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Soulmates dating service / Is it a rip off?

1 800 E Northwest Hwy # 820Palatine, IL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: (847) 359-9601

This happened a few weeks ago, but I just haven't been able to get it off my mind.

I'm a business owner and one day my admin. assistant asked me whether there was any way to get out of a contract she had entered into with a dating service called Soulmates. I told her that depends on the terms of the contract, and asked if I could see it.

She told the dating service had never provided her with a copy. So I told her to just call and ask them to fax her one and I'd take a look.

Well, she was on the phone for quite a while and didn't seem to be getting anywhere. I was getting a little impatient to get back to work, so I gestured her to hand me the phone, and told the operator that I was her boss, and asked if there any reason she couldn't just send her a copy of her contract?

The woman promptly hung up the phone on me! I tried calling back several times--and couldn't get an answer! I then called on a different line, and immediately got an answer, but when I asked why she had hung up on me, she started screaming, accusing me of being "rude" to her, and then threatened that if I called again, she would report me to the police!

What? I've been in business for many years and advocate for clients all the time with banks, federal and state agencies, etc., and have never before received such unprofessional response or ruder attitude before in my life! Especially after my assistant told me that she had paid over $4, 500 for this "dating service" to set her up with 14 referrals! WHAT? $4, 500 to go out with 14 men?

She explained that she had recently discovered that she had been a victim of an on-line "romance scam" and was devastated and extremely vulnerable when this "Soulmates, Inc." solicited her by phone, convincing her to go to their office by telling her a "mutual friend" had suggested they call her. I asked her if she had any idea who this supposed "mutual friend" might be, but she couldn't think of a single person, especially since she hadn't told anyone her on-line "boyfriend" was in reality, a scammer. As far as all her friends knew, not only was she still in a relationship with him--but they were planning on getting married!

My assistant told me that at Soulmate's office, the interviewer asked her if, she believed in love at first sight and implied that Soulmates could make that happen for her. She also assured her that they had a lot of "really great guys" and that she would "work closely" with her to find her perfect "soul mate." She was also told that they would match her up with dates in accordance to the specifications she selected, and after that, it would just be a matter of "chemistry."

The interviewer also asked "Are you ready for this?" and other questions that she said made her feel that she had to prove that she was "worthy" of their services, but what cinched the deal is when she questioned her extensively about her "dating history" until she broke down and started crying, and told her all about her on-line scammer boyfriend. From there, all the interviewer had to do to get her to sign was put her arm around her for comfort--and give her assurance that they run extensive background checks on all their applicants, so she shouldn't to worry about being "scammed" again! Oh, and of course, she was also told the $4, 500 deal was good "for today only, " pressuring her to sign immediately.

Well, it's been a couple of months, and they've set her up with 2 guys. Not only wasn't there any compatibility, but both had features she had explicitly stated, in writing, she did not find attractive. And at $4, 500 for 14 "matches, " for this, she paid $321.43 each!

To get a copy of the contract she signed, she had to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and when I checked their website, I found that there have been 48 complaints registered against this company in the past 3 years, and the company has a rating of NR, or "not rated", which is usually a result of either the company not being in business long enough, or because of the number of outstanding issues against it. As this company has been a member of the BBB for over 10 years, they've certainly been in business long enough to have received a rating.

The general complaints that have been registered against this company with the BBB include: Advertising misrepresented a service, unauthorized credit card charges, failure to honor a contract or agreement, failure to provide promised support or assistance, failure to respond to phone calls or written request for assistance or support, product quality issue, failure to provide promised refunds exchanges or credit, failure to honor refund exchange or credit policies. Along with sales presentation complaints, including: misrepresentation of product, misrepresentation of service, and failure to disclose key conditions of offer. There were also 10 service complaints, including: failure to honor the service estimate or agreement, and improper or inferior service. Along with a number of "unspecified" complaints.

Again, 48 in all that have been filed against this company with the BBB for resolution. With my assistant's, the number is now 49. By contrast, the Wal-Mart in Palatine has had only 2 complaints filed against it in the past 3 years, and the local Best Buy I shop at has had none. I also checked a number of other businesses I frequent, and not a single one of them has had ANY complaints filed with the BBB against them.

