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Better Business Bureau CT

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People Looking for Love Online Beware


Complaints to BBB Skyrocketing About Online Dating Services

Wallingford, CT, February 17, 2008 --(PR.com)-- While the Internet has changed the way people look for partners, there is no love lost between consumers and online dating services. For a growing number of people in Connecticut and across the nation, the search for love ends with a headache.

Complaints about online dating services filed with Better Business Bureau have jumped a whopping 73 percent in 2006 over the previous year, (2,525) and statistics being gathered for 2007 indicate the number of complaints will reach a new, record-breaking level.

According to BBB Connecticut CEO and President Paulette Hotton, just like many Internet services, consumers looking for love should take a step back and do their homework.

“As popularity of these sites grows, so do the number of complaints we receive,” says Hotton.

Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars on online dating sites every year, but there is growing dissatisfaction once love’s blindness wears off.

The online dating industry is basically divided into two categories: personalized matchmaking and online dating sites. Matchmaking sites find matches based on compatibility factors, while online dating services allow users to post information about themselves and photos, as well as search for other singles.

Some matchmaking services charge thousands of dollars, and promise to introduce clients to local singles that meet specific criteria. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

Typical Online Matchmaking Site Complaints:
• Disputes over the caliber and demographics of available singles promised. (35% of complaints) A significant number of complainants said, despite their specific criteria, they were matched with smokers, matches who were uneducated, lived too far away or even married
• Poor or rude customer services (17%) and high pressure sales (13.7%)
• Dissatisfaction with the number of arranged dates (15.1%)

Typical Online Dating Site Complaints:
• Contracts normally define a specific length of membership and charge a monthly fee. However, the contract is typically renewed automatically. As a result about two-thirds of complaints (63.7 %) are about accounts being automatically renewed. Many customers did not realize they needed to cancel; the account or they did take the necessary steps but billing continued anyway.
• Other common complaints about online dating sites include the inability to immediately cancel after signing up (6.8%) and the practice of the company contacting other singles on behalf of the complainant. (6.3%)

BBB Connecticut offers the following advice on matchmaking and other online dating services:
1) 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.

2) Do Your Homework
Check out the company with BBB Connecticut (www.bbb.org) to ensure it has a history of satisfying customers and resolving complaints.

3) Don’t give in to high pressure sales tactics
Sales associates may offer a “one day only price,” and ask you to sign a contract. Make sure you take the contract home or download it, read the contract carefully to understand what you are signing up and paying for.

4) Know how to “break up”
Do not assume you will stop being billed once the contract runs out. Many online dating sites automatically renew memberships automatically, and there are steps that must be taken, such as calling the company to keep from being billed again.

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Contact Information
Better Business Bureau CT
Howard Schwartz
203-279-2700 ext. 103
Contact
www.ct.bbb.org

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