The province is investigating after several clients of an Alberta matchmaking service came forward with complaints about misleading contracts and subpar service.
The dating industry in Canada has grown 25 percent in the last five years and Canadians spent a whopping $159 million last year trying to meet that someone special.
Alberta Matchmakers operates in Calgary and Edmonton and its website says it is the ‘premier matchmaking service for upscale and mature singles.’
The company promises hand-picked introductions and charges thousands of dollars for providing the connections.
Inge French filled out the matchmaking company’s online questionnaire and was then invited to a southwest Calgary office for an interview.
She says she took personality tests and answered questions for hours and was assured that she would meet the perfect match.
“She just made it sound so appealing, like they already had a lineup of people that would be perfect for me,” said French.
French eventually paid $2100 for five introductions and says she immediately regretted the move and called to cancel but was told the contract offers no refunds.
“I said Debra, really, I want out. She said, well you signed a contract, and that was that,” said French.
She says it has now been over a year and she has not had a single introduction, despite the company’s promises.
“They just drill, drill, drill and reach down and grab all those emotions from you and promise you a wonderful result,” said French.
In 2016, Susan Shetter called Alberta Matchmakers and says she also went through an extensive personal interview.
“You know pretty in depth questions, which led me to believe, wow, they're really scrutinizing here,” she said.
Shetter says she paid $8000 for 10, quality introductions and was given one in a year and once again no refund.
“I was led to believe they had a deep data base of highly qualified candidates that were also very discerning and really wanted to meet a quality woman and that were interested in having a relationship,” said Shetter.
CTV Calgary Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty looked into the complaints from French, Shetter and two others, who wanted to remain anonymous.
Lea tried to reach out to Alberta Matchmakers and had a hard time finding someone to talk about the complaints as the only contact information was for the new client call-in number.
Records at Calgary's Better Business Bureau show several names associated with Alberta Matchmakers throughout North America but it lists a company called eLove, based in Boston, as its headquarters.
Lea called eLove and asked for Alberta Matchmakers and was given the same client call in number.
A company consultant returned the call and said Alberta Matchmakers has a new owner, a company called Alberta Singles.
Lea inquired about the four complaints from customers saying that they didn’t get what they paid for and was told that…
"Alberta Singles investigated each complainants’ allegations and concluded that it satisfied the terms of each contract and delivered the matchmaking services it was obligated to provide each of the complainants."
The province is now investigating because companies can write ‘no refund’ in the contract but it doesn’t absolve them from providing the services they were contracted for.
(With files from Lead Williams-Doherty)