I then called several people I know in the dating service industry who told me that the number of men who employ dating services usually far exceeds the number of women--like 10 to 1 or more! I was also advised that as I described her as a "rather pretty young lady", by now she should virtually be "swimming in dates!" Well, I don't know about that, but only 2 after several months? And both who not only was she completely incompatible with, but actually found repulsive? Oh, she's been actively dating, several times a week no less--but not with Soulmate's referrals, she doesn't any problem finding dates. Oh, I was also told that to help improve their male/female ratios, the rates for women are usually sharply discounted, no where near $4, 500, not even for men.

I'm sorry, but in my opinion for $4, 500, if this company isn't capable of delivering on the services they led her to believe they could, then they shouldn't have taken her money--or should now refund it! I guess it goes without saying that when she finally received the contract she had signed, I didn't see much in the way of any provisions for recourse.

I'd really like to hear from anyone else who's had any similar or other negative experiences with this company.

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Comments

  • Fl
      27th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    Absolutely the truth...they are a rip off & feed on the desperation of people. They must have gotten my name from public records of people in the process of divorcing. I was under duress & they took advantage of that. I was ripped off $4800 in a high pressure sales scam. They did not provide me with the type of men I asked for & they refused to give me my money back. I would like to start a class action suit. If a lawyer is interested to stop these thieves contact me at flowergirrl77@ yahoo.com

  • Sc
      5th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    I'm a GUY that's very unhappy with Soulmates. They don't answer the phone nor return emails. I too felt I was pressured into buying the contract, like a used car deal. They knew I was divorced I don't where they got my name but they did claim someone "referred" me but couldn't say who. Knowing I was financially strapped from the divorce because I clearly stated that, they charged me about 3K for 10 matches, calling this a special today only deal. I've met only two who were not compatable at all, and they gave me about 4 phone numbers total, 2 of those never made it past the first phone conversation. No one has worked closely with me at all regardless of my detailed feedback emails that they promised would affect the matching process. I might be interested in that lawsuit if it materializes. I believe they prey on people under duress and lonely from starting over after failed marriage. I also requested to re-take the personality test now because I feel my wants and needs have changed over the year or more since I got suckered into this thing. I was told "they never let anyone retake it accept after 3 years". So it takes 3 years to go from depressed lonely test answers to honest ones now that I've recovered mentally from it all? I'm still trying to get a good match out of them cuz I don't think I'll get any money from them. I sent a re-activiation notice via e-mail on 11/03/09 and have recieved absolutely no response whatsoever one month later. By the way I sent that email AFTER calling them and they told me that's the method to re-activate. I bet they're trying to leave me on "hold" till they go out of business or I give up. I won't be giving up, I live near the office, I may start camping out there just to get a response from them. I feel sorry for people that fall prey to this woman who puts on a great act in the sales office and then disappears after claiming she's going to match you personally herself. What a crock. My email is scwfan1@yahoo.com

  • Bu
      8th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    I signed a contract with Soulmates in 2003 under duress, and have never once met anyone who met my qualifications. I have been set up with overweight, unprofessionals that are poorly groomed. (How did they afford Soulmates?). I have asked them numerous times to have a get togther with members. Surely they can afford it with the fees they charge. My e-mail is sondra.sue@comcast.net. I would love to get my money returned, but that is probably hopeless.

  • Bu
      8th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Here's hoping enough complaints are filed to get some positive action.

  • Tr
      30th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    This scam company is all in writing:

    http://www.bbb.org/chicago/business-reviews/dating-service/soulmates-in-palatine-il-1003739


    http://www.bbb.org/chicago/business-reviews/dating-service/soulmates-in-palatine-il-1003739

    BBB Rating for Soulmates
    Based on BBB files, Soulmates has a BBB Rating of F on a scale from A+ to F.
    Reasons for this rating include:
    •Failure to comply with arbitration decision or mediated settlement.
    •43 complaints filed against business
    •Failure to respond to 2 complaints filed against business.
    •One complaint filed against business that was not resolved.
    Click here for an explanation of BBB Ratings


    Back to top
    Business Contact and Profile for Soulmates
    Name: Soulmates
    Phone: (847) 359-9601
    Fax: (847) 359-9624
    Address: 800 E Northwest Hwy Ste 500

    Palatine, IL 60074-6511
    Website: www.asoulmate.com
    Original Business Start Date: March 1997
    Principal: Ms. Marcia Engle, Member Service Director
    Customer Contact: Ms. Marcia Engle, Member Service Director - (847) 359-9601
    Email Address: marcia@asoulmate.com
    Type of Business: Dating Service, Personal Services
    BBB Accreditation: Soulmates is not a BBB Accredited business.
    Additional DBA Names: Soulmates Relationship Experts
    Tracy's Treasures

    Additional company management personnel include:
    Mrs. Tracy Choubmesser - Owner & President
    25471 N. West Oakwood Drive
    Barrington, IL 60010
    $453, 000 on May 14, 2004
    Buyer: Tracy C Choubmesser

    Customer Complaint History for Soulmates
    When considering complaint information, please take into account the company's size and volume of transactions, and understand that the nature of complaints and a firm's responses to them are often more important than the number of complaints.

