• Report: #448849

Complaint Review: Great Expectations Dating Service

  • Submitted: Tue, May 05, 2009
  • Updated: Wed, November 18, 2009

  • Reported By:St. Louis Missouri
Great Expectations Dating Service
2458 Old Dorsett Road, Suite 200 Maryland Heights, Missouri U.S.A.

Great Expectations Dating Service Dating Service Lied about their member numbers, wouldn't return phone calls, charged me $5,295! Maryland Heights Missouri

*Consumer Comment: Club 1 Info

*Author of original report: Great Expectations is now Club1

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: You deserve to lose your money!

*Author of original report: Update regarding Great Expectations St. Louis office

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After seeing several of Great Expectations' (GE) ads online and in newspapers, I searched for them online, found their website, and filled out a basic form with my contact information. Their St. Louis office phoned me the next day to arrange for me to come in for a "consultation." The woman was polite but gave me very little information over the phone, saying they preferred to do an in-person presentation. I went to their office and was first shown a 15-minute video giving an overview of their service, after which I met with one of their employees to discuss the program.

After she described how their service works, I told her that I was interested in meeting women between the ages of 24 and 35 (I am 33) and asked about how many female members they had in that range. She wouldn't give me a number, but kept saying "We have new people signing up every day." I told her that if they wanted me to spend the exhorbitant amount they were asking for membership (over $5000 -- yes, you read that correctly), I needed to know that they had a large enough member base for it to be worth my money. She then told me that I could also use their service to meet women through their centers anywhere in the country, or even women who "visited" St. Louis. I told her I wanted to know approximately how many female members they had IN THE ST. LOUIS AREA and within the age range I specified. I finally got her to reveal that they had about 125-150 females in St. Louis within that age range.

The contract they wanted me to sign says all over it that there are no cancellations or refunds for any reason, so I emphasized that before I would agree to sign up, I needed them to be honest and very clear with me about how many members they had. I repeated that I was looking specifically for women within a 24-35 age range, and in the St. Louis area. They assured me that they had 125-150 women in that category, and better still, that they had about 20 NEW women signing up each month within that age range in St. Louis. They also told me that most of the women in that group did NOT already have children (which I said was important to me). I signed up and paid $5,295 for a "lifetime" membership.

After completing my profile and sitting for my photos and video, I went home and logged onto their site to search their database. The searchable age range closest to what I sought was 18-35. Remember that I was told that there were 125-150 members in the age range I mentioned (24-35). I was shocked to discover that there were only 20-25 members in this range -- and this includes the "inactive" members. When I narrowed my search to ACTIVE members in this range, with no children, the number quickly shrank to 16 -- a far cry from the 150 I had been told. Off by a factor of ten, in fact! Even worse, when I did a search of 18-35 year old women who had signed up in the last 60 days, there were only four. FOUR! (I had been told they averaged 20 new women per month in my age range!) In addition, despite my being told that all members "must" have photos and videos in their profiles, at least one-third of the profiles lacked one, the other, or both.

I called the GE office immediately to ask whether I was missing something or perhaps not using their database correctly. The woman who answered the phone performed the search as well and came up with the same numbers. I asked her for an explanation and she had none, saying I would need to speak with their director, Rhonda. I have spent the last two weeks trying to get an appointment to talk to Rhonda but have had no success. Each time I call I'm told "We don't know if or when she will be in today" or something along those lines. I have asked repeatedly for her to call me back, and so far, no luck. And when I ask the office to call me back when they hear from Rhonda, they never do, even after has supposedly "called in to check on things."


Digging deeper in my online search, I found that there are MANY similar complaints from all over the country about GE's misrepresentations of their member numbers. I have also talked with several of GE's current and past members in St. Louis, all of whom have felt misled and cheated by the company. In fact, I have yet to see a single example of someone who has had a good experience with GE, despite the company's claims! They currently have 22 complaints on file with the Better Business Bureau and a rating of "C".

Now I understand that the contract I signed says "no cancellations or refunds" and all that. What gets me is that they got me to sign the contract by giving me false numbers -- in fact, numbers that were NOT EVEN CLOSE to the actual number of members they have. I am still trying to get in touch with their director to demand my cancellation and refund, but given what I have heard from other people, I'm not optimistic. They certainly seem to be doing everything they can to prevent me from talking with the director.

