Great Expectations / fraud/ disceptive business practices
I responded to a dating service, named Great Expectations, add online by phone and spoke to Hiede.. I was told that pricing was not available and I need to make an appointment. On january 2 2010 I had an appointment with a Elaina Mcmillan at 12:30 pm, a representative of Great Expectations. At the beginning of the interview She ask a lot of personal questions and knew that I was “down and out” (depressed). She then proceeded to tell me about the program and how the website works, including about members who are inactive . Their profiles are there, but you cannot correspond because they “ freeze” their account.. You can freeze your profile in order to save time on your membership while you date a fellow member. During the conversation I wanted to know how many members are enrolled and she said 1800 members. And so I ask, what is the ratio of members that are male to female. She responded to “about 50-50”. And my next question to her was “ what is the ratio of ladies that are in my age pool to choose from? Her response was “25% of the membership” . I responded “then that is 450 “.( 25% of 1800 ) She paused and then said” yes that is correct . you know your math” . I said that i am good at math. I concluded that the other half of the ladies must be older then 40 and younger then 30. The price of membership I felt is extravagant and I thought there can’t be many under 30. So the ratios seemed about right at 450 in the age bracket we discussed . She proceeded to tell me the program packages and told me that if I leave without signing a contract and come back, that the $1000 discount is not available. Hence, high pressure sales. With the pressure on hand and depressed, I felt that this could help me . Especially that the numbers she gave me, I felt I should have ample supply to choose from. So base on that, I signed the contract. She also informed me that you need to make an appointment with the photographer. And Also I would not be able to use the web site until the photos and video are completed. The photographer name is Mintah. I do not know her last name..So i made the earliest appointment available . That appointment was 1/6/10 at 11:15am.. After the contract was signed, then the appointment was made for the photoshoot . 4 days later after the contract was sign. She(Elaine) then gave me paperwork for the photographer with additional information that included the options you can upgrade on the site page.. Which she did not mention to me.. These upgrades are useful tools to respond to and to be more personable. These options were not discuss with me and Elaina . I made the appointment on time for the photoshoot. After the photo shoot and video, Mintah explained that these options are being used by “ almost all members have it “and the pressure to want to be able to have equal opportunity as the others. I signed for it, not realizing this is typically the same option you get for free in the online dating sites . When Mintah said goodbye, I was then given many pages of paperwork that was an orientation .This orientatione should had been given to me when I walked in. This orientation paperwork showed everything you need to know about the service site. I thought why was I given this now? I left there @ 2:40 PM unsure now what i had done.. I went to work for the rest of the day and after I got home, I went to the site to search for the ladies in my age bracket (30-40 years of age) with no breakdown of options. After exhausting my search including inactive members, I thought there should have been more to see. I then proceded to count the number of profiles in my search bracket and found 221 profiles. I was shocked. I started too feel I was deceived . I did not sleep well and awoke the next morning ( 1/7/10) to want to recount and I found the same results . I went to work and Could not work effectively and I made some calls and went home to resolve the situation. I called the credit card company and told me I need to talk to great expectations first before I make a dispute of charges. I called @ 4:30 pm and asked for a representative and I talked to Hiede and told the whole story to her and she said that I must talk to DeeDee the head Director. I called again at 6:30 pm and ask for DeeDee and found out she is still in a interview. So I left a message on her voicemail, The at 7:00 pm I called again and got in touch and discussed the whole story again. She the told me that the numbers were correct but that must included male and females I said why would I want males included, she said that was part of your question . I said you are twisting my question. I was specific when I ask for % of ladies. She was talking to me as though she was in the room with Elaina. She hasn’t even talked to Elaina yet. She also said that Elaina is not good in math. I said, that she should have gotten advise before she aknowlages 450 ladies to me, if she is not good in math. I also complained that the options they sold me on the photoshoot day was never discussed by Elaina or any other staff member. Though they gave me photoshoot orientation paperwork which did mention about options on the web site. But not in detail and by then the contract and payment had been completed. Dee Dee offered me to drop the options charges of $1529.00, during this phone conversation, and I said yes. DeeDee then told me that she is calling Elaina after the call and wanted to have a 3 way conversation with Elaina and me tomorrow 1/8/10 and she let me know when. As of now at12:30pm 1/8/10 she has not called me. Elaina sold me this service without informing me about other upgrades that are very useful tools that “almost everyone has it”. She withheld information. And misinformed me about my search criteria. I could not dispute this case any earlier then I have. I did not wait around or let any time go by to respond to this matter. I was contacted by E-mail by the director on Friday the 8th to let me know that Elaina wasn’t available till Monday the 11th. To have a conversation. They delayed this situation. They are open on Saturday as well.? I had now retained an attorney on Friday and he advised me to take notes when we have this 3-way conversation. DeeDee asked me is 12:30 pm on Monday the 11th . I said yes, I stopped working and waited and then they called me at 3:00 pm. Very inconsiderate. Delay after delay. They do not consider this as an important matter. I taped recorded the conversation and written it down for my attorney.( ATTACHED LETTER) In the conversation they denied any wrong doing and also was twisting my words. I then ask about the options charge being taken off. Dee Dee said, ”I said no”, that iwas willing to discuss this with Elaina. Another made up lie. I then started research on the internet and was not surprised to find repeated bad business practices across the U.S. Including the denver branch and Attorney general of Arizona which took them to court and settled for $500, 000. As of 1.5 year ago. This company ask for a background check and credit check on me and I realized they use my credit check to see what kind of money I have or credit power. Then they charge what they feel they can get out of me. Being in that mental state, they took advantage of me. They obviously don’ t want to return my money base they get paid by commission. Though they say they want to help me.? Here is the phone conversation below. . Phone conversation of Steven Vey (S) with Great Expectations on Monday January 11, 2010
Head Director name is Didi Hirsch (D)
My Sales Rep's name is Elaina McMillan (E)
This is a phone call back to resolve 1. Why wasn’t my options charge retracted like she offered on Thursday (1/7/10, phone call.) 2. Why Elaina give me incorrect information, also, not inform me about the whole program or not giving orientation literature until after the contract was signed. 3 To retract all charges in full. D - Elaina did not quote any numbers
S - She is not telling the truth, the number came up after my question, out of 1800 members what is the percentage of women in the membership that is in my search group? She said 25%. I responded with "450" and Elaina paused and said "yes." So we agreed that 450 women that I will be able to choose from in my search pool.
