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1. If the service gives me a guarantee, should I automatically trust them?
The only guarantee a dating/matchmaking service can give is that they have quality people who fit within your preferences. That they will diligently try to set you up whenever the appropriate opportunity presents itself. If a service guarantees you will meet “the one”, keep looking. No service can make that guarantee. When you decide to join a dating/matchmaking service keep your expectations in perspective. This is one of many venues and ways to meet someone and it may or may not work for you. Keep your expectations reasonable for your matches, those clients who do have the most success. If your criteria in a service is much higher than in the real world you will limit your success and potential matches.
Services who sell a specific number of dates are getting a horrible reputation. All they do is throw you together with that number of people totally disregarding the preferences and criteria you’ve set forth. Feedback from clients who tried those services was extremely negative.
2. If a service charges me for background checks can I trust that their clients are safe?
Unless the service actually shows you the background checks you can only take their word for it that they are even doing them and not just pocketing your extra fee. Also, just because someone’s background check comes up clean does not mean they are not a criminal. All criminals get away with their crimes for some period of time, especially serial offenders, before they are caught. That really only gives you a false sense of security. Honestly I don’t even believe the services are running background checks but rather charging that fee to make money.
3. If my friend has used a dating service and it has either been very successful for them or unsuccessful for them, is that a good way to judge the service? Will I likely have the same result?
A big mistake that many people make is to judge a service by their friend’s success or lack thereof. Each person has his/her own expectations, peculiarities, preferences and criteria. Consequently, each person may have a different experience in one service. I recently had two friends contact me to join Bon Jour. One told me that the other is waiting to see what happens with her before she decides to join. Well one is 62 and adventurous but not particularly athletic and with a health issue. The one who is waiting is 51 and very athletic. They will be looking at totally different age ranges for matches and different levels of athleticism as well as other criteria that may differ. One may be very open with her criteria and the other may have very narrow criteria. They may have totally different experiences in my service. So it’s not a valid way of judging a service by using someone else’s experience.
4. If a service is brand new and has a great special going, is that a good time to join?
BEWARE…there are many people who open new dating/matchmaking/life coaching services to make some quick money and then disappear. There are also individuals who have been in other fields and think running a dating service would be fun. With no experience they open a service, get some free publicity and they are off and running with your money. THE MEDIA LOVES TO COVER NEW BUSINESSES WITHOUT DOING ANY DUE DILIGENCE so don’t join a service just because they’ve been covered in the media if they are new. They may go out of business within a few months or even a year and then you are out of luck.
Sometimes the specials designed by a new service to attract you are to acquire a client base. Unless you can afford to lose the money or it is really reasonable or FREE be careful. Many, many new services do not succeed. Your best bet is a service that has been around for at least 10 years with a good track record (check reviews and BBB ratings) that is running a special. Be sure to search for reviews of services. For example, there is a new service with an owner who works full-time in another business. He originally had a partner but it appears that partner is no longer with the service. Don’t be drawn in by a fancy website, they have no clients and have made no matches that I am aware of. The owner is young and has no matchmaking background. He has even called me to try to find clients. Look at the Denver BBB to see when a business was established and their rating. Some services lie on their website about length of time in business, but hopefully the Denver BBB has the most accurate information. Check the info on their website against the info with the Denver BBB.
5. Are there dating service structures, i.e. parties, adventures, dinners or paying for a certain amount of dates that I should be leary of? In other words, are some structures better than others?
If you are a very visual individual, do not let a service convince you that it is too superficial to view photos! You will be disappointed and angry if you join a service with no photos and allow the service to select your type based on an interview. If you are visual, join a service with photos or videos, or one with mixers so you choose who you are attracted to. The reason services who offer i.e., 6 dates for $3,500 and won’t show you photos is that they know it will take longer to set you up if you turn down potential matches from photos. Then they will actually have to work harder for you. This way they can throw you together with 6 people and sign you up for more.
If a service charges a flat fee for a certain number of dates, DO NOT JOIN IT!!! They are only contractually obligated to set you up on that number of dates and will totally disregard your preferences and requests. I have had a lot of feedback from clients with regard to these services. Do not let them talk you into it!
If a service convinces you that they understand what you are looking for and they give you very minimal information on the person they select for you, NOT GOOD. You must have the final word on anyone you are being set up with as well as see lots of info and pictures! Many people have complained about services disregarding their preferences and throwing them together with anyone. Those are the services that sell a certain number of dates. So this information has come directly from people who have lost time and money going through those services.
DO NOT LET ANY SERVICE CONVINCE YOU OF SOMETHING THAT IS NOT IN LINE WITH YOUR OWN FEELINGS. If you want to see photos, only join a service where you can see client photos, etc. If you are shy, do not let them convince you that a social club or parties is the best way. If the service does the selecting for you and you have little or no say in that decision, do not join. You have to be comfortable with the structure of the service and the person you are working with. If the service has several “matchmakers” make sure, in advance, that the one you start with will continue to be the one you work with. Bait and switch is a common complaint I hear often about other local services.
