Dating service charged with consumer fraud
What to Research Before You Sign Up!
According to local news media, the Arizona Attorney General
has filed a civil suit against a Scottsdale-based company, doing business as
Great Expectations for Singles, for violating consumer fraud rules. The reports
include several issues that singles should research before using any dating
service or matchmaking firm.
Alleged illegal practices include
Memberships cost $6995 for one year, $7195 for three years, and $7495 for six
years, although $1000 discounts were available in all categories.
misrepresenting the number of current and new members joining each month,
including showing profiles and photos of people who were not clients or not
available for dating.
misrepresenting the number of marriages occurring between members.
using high-pressure sales tactics, including hours-long presentations.
unlawfully obtaining consumers' credit card information before the person
had agreed to purchase a membership.
falsely representing that the company would help the client prepare a
profile or select dates.
falsely representing that criminal background checks were conducted on all
pressuring consumers who wanted time to think about purchasing a
membership into making a "deposit" which in fact obligated them to
buy a membership.
How can you protect yourself if you are considering using a dating or
matchmaking service? While it can be hard to combat outright fraud, there are
some steps you can take:
Know your local consumer regulations for such purchases before you have
contact with any such company's sales staff. Know your rights.
Contact both the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General's
office to see if there are current complaints against the firm.
Ask other singles, especially leaders of singles groups and
organizations, about what they have heard about the firm, and whether they
know of any past customers you can contact.
Ask for references from the firm so that you can speak to satisfied past
customers. A service creating many happy marriages and relationships should
have people willing to give testimonials.
Ask for the name of the company doing background checks and follow up to
determine if they are actually doing such work for the firm.
Don't sign anything on the first visit. Take the contract with you and
look it over thoroughly.
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