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.
St. Louis, Missouri
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Great Expectations DATING SERVICE