Finding a Date

Valentine’s Day is Saturday and I hope you have wonderful plans with a loved one. But if you don’t have a special person, there are ways to find them. including matchmaking services. But when one South Florida woman says she didn’t get what she was promised, she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser for some answers.

If you are divorced or haven’t dated in awhile and you want to find a special person, you probably know what Robin has discovered.

Robin Sterne: “So when I got there I realized it is a whole new world. You meet people that are married or they’re too young too old.”

Robin tried what so many people have: headed to the Internet.

Robin Sterne: “I tried online dating and I really met some amazing people but at the end of the day they were not the right people for me.”

Robin is a successful businesswoman and decided she wanted to meet a successful, well to do man. So she contacted a matchmaking company.

Robin Sterne: “And they have people there who are really smart at listening and tell you ‘Oh, we have database of men who are business owners who sold their business, who have an abundance of money and all they want is have a really good relationship.’”

The price: $4,000 dollars for an 18-month contract that Robin says came with a verbal promise.

Robin Sterne: “And they assured me they had an abundance of people to introduce me to and, as a matter of fact, they said we are going to introduce you to two people a month.”

Robin filled out the questionnaire, described herself and what she was looking for. On May 16 she signed the contract.

Robin Sterne: “Maybe this is going to be worth my money. I’m going to meet nice people and have a chance with a new life.”

A few weeks later, she got her first nibble.

Robin Sterne: “And he called me and set up a date and he canceled and I set up a second date and canceled that, so my first month was meeting zero.”

Then she had a date that did show up. Nice guy but no spark. She met with a second person, but after five minutes they decided not to go out on a date. Then Robin says a month passed. She concluded she was looking for love in the wrong place.

Robin Sterne: “I really just wanted my money back. I felt they had good intentions when they started but they just couldn’t deliver what they promised.”

But when Robin asked for her money back, they told her they would not deliver that, either.

Robin Sterne: “I feel very disrespected. I feel sad that I made a decision to go to this company.”

Well Howard, Robin says the dating service promised two dates a month, but over the first few months, only had two dates.

Howard Finkelstein: “Almost every contract you sign with a company favors the company and this is no different. Nowhere does it promise two dates a month. And if you don’t cancel within the first three days, it’s binding and you don’t get any money back at all. But if the company representative made verbal promises to get Robin to sign, that could be an unfair or deceptive trade practice and she does get her money back.”

We spoke to the owner of Precision Dating.

Mitchell Brandt told us they never verbally promised Robin two dates a month — that if they had, it would have been written in the contract.

He says Robin started with them in June and five weeks later called it quits. Adding: “We tried to arrange dates but beginning in August she would not meet with any of them… That our expenses were about $2700.” Brandt offered to refund the other $1,300 to Robin.

We told Robin but she said no, she wanted at least half. Brandt suggested binding arbitration to settle the disagreement. Robin said she wanted non-binding arbitration. We then gave up.

Robin Sterne: “I feel I paid for nothing.”

The matchmaker didn’t work for Robin but she is not giving up.

Robin Sterne: “Will I meet somebody? Yes. Have I met somebody? Maybe and we will take it from there.”

Hope it works out for you and you have a nice Valentine’s Day, Robin. Now the dispute over the two dates a month is basically a ‘he said, she said.’ To avoid that when you sign any contract, if someone verbally promises you something get it written in the contract. If they refuse, that tells you they don’t have the authority to deliver on the promise and of course, before you sign anything, carefully read the contract.

A problem left you broken hearted? Want to mend some fences? Set a date to talk to us. We don’t deliver flowers but when we are done hopefully you will be left smelling like a rose.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
E-mail: helpmeHoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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