Don't get burned while looking for love - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Don't get burned while looking for love

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it's a special time for people in love.

But many people are still looking for love, so it's a good idea to use your head before your heart is broken.

"People are willing to pay to find true love," says Tom Bartholomy, president of the Better Business Bureau. 

In fact, recent surveys show Americans will spend nearly one-billion dollars for online dating services this year.

"Complaints against dating services are on the rise because more people are trying them," said Bartholomy. "The point where the relationship gets rocky occurs when the consumer wants to cancel the dating service contract."

Dating services include personalized matchmaking services and online dating websites.

Matchmaking Services - Matchmaking and local dating services can cost thousands of dollars and promise to introduce you to other area singles that meet your specified criteria.

"Complaints include disputes over the caliber of singles promised, high pressure sales tactics and fewer arranged dates than expected," said Bartholomy.

  • Dating In Charlotte, formerly Great Expectations (BBB Grade C+), is a local dating service based in Fort Mill, S.C.  The company has had six complaints in the last 36 months, five of which have been resolved and one is unresolved. Complaints focus on contract, refund and billing issues.

Online Dating Services - Many online dating websites provide a forum for users to post a profile and view profiles from other singles. The services normally require a specific length of membership and charge a monthly fee which is automatically drafted from your checking account.

"Two-thirds of the complaints cite contract and billing issues, and difficulty canceling after signing up," added Bartholomy.

  • Match.com LLC (BBB grade A+) – Based in Dallas, TX, Match.com is accredited by the BBB.  This dating website has generated 1,372 complaints in the last 36 months, all of which have been resolved.
  • eHarmony, Inc. (BBB grade A+) – Based in Santa Monica, CA, eHarmony.com is accredited by the BBB. This dating website has generated 620 complaints in the last 36 months, all of which have been resolved.

The BBB has four tips for finding your perfect match:

  • Don't fall in love too quickly. Beware of dating websites or matchmaking services with exaggerated advertising claims that promise more than they deliver.
  • Say ‘no' to blind dates. Do a background check on the dating service with the BBB to make sure that the company doesn't have a love-hate relationship with their customers.
  • Don't be pressured into commitment. Before you sign a contract, read it carefully and make sure you understand the terms and conditions.
  • Know what a ‘divorce' will cost you. The dating service contract is like a pre-nuptial agreement. It details the costs associated with your relationship with the dating service and the costs associated if you ‘break-up' with the dating service. Do not assume that the billing will stop when the contract ends. Many online dating sites automatically renew memberships unless the consumer specifically cancels the service.

For more information, please visit BBB or call the BBB (toll-free in N.C. and S.C.) at 1-877-317-7236. 

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