E – Says, now because my math is not my strong suit, I gave you some general statistics. Also she says when I gave you the math, it was correct and it's pretty accurate.
S - That's incorrect, on how we came to 450. You agreed to it, you confirmed that. That given, I figured that would be ample supply to choose from. Not even half that amount was in the website. So there was a number discussed (225 never was a figure discussed.)
E - Roughly 900 are women, I said I did not know for sure and that I was guessing.
S - No you did not say you were guessing.
D - She says again that she says that she was guessing 20-25%. Just so you would know there are 225 women.
S - That answer should have been 12% of 1800, my question was, out of 1800 what is the percentage of women I have in my pool to choose from? You said 25%, my response was "That's 450 women to choose from, is that right?" Elaina paused and said "Yes."
E - Do you remember anything of this conversation?
S - I do remember exactly what you said, and I don't make up anything.
E - No look, you need to calm down, your personality has changed drastically. I want to help you, you need to understand that I may have agreed to the number you came up with, I did not do the math, and I made a joke about my math skills, and so I trusted your math was right. Your math wasn't right.
S - My math is correct, 25% of 1800 equals 450. You agreed to 25% of the membership.
E - First of all, I did not say that with such conviction. What I actually said was only probably about 25%, so already your recollection is a little off.
S - No it's not, no way because I went home and had an immediate reaction. You misinformed me, misled me, and I feel deceived. There were many things you did not tell me about, V-Pops and V-Grams costing any extra money and did not get that info until after I signed the contract.
D - I told you this is not part of your membership. Something the photographer sells as an option.
S - That should have been revealed by you when I signed. You did not reveal that.
D - It's not a part of your membership.
S - You did not supply those options upfront.
D - It's an option, Steve.
S - I got the information when the photos were being completed.
D - We don't have to tell that information.
S - You don't have to?
D - No.
S - Those options are part of Great Expectations and you are all the same company. And you are not going to pawn this to somebody else within your company.
D - We were not withholding anything from you.
S - Yes, you did not tell me there were going to be any other costs involved.
D - You do not have to buy options.
S - If you are doing business properly, you could reveal all information instead of playing this game and being sneaky.
D - We have not deceived people before.
S - Yes you have, I have seen reports on you guys. (BBB)
D - No we have not.
S - Yes you have, the bottom line is that 450 is what you agreed with me and don't say it includes men.
D - No one lied.
S - Also I did not receive orientation paperwork until Wednesday 1/6/10 after the photo shoot.
D - You got it beforehand.
S - I got it after.
D - OK, alright.
S- On Thursday, 1/7/10 I called at 7PM (my third attempt) you twisted my words when I was explaining myself to you. Because you were defending Elaina, you hadn't even talked to her. So I waited Friday for you to call me like you said. Another thing you did not retract the charge for options like you offered. I said yes, and also retract my membership. So two things you said you would do and you didn't do it.
Three things I want to say, 1) I am disputing the charges with my credit card company. 2) I have retained an attorney to handle this matter. 3) Immediately cancel my membership and give me full credit back.
D - I can't do that, I am sorry.
S - You are scammers.
She hangs up.
I called up again and said "She should have asked fellow workmates about the figure we agreed on and you did offer to me to take the option charge off and you did not.
D - After I offered that to you, you said no, you wanted all the charges taken off, but I couldn't do that, and so we were going to have to have a conversation with Elaina. If you disputed the credit card charges, that is where you are going. I cannot retract any charges.
S – When you offered, I said YES, retract the charge and also the membership charge also. I never said no. You are making that up.( why would I say No? ) Also I was told by Minta (photographer) that "I won't be getting good responses without the options and almost everyone has it. It is an effective way to get the person you want, and people with it are going to be ahead of you if you don’t have it. " Why wasn't it brought up until then?
No answer, no response.
S - You got anything to say?
D - Nope.
She hangs up.
These two people in this conversation are obviously denying what they said to me in order keep my money. They have twisted my wording when I talk to them and cannot acknowledge they made mistakes . I ask them if they are perfect and never make a mistake ? And they did not respond. This company has made many poor business practices in the past, which you can find in the Denver BBB. Right there is one concrete lie.. Their policy says once you sign you cannot use the web site until photos are completed in house. I could not use the site until Wednesday night (1/6/10). The photographer is only available wed.- Saturday. I believe they will not make photo appointments until 3 business days or more, I would have disputed sooner, I did contact Bank of America ( dispute dept.)on That Thursday, But the charge ($1529.23 on 1/6/10)was still pending and I was advised to call the company and I did. That when she offered to retract that charge, and now she said, I said no??? Another lie. These people are doing this for money, not to help me get acquainted with a female. This is a company that should not exist and if this case sides on their behalf, they will continue these kind of practices. I could not address this matter any sooner then I have. How can I dispute when I cannot see what they sold me?
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