Selected Press Release
Title MSPA Grants 20,000th Shopper Certification
Date Published 09/14/2004
Author MSPA
Publication MSPA Web site

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), the largest professional trade association dedicated to improving service quality using anonymous consumers, recently announced it granted its 20,000th certification.

In November 2002, the MSPA established its certification program at the request of its members, mystery shopping providers, who wanted to better serve their clients by having industry-standard education, practices and qualifications for mystery shoppers. In less than two years, the certification program has exceeded all of the MSPA projections.

"We are very excited and amazed at the number of shoppers who have already become certified in such a short amount of time," said John Swinburn, Executive Director of the MSPA. "The certification program is a way for mystery shoppers to become better trained in the essentials of being a good mystery shopper. This is a testimony that the caliber of mystery shoppers is continuing to rise to new heights."

The MSPA offers two levels of certification: Silver and Gold. A shopper can become Silver certified by taking a short online course at the MSPA Web site (

After obtaining Silver certification, mystery shoppers can achieve Gold certification by attending a Gold Certification Workshop, a one-day seminar held in 25 cities throughout the United States each year. At the conclusion of the seminar, a test is administered, and those shoppers who pass the test are awarded Gold certification.

The MSPA estimates there are approximately one million mystery shoppers in the United States and 250,000 internationally. Currently, there are 18,304 Silver certified shoppers and 1,696 Gold certified shoppers.

Mystery shoppers are encouraged to become certified, but it is not a requirement to be a mystery shopper. For more information about becoming a certified mystery shopper, visit the following Web site:

About the MSPA

With more than 150 member companies worldwide, the MSPA has a diverse membership, including marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms, training organizations and companies that specialize in providing mystery shopping services. Its goals are to establish professional standards and ethics for the industry, educate providers, clients and shoppers to improve quality of service, improve the image of the industry and promote the membership to other industry associations and prospective clients.