If you're looking to find the man or woman of your dreams, BBB warns that complaints against matchmaking and online dating services are on the rise. Don't become part of the growing number of consumers across the U.S. who have gone looking for love but found only a headache.
Consumer complaints filed with BBB on dating services increased 73 percent in 2006 over the previous year, for a heart-stopping total of 2,525 complaints. While final complaint numbers for 2007 are still forthcoming, early analysis shows that the numbers of complaints in 2007 are expected to again reach record-breaking levels for the industry.
The dating services industry is basically divided into two categories: more-personalized matchmaking companies and online dating Web sites. The two services take a different approach to helping people find love and as a result, the types of complaints to BBB are divergent.
BBB offers the following advice on matchmaking and online dating services:
- Don’t fall in love with the advertising. Beware of claims such as, an exclusive network of people, for sincere daters only, and beautiful singles just like you. Recently, BBB’s National Advertising Division provided a decision in a case between rival online services, requiring one to stop advertising that its methods were based on “the latest science of attraction.”
- Do your homework. Checkout the company with BBB (www.bbb.org) to make sure it has a history of satisfying customers and resolving complaints.
- Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics. Sales associates may tell people that a low price is only good for that day and and ask them to sign a contract immediately. People should take the contract home, read it carefully and make sure they understand what they are signing up and paying for.
- Know how to break up. Consumers should not assume that they will stop being billed once the contract runs out. Many online dating sites automatically renew memberships and there are steps that must be taken, such as calling the company, to keep from being billed again.
For more trustworthy information on matchmaking and online dating services, consumers can access BBB Reliability ReportsTM free-of-charge at www.bbb.org.