Soulmates dating service / Is it a rip off?
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.