Deanna Dewberry, NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit
A Fort Worth woman says she received only bad dates after spending $2,200 on a matchmaking service and was offered a conditional refund if she didn t speak negatively about the company.
Imagine spending big bucks for a personalized dating service only to end up with bad dates and a lot less money. That’s what one Fort Worth woman named Carol Carrillo said happened to her, and NBC 5 Investigates learned she’s not alone.
Carrillo is smart, attractive, athletic and a sports fanatic, but the 40-something flight attendant is still single.
“I’m an outgoing person except when it comes to my personal life. I meet someone that I’m interested in and I freeze,” said Carrillo. So she turned to Dallas Singles, a matchmaking service she found online.
On its website, the service promises to provide an extensive search and screening process -- personal service Carrillo thought would be worth the price. After what she described as a lengthy intake process, she signed the contract.
Carrillo said she suspected she’d regret her decision when the employee ran her credit card then immediately told her the buyer’s remorse law didn’t apply to her membership in Dallas Singles.
“My heart sunk,” said Carrillo. She had signed a year membership and was charged $2,200.
Contract Promised 15 Matches
The contract promised matches with 15 men in a year.
Her first match was with a man who, she said, on their first and only date, openly expressed his disdain for people who were not of his social standing.
“I found his opinions of people prejudicial, not very nice,” said Carrillo.
Her next match was a cyclist who Carrillo said was painfully shy. She said phone chat was a struggle. When he did finally open up “he talked for 20 minutes about ripping his bicycle pants,” said Carrillo, giggling.
Carrillo went on to describe her first, and only, phone conversation with a third match.
“One person, without mentioning his name, literally told me he joined Dallas Singles because people judged him on his looks. And it was hard to sleep with women, and so he joined this because it was easier to get on women,” said Carrillo. Even though his profile boasts a culinary degree, he told her he’d actually he’d just taken some cooking classes in Houston, was unemployed and lived with his mother and brother.
Finally, Carrillo had had enough.
“Now, I just want my money back,” said Carrillo.
Efforts to Get a Refund
But getting her money back has not been easy. After months of unanswered phone calls and certified letters, Carrillo called NBC 5 Investigates. We called Dallas Singles. The owner, Ted Law, declined to talk to us on camera on repeated occasions. But minutes after our call, he reached out to Carrillo and later left a voicemail for her promising to give her all her money back.
But the paperwork she received said her refund was conditional. She had to agree to “not to disparage Dallas Singles, Fort Worth Singles or Singles International or its affiliates, clients or personnel in any way in the future.”
“I’d rather lose all my money than not fight these people. They haven’t given me any of what was promised,” said Carrillo.
She’s not alone in her complaints. The owners of Dallas Singles, Law and, his wife Rachel, filed for bankruptcy and are defendants in a 2012 class action lawsuit relating to their former company, another match-making service.
According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs claimed not only did they fail to make promised matches, but also they were deceptive. They displayed pictures of couples depicted as success stories, but plaintiffs said those happy couples were actually employees of the company.
A settlement is under negotiation.
Law insisted Carol “didn’t give the service a chance.” He insisted his business leads to happy matches. In the meantime, Carrillo isn’t waiting for Law to refund her money. She said she contacted her credit card company, worked with them on a dispute and ultimately got the money back.
She advised anyone in a similar situation to read the fine print and not make an impulsive decision. As for her quest for love, she’s not giving up yet.
“I’d like to meet someone the regular way, but what is the regular way anymore?” asked Carrillo.