Consumer warning for match-making service

February 3, 2013 5:27:04 AM PST
A consumer warning for those looking for love.

Online dating has risen in popularity but traditional match-making services still exist, too.

And customers of one company, in particular, tell Action News they did not get what they paid for.

Finding your perfect match isn't easy and that's where a company called "Two of Us" comes in. It claims to be a professional dating and matchmaking service that does the homework for you.

However customers tell Action News that all this company is really doing is preying and profiting off our basic desire for companionship.

Stacey Hollander went to the company's Lawrenceville, New Jersey office, which also goes by the name New Jersey Singles, and paid $ 5,495 to be a member.

"'We do the work for you' is what she said. "We screen people for you. You have to be gainfully employed. You have to be a professional," said Stacey Hollander.

"Two of Us" also says it does criminal background checks.

"It just sounded different from anything else. To me it sounded safe," said Hollander.

After trying other dating sites, Jason Snell went looking for something different.He went to the "Two of Us" office in King of Prussia, which now calls itself Philadelphia Singles.

Both consumers say they got a hard sell.

"You weren't allowed to read the contract. You weren't allowed to look it over because I kept on asking her, 'Well, can I just stop' (they said) 'No, just initialize, just initialize,'" said Snell.

Action News tried to talk to "Two of Us" representatives.

When asked if she was familiar with Stacy Hollander's case, one representative replied, "No, I can't say I am right now."

When asked if she had any other comment, she replied "No I really can't."

Later, the company's attorney told Action News "'Two of Us' does not utilize high pressure sales tactics?Every member has every right and opportunity to fully read the Membership Agreement prior to signing."

As for the dates themselves?

Hollander says her matches were to meet three criteria.

"Healthy, employed, no cats," she said.

Hollander says her first and only date was morbidly obese, unemployed, and the proud owner of a cat.

"I was very disappointed, I felt taken," she said.

Meantime, Snell says he called the number "Two of Us" provided him.

"Introduced myself and said, 'Hi, I'm Jason Snell from the 'Two of Us.' They gave me your name and your number.' And she was like, 'I told them to stop calling me. I didn't want to have anything to do with them,'" said Snell.

"Two of Us" claims that woman used its service after talking to Snell. In Hollander's case they said, "As part of membership, written feedback is required after each introduction and before a new introduction is provided."

The company is refusing to provide refunds, which is especially problematic for Snell. He paid $1,000 up front and says later realized he'd agreed in writing to finance another $1,800.

"No one said anything to me about this," he said.

Snell is now worried about his credit. "They're draining people's pockets," he said.

"Two of Us" denies any member is signed up for financing without his or her knowledge.

"Really what we're talking about is a pattern and practice of deceptive business practices," said Nicolas Vritaric, attorney.

Vritaric has filed a lawsuit against "Two of Us" on behalf of a California woman. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, false promise, and intentional and negligent misrepresentation as well as emotional distress.

Vritaric says he knows of many other victims.

"Each person, I've talked to more than 30 victims, each person tells me the same story," he said.

In her lawsuit, the California woman claims she wanted to be set up with African-American men under the age of 65.However a number of the men she was set up with were Caucasian and over the age of 75.

While "Two of Us" had no comment to Action News about the case - it did file a response in court and in it, denies each and every allegation.

The company says "It employs a large member services department that personally selects each match."

The company also says the vast majority of its thousands of members are happily using the service without complaints.

Meanwhile, good news for Snell. He tells Action News that he's met a very nice woman using a free dating website.