BBB warning public to be careful with hearts and wallets when using online dating services

The BBB says it got more than 1,100 complaints about online dating services last year, including billing issues and romance scammers. Cesar Okada/Getty Images

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning British Columbians to be careful with their hearts and their wallets when it comes to using online dating services.

The agency says it received more than 1,100 complaints in 2019 related to the services, the bulk of them relating to billing and collection issues.

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“We saw where there was difficulty cancelling memberships,” said BBB spokesperson Karla Liard.

“[Even] though they thought they carried out the requirements in the cancellation policies, they ended up getting charged on their credit card anyway, or they didn’t understand what the cancellation policy required and their credit cards were charged as a result.”
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Laird said the agency had also heard complaints of high-pressure sales tactics and poor customer service.

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In some cases, she said people reported that the services simply did not operate as advertised.

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“We saw issues where there were difficulties getting compatible matches,” she said.

“So you know, you see the advertisement that says perfect singles for you but a person ends up getting matched with persons who were married, so you’re not getting what you paid for.”

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The BBB says online dating sites can also operate as a hunting ground for scammers, seeking to take advantage of people looking for luck.

The agency says more than five million people have fallen prey to so-called “romance scams” in recent years.

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The BBB says people who want to use online dating services should always be skeptical of too-good-to-be-true advertising claims, and should be wary of time-sensitive offers when signing contracts.

It says people should carefully read cancellation policies to make sure they aren’t being billed when they try to quit a dating service.

And it says anyone asking for money through an online dating service should set off immediate red flags.

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