ALBANY, N.Y. - If men are supposed to pay for dinner on a first date, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was wondering who was supposed to pay the rest.
On Friday, It's Just Lunch International, a dating service, settled with Cuomo's office, which alleged the company was overcharging its customers. The company will pay fines and court costs in addition to business reforms.
"State laws limit how much a dating service may charge, and also require that consumers be provided with numerous other protections," Attorney General In-Charge of the Buffalo Regional Office Russ Ippolito said. "With this agreement, It's Just Lunch will change its business practices and offer fair contracts that clearly spell out rights to New York consumers."
Previously, It's Just Lunch charged clients $1,500 for two six-month contracts signed at the same time that ran consecutively. Cuomo claims this was a way around a state law that limits the amount a consumer can be charged for a social referral service to $1,000 per year.
Cuomo also said the contracts violated state law by prohibiting consumers from filing lawsuits against the company and by failing to provide many consumer-friendly provisions, like a guarantee of a number of referrals.
It's Just Lunch and three state franchises agreed to stop exceeding the yearly $1,000 limit and bring their contracts into full compliance with state laws. Also, the company will provide three free social referrals to clients who paid more than $1,000 and simultaneously signed two contracts after Jan. 1, 2006.
Each franchise will pay a $6,000 fine and $1,000 in costs, totaling $21,000. It's Just Lunch paid a $45,000 fine and $2,000 in costs.
Cuomo's website actually offers a Dating Service Consumers Bill of Rights.