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New Jersey matchmaking service sued for breach of contract

Most people would agree that there are no guarantees when it comes to finding your soul mate. When we describe someone as unlucky in love, there’s an understanding that the search for a romantic partner involves just that: luck. So when a dating service offers to help you find the person of your dreams for a fee, what should the expectation be?

A New Jersey woman filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the Lawrenceville branch of a national dating service, claiming the company failed to hold up its end of the $7,000 membership agreement she signed in January 2011. The lawsuit, which also accuses the business of fraud and consumer fraud, asks for her money back, as well as unspecified damages. Just how wrong was the search for Mr. Right?

According to the lawsuit, the dating service promises one or two “quality matches” during every two-week period. The agreement includes an initial member interview, member testing, background checks and “overall evaluation and screening.” But the woman claims she received just two matches over a five-month period, resulting in only one date. Suffice to say it wasn’t a love connection. The man she went out with was not only above the age range she specified, but had a criminal record.

The woman, 65, requested a man 58 to 67 years old. Her date was a 73-year-old with three drunk-driving convictions and an outstanding criminal warrant in Arizona. He told the woman when they went out that he’d been convicted after his wife died and he was moving to New Jersey so he could obtain a driver’s license.

The company responded by saying that because it provides a service that deals with people’s emotions, it’s not surprising some customers are dissatisfied with the results. But the dating service’s vice president and general counsel also says there’s no guarantee that customers will get a date every one or two weeks. Instead, the company guarantees introductions; they provide matched customers with an exchange of information, and it’s up to them to do the rest. And just like in love, there are no refunds.

Still, an effective background check would have filtered out her date, who didn’t seem to match her specifications. Did the company fail to live up to even the most basic terms of the agreement? That will be decided in a courtroom, where the rules tend to be more cut-and-dry.

Source: ABC News, “New Jersey Woman Sues Matchmaking Service After Date of ‘Horror’,” Susanna Kim, June 21, 2012

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