    BBB processed a total of 43 complaints about Soulmates in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 43 complaints closed in 36 months, 12 were closed in the last year.
    These complaints concerned :
    - 1 regarding Billing or Collection Issues
    1 - Unauthorized credit card charges

    - 10 regarding Contract Issues
    7 - Failure to honor a contract or agreement
    3 - None of the Above - Contract Complaint Issue

    - 11 regarding Customer Service Issues
    3 - Failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services
    2 - Failure to respond to phone calls or written requests for assistance or support
    6 - None of the Above - Customer Service Complaint Issue

    - 1 regarding Product Issues
    1 - None of the Above - Product Quality Complaint Issue

    - 5 regarding Refund or Exchange Issues
    1 - Failure to honor promised refunds, exchanges, or credit
    3 - Failure to honor refund, exchange or credit policies
    1 - None of the Above - Refund or Exchange Complaint Issue

    - 7 regarding Sales Practice Issues
    2 - None of the Above - Sales Complaint Issue
    1 - Sales presentation did not disclose key conditions of the offer
    2 - Sales presentation misrepresented the service
    1 - Sales presentation used dishonest sales practices
    1 - Sales presentation used high pressure methods

    - 8 regarding Service Issues
    1 - Failure to honor service estimate or agreement
    5 - Improper or inferior service
    2 - None of the Above - Service Complaint Issue


    These complaints were closed as:
    - 28 Resolved
    4 - Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to BBB.
    20 - Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.
    2 - Company offered a partial (less than 100%) settlement which the consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.
    2 - Complaint was settled through arbitration in accordance with their BBB agreement.

    - 12 Administratively Closed
    3 - BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.
    9 - Company agreed to arbitration in accordance with their BBB agreement, but the consumer declined.

    - 1 Unresolved
    1 - Company failed to meet the terms of an arbitrated decision in accordance with their BBB agreement.

    - 2 No Response
    2 - Company failed to respond to BBB to resolve or address the complaint issues.

  • Fl
      1st of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    I am looking to start a class-action law suit for all who have been damaged by this company. Please email me Debbie: flowergirrl77@yahoo.com
    If you have a lawyer that would be interested I would appreciate the recommendations.

  • Im
      7th of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    I was going through a long and drawn-out divorce after only 10.5 months of marriage to someone who I'd dated for quite some time but who ended up being a deceiver and who took me for a financial ride. I was completely distraught over it and Tracy brought me to the point where I was crying my eyes out in her office. She can read people well and was able to make me feel very well understood and cared about. She comforted me and then brought out the contract and indicated that for the $4, 695 she would pick out all my dates personally and would be able to find someone just right for me. She said that men like my husband wouldn't be able to afford this service and she would only present me with quality Christian men who were financially stable, per my requirements. I kept telling her that I wasn't yet ready to date seriously, both emotionally and because my divorce wasn't yet final, but she insisted that I was ready and that if I didn't hurry up I'd pass up my chance to have kids (ok, that part was true -- but I still wasn't ready for a new relationship). I forked out nearly $5k and they kept presenting me with men that did not meet my requirements, men that were not Christians, and I doubt Tracy picked out a single one of them either because I never spoke to her again, only Emily and others there. I consistently voiced my concerns to them about the format, the lack of true information about these men, etc, but they never did anything to address the issues. Also, one of the men I went out with advised me that he was not charged anything -- so much for only meeting men who could afford the service!

    I have felt from the very beginning that Tracy took advantage of my emotional vulnerability and charged an outrageous amount of money to provide a less than quality service. What a rip-off! I'd be very interested in a class-action suit.

  • Mi
      14th of Dec, 2010
    0 Votes

    I've had the same experience and am interested in joining a law suit. Thanks to your postings I will contact the BBB. I most definitely want my money back!

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