This whole experience has become an absolute nightmare for me, and I would really like to help prevent others from falling prey to GE's deceptive tactics -- which is why I am submitting this story to you. If I can help with any further information, or if anyone would like to discuss this with me, I would be very happy to provide more details.

Frederick
St. Louis, Missouri
U.S.A.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/05/2009 07:15 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Great-Expectations-Dating-Service/Maryland-Heights-Missouri-63043/Great-Expectations-Dating-Service-Dating-Service-Lied-about-their-member-numbers-wouldnt-448849. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
2Author 1Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Club 1 Info

AUTHOR: Erin - (USA)

I filed a report here on the Great Expectations out of Overland Park KS, and in September filed a complaint with the KS attorney general. Their office is still investigating my complaint, but as I continue to do research I recently discovered that the Club 1 of Kansas City website it currently "down for maintenance" and the sign on the page says "sorry we're closed".
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#2 Author of original report

Great Expectations is now Club1

AUTHOR: Frederick - (USA)

I want to alert everyone to this company's recent name change.  They were formerly called "Great Expectations," but now they are called Club1.  It is the same company, and everything I stated in my report above applies to this company (now Club1).
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#3 REBUTTAL Owner of company

You deserve to lose your money!

AUTHOR: Joel - (U.S.A.)

Why would you pay a thin dime for a dating service when 99% of singles use FREE dating services like plentyoffish where there are millions of members!
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#4 Author of original report

Update regarding Great Expectations St. Louis office

AUTHOR: Frederick - (U.S.A.)

I wanted to update my complaint from several months ago with additional information I have learned during my complaint process with the Great Expectations St. Louis office.

Though I have many complaints about the unethical and deceptive business practices by the Great Expectations St. Louis office, located in Maryland Heights, my primary complaint is that they misled me about their membership numbers. Before I joined as a member I asked Rhonda, their director, how many female members they had in my age range of interest (which I specified was about 24-34) in the St. Louis area. I was told I could expect around 125 such members with 3-4 being added each week. After they charged me $5,295 for my membership I discovered how severely they had misled me: they currently have 22 active women in the entire 18-35 age range for St. Louis and its surrounding areas, and they sign up less than one new female member in this age range each month! Needless to say I have reported them to both the Better Business Bureau and the Missouri State Attorney Generals office. Here are some shocking facts about the Great Expectations St. Louis office:

- They currently have only 22 active females in the entire 18-35 age range.
- In recent months they have signed up less than one female per month in this age range.
- They list members as new in the last 60 days when they are clearly not new within that time period (they are listed this way for well over 60 days)
- When I called their office to ask about the discrepancy in their membership numbers, their director took nearly two weeks (after multiple calls from me to their office) to return my phone call.
- They currently have a D+ rating and non-accredited status with the BBB as well as multiple unresolved complaints.
- They have numerous complaints on file with the Attorney Generals office.
- They took nearly two months to respond to the BBB and the Attorney Generals office after being contacted you regarding my complaint.
- A former employee has publicly described several very deceptive and unethical practices of the Great Expectations office: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/dating_services/great_expectations_p28.html
- There are many complaints about Great Expectations on online consumer web sites. - They falsely accused me of scheduling and not showing up for a video/photo appointment when I have phone records proving I never spoke with their office during this period.
- They told me (and their contract also states) that all of their members must have a video and photo taken before being allowed access to your database, but several of their current female members profiles do not have both of these.
- Their office charged me $160 to put onto a CD-ROM the photos they took of me when I activated my membership. They then never sent me the CD, forcing me to dispute the charge with my credit card company to receive a refund.
- They violated your own contract, which states that disputes will be resolved via mandatory arbitration with the Better Business Bureau, when they chose not to respond to the arbitration agreement that the BBB sent them regarding my complaint.
- Lawsuits have been filed recently against Great Expectations by the attorney general offices of Kansas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New York City, all alleging misrepresentation of services offered.
- In an investigation report from KTVIs "Contact 2" a few years ago, several people describe experiences almost identical to mine: http://www.governmentauctions.org/news/NewsFOX2KTVI.com.pdf

In short, I would strongly advise avoiding Great Expectations at all costs!

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