Increased Complaints Registered Against Dating Services

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An article called Complaints soar against online dating services in Northwest talks about the rise of complaints against dating sites in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It states, consumer complaints filed, rose 73%, in 2006 over 2005. In 2006 there were a total of 2,525 complaints to the Better Business Bureau in the area of Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. The year 2007 is expected to increase as well. The complaints in the article where broken down into the following groups:

  • 35% of the people complained about the quality of the singles available and matching system.
  • 17% was for poor customer service.
  • 15.1% of the complaints was in regards to the number of dates from the service.
  • 13.7% where about high pressure sales tactics.

This is a sharp increase in complaints, especially since dating services have been established since well before 2005. So what has changed? I think it has a lot to do with the rise of niche dating sites. These types of sites are a lot smaller than the popular dating services and tend to be run on a shoe string budget. For this reason some niche dating site owners may be making exaggerated marketing claims on their site to try and lure in paying members. It is also pretty easy for any website to make itself appear a lot larger than it is, to trick people into a paying membership. A lot of the smaller dating services are also just a one man show which makes customer service for the site hard to keep up with, even if they have a limited number of members. Of course not all of these sites are bad, just a small percentage. Unfortantly though, it may be giving the online dating industry a bad name.

If we take a look at the numbers again 2,525 complaints are not a whole lot when you consider it has been estimated that between 30 and 40 million Americans have logged into a dating service in 2007. So let's assume a lower number of 25 million Americans who used a dating site in the year 2006. Now the question is what percentage of the population does Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington make up for in the United States. It's not large, so let's be conservative and say 3%. Now, 3% of 25 million Americans is 750,000 singles. When you measure this number against the 2,525 complaints, you get less than 0.4% of singles using dating sites actually complain to the Better Business Bureau. This is a very, very, very small number of complaints. So in a way, this article makes it seem that there are a large number of complaints against dating sites by just comparing the number of complaints with last year and not taking the total number of complaints and the actual number of singles using dating services. So what do my numbers not take into account (you are probably asking yourself)? Well, obviously not everyone will take the time to complain to the BBB. Also, not all dating services belong to the BBB, so complaints would not be filed for them. How does this affect things? I'm not totally sure but, after looking at other industries and companies in the BBB database and looking at the complaints, I feel online dating sites as a whole don't have any more complaints than any other industry on the internet. As with each industry, someone will always not be satisfied with what they bought and there will always be companies that do not have the best intentions for their customers.

So, how do you find a reputable online dating site? A good start (besides reading our site and user reviews) is the Better Business Bureau. From here you can search for the dating service to see if it belongs to the BBB. If so, it will show the complaints (if any) and if they where resolved. Remember, most large businesses will have complaints. The key here is to see if the complaints of the company where resolved to the satisfaction of the BBB. The article at kgw.com also contains some very wise tips when considering a dating service, especially one that is not as well known.