6. How do I know if a dating service is legitimate?
Of course go to the Better Business Bureau website, if you have a consumer advocate on any local news stations call them and ask if they know anything about that service. Certainly length of time the service has been in business is of the highest importance. There are many people who open dating services either as a scam to make quick money or have been in another field and think it would be fun to run a dating service. Consequently they open with a flourish and disappear within months or a year, with YOUR money! Do your homework, some of the services are very expensive. Beware, however, of negative reviews. You don’t know that person’s agenda who wrote the review. They may have some issue with a service that they themselves caused or had bad luck just because they are not as popular in the service as they think they should be. So be careful how seriously you take negative reviews.
7. What types of sales tactics should I be careful of?
If you phone the company and ask a lot of questions that they will not answer, hang up! If you ask fees and they will not quote them over the phone, hang up! If they are insistent that you come into their office or worse meet at a Starbucks or a hotel without giving you much information on the phone, hang up! Any service should be willing to answer all of your questions over the phone. If they do coerce you to meet they will use a hard sell to sign you and you may regret it later.
I’ve been told that a couple of the franchise services will show you profiles to entice you into joining. Then once they have your money and you ask about the people you were shown, suddenly they are unavailable. Any service that is legitimate should not show you any profile prior to your joining. Would you like it if they used you as a marketing tool? A Matchmaker’s profiles are proprietary and should only be shown to clients of that Matchmaker, not to entice people into joining a service.
8. How many people will I meet per month?
That is an appropriate question to ask a dating service. However as a Matchmaker my goal is to introduce you only to the most appropriate matches. The 600+ singles who married through Bon Jour married either the first or second person they met in the service. So my goal is the same for you…to marry or settle down with either the first or second person you meet. I do not set you up with every single person in town hoping something will stick and wasting your time, emotion and money. In addition, a professional Matchmaker cannot tell you on the phone how many people you will meet without a thorough interview first. There are several criteria to be considered when putting a match together, so it is impossible to say before knowing your specific preferences how many you will meet. Also, I have no way of knowing how particular you are. I may show you 20 profiles that you turn down for one reason or another. It only takes the right ONE anyway! Recently a gentleman joined who didn’t tell me on the phone that he’s very religious and the religious aspect will be a big part of his criteria. Most of my clients are spiritual rather than religious although there are some that attend church regularly. That is important information because it is a deal breaker for him. So there would have been no way for me to quote in advance how many women he would view at his appointment.
9. How many people do you have in my age range?
The number of clients in your age range is not really the issue. I could have 100 mediocre people who you probably won’t be interested in, or 5 outstanding people who you would love to meet. Because I do not throw you together with just anyone without first interviewing you to know your preferences, I cannot say how many people I have for you. Remember, it only takes ONE, unless you are just looking to date around. Matchmaking is NOT a numbers game, unless you want to play it that way. But as a Matchmaker I do not. Age is only one part of your criteria along with appearance, pets, allergies, children, activities, political views, income, education, etc. Without knowing those particulars I cannot say beforehand how many people I have for you. I figure that out during the two-hour interview.
10. What does it mean if a dating or matchmaking service has new owners and the service is not that old?
Well it’s not a good sign. For example, I was told by a client that a local Matchmaking service has recently been sold. The service is only 4 and a half years old. The original owner who started the service has sold it and that generally could mean sales are down, she’s tired of the business or has gotten many negative reviews. I recently heard from a couple of new clients that they are disorganized, unreliable and unprofessional. I don’t know anything about this service other than what I’ve been told by 3 of my clients, but generally it’s not a good sign if such a young business changes hands so quickly. It is currently run by 4 women and I do not know what their backgrounds are. Clients of that service told me they throw parties and just hand out profiles of clients they’ve never interviewed personally. These clients have confided that they are very unhappy with the new owners. In addition I’ve been told by my clients who have used that service that the owner opened a wine bar and is just drumming up business for the bar by throwing parties there. That her agenda is not matchmaking but having her wine bar succeed.
11. If a matchmaking service has several matchmakers is that beneficial to me?
Great question. There are several complications with services who have more than one matchmaker. First and foremost, if they have several than none of them have interviewed or know ALL of the clients. Each “matchmaker” knows only the clients they have interviewed, they may not even know you. How can they legitimately match you or the other person if they don’t know both of you????? With multi-matchmakers the fees for the service will be higher as they work on commission and the service’s fees must pay all of the “matchmaker” employees they have. Also, because they are usually on straight commission they are a hard sell which is not in your best interest.
12. If a service interviews me for free and I take time to go through that is it worth joining?
That is merely a sales tactic that works for businesses some percentage of the time. The questions you should ask are attached to this link, so click on it and check those out. They figure that if you spend the time meeting with them they have a better chance of wearing you down to join, which does seem to work for them some percentage of the time. Watch out for clever sales tactics, i.e. listing clients’ personal information on their website to entice you into calling them or showing you someone during your FREE interview who really isn’t available or maybe even a client. Many of those are fake and/or those people are not available. As a client would you want them using your info as a marketing tool? Especially if you are involved with someone?
Another felon showed up on Match.com. So now that is at least 5 known felons who have been clients with profiles on Match.com and probably other Internet Dating Services. Dateline ran a story last night showing another murderer, a guy with an alias, and a list of felonies who was using Internet Dating Services using credit cards belonging to the ex-girlfriend he murdered! Be careful! Also, BEWARE of catfishing which has also been covered all over the national media. Also Dr. Phil has run multiple stories of catfishing done by people listed on Match.com