On Your Side Alert: BBB warns dating service targets elderly - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

On Your Side Alert: BBB warns dating service targets elderly

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

If you're looking for love, the Better Business Bureau warns not every offer will lead to romance. The organization says its received complaints about a dating service targeting seniors.

If you're looking for romance, website Henrico Singles claims to be your ticket to a date. When a Henrico woman at a living assisted facility received one of its flyers, red flags went up. She contacted the Better Business Bureau. President and CEO Tom Gallagher said an investigation revealed some questionable practices. "It got to a lady, and the lady tried to track it down and they wanted to get over $4,000 from her to sign into this dating service," he said.

Henrico Singles says it works with a matchmaking service called Virginia Singles. The BBB says it's all the same company, and may go by several other names. The organization gives the dating service an F rating. Gallagher says there are questions about claims made by the dating site; things like, “Real Virginia Singles. Guaranteed!”; “Virginia's Premier Matchmaking Service”; “All Introductions are 100% Guaranteed.” 

"I started working for the BBB in 1969. I have watched this kind of thing go on since the day I went to work for it," Gallagher said .There are over 100 similar complaints on the BBB's site, people alleging they paid thousands of dollars for a service that didn't hold up it's end of the bargain.

A receptionist at Henrico Singles confirmed the business was operating out of the building but said employees would not talk on camera and informed us our information was handed over to a corporate office.

We never got a call or email from the dating site's corporate office. The dating service did respond to complaints on the BBB's site with answers like, it doesn't provide refunds and customers need to give the service time to work. Still, the BBB says the company hasn't responded to other requests about advertising , background information and questions about fees and policies.

The BBB advises before you agree to the terms of a dating service, do your research. Make sure you understand the contract and also know what the company will do if if you're not happy with its service. "Where the vulnerability comes from is loneliness. We are all lonely. I can see myself being vulnerable in several years if I lose my wife...I am going to be very lonely," Gallagher explained.

Regardless of what service you go with, the BBB says keep in mind not every business is looking to make a match. Some are after your money. Gallagher say the elderly are prime targets.

"People who do this to other people in my mind are simply creating an assault on dignity. It is just like pedophilia on the other end of life," Gallagher says. The BBB warns regardless of your age or the service you use, don't be blinded by love.

BBB report:

http://www.bbb.org/boston/business-reviews/dating-service/international-dating-ventures-inc-in-norwell-ma-98805

http://www.bbb.org/richmond/business-reviews/dating-service/virginia-singles-in-richmond-va-63403584

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