Signing the Dating Service Agreement

This is a most critical topic to read carefully and fully understand what you read. What you should learn here is enough of the many traps to look for and actions to take to protect yourself and your money from a dishonest dating service.

Ask to take a copy of the dating service agreement home to study and, if you have one, for your attorney to review. They probably won't let you take one out, but at least they will know you are not planning on signing it without reading it.

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You will first notice the agreement will probably be three of four paragraphs about what the company promises to provide for you, then about twenty paragraphs concerning what the company is not responsible for and what action you cannot take against the company. If you sign this contract as it is written, and if you are not satisfied with the service, or cannot continue the service for any reason, you may be stuck with no options for cancellation of the membership or any refund.

As has been already mentioned, many dating services have a habit of telling you anything to get you to join to meet and date their single women. For that reason, you should have everything they promise and claim in writing and signed. The first thing you should look for is a clause stating you agree you did not join the service based on any promises or commitments made to you orally by a representative of the company. Rewrite this to add a statement that they will agree to honor all their promises and commitments you have in writing and signed by them.

Look for a clause that states the company is released from any damages, claims, or liabilities that arise from inaccuracies or nondisclosures made to you by any company representative. Change that to read they are responsible for any of these you have in writing and agreed to by the representative. Look for and modify all other clauses that appear to attempt to release the service from anything you have been promised or you have been led to believe.

Look for and eliminate any clauses that somehow indicates the company can change or modify its operation without notice, permission, or obligation to its members. Otherwise, they could just close the business and leave, owing you nothing.

Get rid of any statements that in the event of a legal action, the member, and not the company, is responsible for all legal fees, including the company attorney's fee. Rewrite it so the losing party in a legal ruling is responsible for all legal fees. There is a reason I warn you about this. Two dating service members reported they had not received nearly as many contacts as the company had promised, and was written into the contract. When a complaint was filed, the company would not negotiate a refund and indicated if the member wanted a refund or settlement, he or she would have to bring legal action. Such an action would cost at least $2,000, not counting the dating service attorney's fee. It isn't worth that much money to bring a lawsuit, where there is not a guarantee you will win, to get back maybe $1,000 or so.

These companies know this, and will use it to their benefit. The clause may also state that should any court of competence rule any part of the agreement to be invalid, then the other parts will still be considered valid by the company. Get rid of or change that if you do not agree with it.

Rewrite any statements such as you agree the fee you pay for the dating service is earned by the service at the end of the interview, and the company does not grant any requests for refunds or cancellations. Rewrite any statements about this so that you can cancel if you find it necessary and receive a refund on a prorated basis for how long you used the membership. State a prorated base you think is fair.

There will be a statement that the company does a reasonable investigation to verify what the member told them about him or herself, but they are no responsible for the information being accurate. No one reported meeting someone really horrible, such as a rapist or murderer, but some women did indicate they had met men who were married and had joined the service just to meet a woman to have a "fling" with.

I suspect the only investigation some of these companies do is financial in subject to make sure you can pay for the service, otherwise even a routine investigation should reveal that a person is married. Most dating services are not very selective about who can become a member. They are looking for quantity, not quality. Therefore, they probably will not agree to changes in that clause, but if you are worried about the possibility about meeting some single female really bad, you should try to rewrite it somewhat so that they do share at least some responsibility.

This is only a sample of the things you should look for and alter. Carefully read and understand each clause before you initial it and sign the contract. If you don't understand it, ask them to rewrite it so you can understand and agree with it.

When you and the company both finally agree to the altered agreement, make sure everything changed is initialed by the representative and management of the company, and that both sign the agreement. I mentioned before there are clauses stating they do not have to honor any action made by a representative of the company. This really means that if only the rep you are dealing with signs the agreement, the company does not have to abide by their end of the agreement. Statements that really trap you tend to be written and stated a different way in different parts of the agreement so you may think you have eliminated or restated that agreement to your satisfaction, but you may miss the second or third time it is mentioned.

You may be wondering now if the company will actually agree to all these changes, and the answer is probably not. Any business has the responsibility and privilege to legally protect itself, but some take the privilege too far. Many dating services will take as much of your money they can, then legally release themselves from any of the promises and claims they make and justify their no refund policy. As a minimum, I strongly recommend you never join a service that does not include, or will not allow, a refund clause based on a prorated scale should you or the become unable to fulfill the terms of the contract.

Whatever agreement you sign, do not lose your copy. There was one reported incident where the dating service altered the original copy of the agreement kept in their files, after the member signed it. You will probably be offered a carbon copy of the signed agreement. I would go one step further and insist on getting a photocopy of the original as well.

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