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BBB advice on choosing a dating service

Dating services appeal to people by offering a prescribed way of meeting new people with similar interests. As with any service that requires you to provide personal information, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) recommends a close review of the contract before signing your name on the dotted line.

 “Using a company to provide some order to the unpredictable world of dating appeals to both men and women,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “While such companies can help you narrow your focus, the algorithm of the human heart defies any one formula; a variety of approaches is always your best bet for finding love.”

 To find the dating service that works best for you, keep the following tips in mind: 

Consider what you would like to get from the service. Some dating services focus on developing long-term matches, while others assist in broadening your scope of friends, in the hopes of meeting that special someone. Determining what you hope to receive from a service will help you make the best choice for your needs.

Research the company’s background at   

 Read the contract and fine print thoroughly. Be sure the contract outlines payment plans, length of contract and refund and cancellation policies in case you are dissatisfied with the company's service. Some dating services charge a flat rate for their benefit package, while others may offer a la carte pricing that requires additional payments for access to services tailored to your needs. Make sure you understand what you can reasonably expect from the service balanced against the investment you will be making.

 Select a service that enforces high standards of behavior. Request in writing what guidelines the company follows in screening its applicants. Does the service, for example, conduct a thorough background check of each applicant?

Prepare to get personal. Get a sense of the questions the company asks for use in creating your member profile, including your age, profession, likes/dislikes, hobbies, etc. Also, find out if the service requests photographs from you or if they will take pictures/create videos at their place of business. 

Understand the process. Determine how members are introduced to one another and how many referrals you can expect within a given time period. If the service offers group activities, find out what they are and how often they occur.

Research the demographics. Make certain there are plenty of members within your geographic area and the age range(s) in which you are interested. 

Explore the company’s website. Carefully review their privacy policy to see how your personal information will be protected.