Dating service leaves woman expecting more

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PHOENIX -- A Valley woman says she paid $3,000 for a dating service and now she wishes she hadn't.

Jennifer Kirby says she has a great life, but she's missing one thing that would complete it.

"I would like to get married, have kids and find that person to not only be a friend with, a partner," she said.

After exhausting traditional methods of meeting Mr. Right, Kirby decided to try something else.

"I went out looking for a service to be able to do that," she said.

So, Kirby turned to a dating service called Great Expectations where she says employees told her she would most likely meet Mr. Right.

"They say that the majority of their clients are matched with people," Kirby said. "They have social gatherings, they do professional photographs for you."

Kirby signed a contract with Great Expectations and then handed over money to join.

"I paid roughly $3,000 and I guess that was a discounted rate they were doing," she said.

Kirby says she quickly realized she wasn't really getting what she thought she signed up for. For example, for three grand Kirby thought she could look at potential mates by using her computer from home. Instead, she had to drive to Great Expectations and look at profiles there.

"I found out that if I wanted access from home or anything like that to the profiles I had to pay extra," Kirby said.

Those social gatherings she says Great Expectations Organizes, well she says that cost extra too.

"For $3,000 I was expecting to get pictures, a video, the social gatherings and access to profiles," she said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Great Expectations ran into trouble earlier this year with the Arizona Attorney General's Office, which accused the company, among other things, of using "coercive sales tactics, misrepresentations and other deceptive practices to sell expensive dating service memberships."

The company denied the allegations, but still they agreed to pay nearly a half million dollars in restitution and fees.

Great Expectations wouldn't speak to 3 On Your Side on camera about the attorney general's investigation, but they did tell us they won't return Kirby's $3,000, saying in a written statement that "Ms. Kirby signed said contract and was given a copy to take home."

Great Expectations also claims it did find potential mates for Kirby but that a match wasn't made and that she's just unhappy, but she says for $3,000 she's more than unhappy.

"I had huge expectations for Great Expectations and was completely disappointed," she said.

Like anything else if you sign a contract, you have to know what you are signing. If the paperwork is lengthy, ask to take it home so you can review it and then sign it.

I recommend doing this for any and all documents when you're committing yourself and your wallet to a company.

When considering a dating service, the Better Business Bureau recommends:

1. Read and understand all the terms and conditions of the contract or agreement. In most cases, once the contract is signed, it is final. If there is a cancellation period, understand the conditions for cancellation.

2. If there is high pressure to decide immediately, that may be a sign to consider the offer more carefully.

3. How does the dating service match you with other singles?

4. What is the company policy if you are dissatisfied with the service?