Washington-based dating service settles over false promises

Ashton Daigle Jun. 16, 2010, 5:21pm


SEATTLE, Wash. (Legal Newsline) -- Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has announced a settlement agreement with a dating service alleged to have made false promises in its advertising campaigns.

DMZ Group LLC, is a Bellevue, Wash.-based licensee of Great Expectations, a dating service with independently owned and operated centers across the country.

McKenna's office alleges that the dating service misrepresented itself by overstating the number of members clients had to choose from and by failing to disclose all costs.

"Anyone willing to pay for assistance in finding a soul mate deserves to know exactly what they're signing up for," McKenna said. "This settlement will help ensure singles receive upfront, accurate information from Great Expectations before they seal the deal."

McKenna said his office has received nearly 60 consumer complaints about Great Expectations since the beginning of 2006. In May 2009, a KIRO-TV news report spurred additional consumer complaints and a new investigation into consumers' allegations that the Bellevue office subjected them to high-pressure pitches during which salespeople convinced them to sign contracts for up to nearly $8,000 without disclosing all of the terms.

Under the settlement agreement, Great Expectations has agreed to not misrepresent the number of active members, those of a certain age or gender, or those within a particular geographic area; only use photographs, videos or descriptions of individuals who are active and conduct status checks at least once every two months; clearly disclose fees for services such as photographs, events and Internet access that aren't included in the basic membership, and explain which services are optional and obtain written authorization prior to accessing a prospective member's credit history.

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