NAPLES, Fla. Donna Goodhart signed up for Naples Singles in hopes of meeting new people.
“I lost my daughter to a tragedy,” she said. “And through that I went through a divorce. Everybody mourns differently and it was very difficult on my husband. After 34 years of marriage, it was very difficult. So I became a single lady nine months ago.”
She agreed to pay nearly $6,000 for the service, which promised her eight dates.
“I didn’t want to go out into the dating world,” she said. “I had been married too long and I just felt very vulnerable. So I thought if I went to some kind of upscale service, which is how they presented themselves, that I could meet people and they would be matched by certain backgrounds, certain likes or dislikes rather than me going on the internet.”
But after four months, she only had one date – and he wasn’t a match.
Pattern of breaking hearts
Naples Singles is operated by Romance Pros International, which also runs Tampa Singles, Sarasota Singles, D.C. Singles and Virginia Singles.
The state Attorney’s Office received nine complaints about the company within the past three years.
The Better Business Bureau in Florida and Virginia received more than 60 complaints.
One of the complainants, Susan Howard, said she paid $1,500 for four matches.
“This is not a fair game,” she said. “They are stealing money. They come through with nothing. They enter your information on some computer program that obviously isn’t working. The one person was so polar opposite from me, it was laughable.”
Romance Pros International was ordered to pay more than $21,000 in restitution and fees to consumers in 2012. At the time, the company was required to comply with the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
“The 2012 Romance Pros International citation, and the 31 BBB complaints, all of which, accrued over a three-year period, were amicably resolved,” the company said in a statement.
Only five of the 31 complaints were resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, according to the BBB.
One woman, who is being identified as ‘Beth’ for this story, has a similar story to Goodhart’s.
Then she received some scary news from her doctor.
“She told me that I had a negative test come back and that I might have cancer,” she said. “They would not refund my money and not let me out of the contract, which was extremely upsetting to me because I didn’t know what my health situation was and I didn’t think they should be forcing me to date and forcing me to meet under what I consider fraudulent circumstances.”
Naples Singles’ fees are non-refundable except if the customer has a doctor’s order stating the client can’t physically receive services.
Romance Pros International, when contacted by Call For Action, agreed to refund ‘Beth’ her money but said they would not refund Goodhart’s fees because her doctor’s note addressed ‘preexisting conditions.’