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POINTS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU SUBSCRIBE TO A DATING SERVICE

LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

Perusing through an airplane or local lifestyle magazine, it is common to see an ad featuring a beautiful woman who promises that she can connect you with your true love just as she has found hers. Many singles, interested in finding love but discouraged by internet dating sites and “the bar scene,” are tempted by such ads. Thinking that if the service is expensive, the quality of the match must be worth it, clients may pay thousands of dollars in exchange for the prospect of introductions to suitable dates.

This author makes no claim as to whether dating referral services are always, sometimes, or never legitimate; however, since deciding whether to enter into a contract for matchmaking or dating services is a decision people are often reluctant to talk to others about, here are some points to consider.

BEFORE YOU SIGN THAT CONTRACT…

If you are contemplating entering into a contract for dating services, do your homework first. Look up reviews of the service online and see if the Better Business Bureau has received any complaints about the service. Look the service up on the Arizona Corporations Committee website and see if it is a registered business. Such businesses often operate under trade names, and it isn’t always easy to find the name of the actual underlying company.

Does the advertisement or website list the physical and mailing addresses of the company? Is it easy to see how to send an email directly to the dating referral service or how to reach a human being on the phone? Is there a street address where you could go and find an actual business?

Arizona law regulates fee-based dating referral services that are primarily intended to introduce or match adults for social or romantic activities, including activities that are commonly referred to as computer dating or video dating services. Arizona law requires these services to provide a written contract.

APPLYING THE LAW – WHAT A CONTRACT CANNOT INCLUDE

In Arizona, a dating referral service contract must not include contractual provisions that:

  • would require the client to make payments on the original contract for over three years;
  • would renew the contract for more than one year after the effective date of the contract; and/or
  • would require the client to give up any right he or she may have against the service.

A contract provision under which a client waives any of these provisions is void and unenforceable, as is a contract that a client enters into because the service used coercive sales tactics, misrepresented the quality of the service or the number or qualifications of potential matches; or misrepresented the service’s success in making matches or dating referrals.

                …AND UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU CAN CANCEL

Does the contract provide a written address for the dating service? Is it a mailbox or an actual office? In Arizona, a customer may rescind a contract for dating referral services within three business days after the customer signs the contract if within the three day period the customer either (1) sends a signed written notice by certified mail to the dating service at the address specified in the contract; or (2) the customer personally delivers a signed written notice to the dating service at the address specified in the contract or at the dating service facility. Of course, this would be impossible to do if the dating service does not disclose its address.

CAN I GET A REFUND?

Before signing a contract, read it carefully: what is the dating referral service required to do in exchange for your money? Does it state how long the service has to fulfill its contract obligations? Does it state that you must pay for the services but will not be entitled to a refund under any circumstances whatsoever? Does it state the service may terminate your contract at any time and even then you won’t be entitled to a refund?

Dating referral contracts often claim they are not refundable for any reason. Given Arizona law governing dating service contracts, a consumer may still be able to obtain a refund on a “non-refundable” dating services contract. A little research before entering into such a contract, however, may save a lot of heartache down the line.

Article Written By:
Cassandra Meynard

Litigation

cmeynard@nullwaterfallattorneys.com