time the only way to get accurate information about the quality of service at different places is precisely to pretend to be a customer.  I do know that car salesmen expect this- because I know one and he commented on it.  He said it is frustrating for him to waste time on a non-sale but it is part of the job.  

In fact this helps keep these places of business on their toes since they never know if the person they are "helping" is evaluating them.   

Since most if not all places of business know that this happens in order to evaluate the quality of service--it might be considered a pain in the neck by them since again they waste time on a non-sale, nevertheless they do understand it happens and they expect it. They know that it is part of the job and part of the routine to ensure they are doing a good job.  

I would therefore suggest that "secret shopping" is morally acceptable.  While the staff do not know when someone might be evaluating them or who is doing so, nevertheless they do expect it as part of their job performance evaluation.  


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Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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