We Deliver More Than Just Dates

I wrote a while back about the merriment of online dating.

Believe it or not, I’m an advocate of these web sites, because they’re the most efficient way to meet a lot of new people (albeit sometimes crazy people).

But these sites do massive business, and the best you can hope for is completely inadequate customer service if you ever need assistance on a technical issue.

One of these sites makes it virtually impossible to subscribe for less than six months. It’s easy to forget your account is set up to auto renew after that time because you’re totally distracted by the dozens of “New Match Received!” and “New Communication Received!” that show up in your email box daily. Plus, you become blinded by the possibility of meeting the love of your life because you completed a series of 491 compatibility-revealing questions and how can you explain that kind of investment if it doesn’t result in something?

I’m pretty good about making sure my account is not set to auto-renew after the initial period, just in case I change my mind. But sometimes, by the time you realize they billed your credit card again, it’s too late to do anything about it. Sure, you might naively click that button on their web site labeled “CONTACT US” to try to resolve the issue. However, you will find that the button does not actually link to a live person but to some kind of automated service representative. Or at least they come across that way. They’re named something like Angelina S. or Jeff H., and are clearly not allowed to use anything other than templated responses when they respond to your email.

As an example…

Email # 1, from Customer to Said Dating Site:

I purchased a 6-month membership last fall. I did not have it set up to auto-renew, and I confirmed this when I just checked the account (it says “not set to auto renew”). I have not been on the site for months and when I met someone another way, I cancelled my account. But you charged me anyway. Please refund me this $29.95 and make sure my account is officially closed.

Pretty simple, right?

Email #2, from Said Dating Site to Customer:

Thank you for contacting Customer Care. We congratulate you for finding that special someone and wish you all the best. Please note that subscriptions are set to automatically renew. This is to ensure continuous communication and to provide you with our discounted renewal rates. While reviewing your account, I noticed that you haven’t turned the auto-renew feature off. This is the main reason why your subscription has been renewed.

Unfortunately, you are not eligible for a refund. However, we would love to help you make the most of your experience. Feel free to call Customer Care should you need any assistance. Our Phone Representatives are available to take your call from 4 a.m. to 12 a.m., 7 days a week.

We look forward to helping you find the love of your life.

Hmmm. I already told them that I had met someone, and they acknowledged this. Why would I need help finding the love of my life? And why do my account settings say I am not set up to auto renew if they are saying I am?

Email # 3, from Customer to Said Dating Site:

I just looked at my account and it says under billing info “Will not auto renew”—why does it say that if you say it was set to auto renew? I know how auto renew works and my point is that my account was NOT set to auto renew and yet you charged me anyway. Please CANCEL this account. I am not interested in calling to resolve this issue.

Email #4, from Said Dating Site to Customer:

I sincerely apologize for the previous misunderstanding and I would be happy to provide you with some clarification in regards to your subscription. Please be informed that all refund requests are dealt over the phone. As such, you will have to call us to get assistance. Our Customer Care Representatives are available from 4 a.m. to 12 a.m. 7 days a week.

We look forward to helping you find the love of your life.

Still trying to help me find the love of my life? They work for an online site, and yet they are telling me to call them? I guess I have to write to them in plain-speak.

Email #5, from Customer to Said Dating Site:

Please cancel my account and assure I am not charged again.

Email #6, from Said Dating Site to Customer:

I am sorry to hear that you are closing your account. To get assistance with your inquiry, please contact a Customer Care Representative by calling us toll free. Our Representatives are available to take your call from 4 a.m. to 12 a.m., 7 days a week.

I would like to direct you to a web link with stories about members who did not give up and found the love of their life.

We look forward to helping you find the love of your life.

Giving up? Who’s giving up?

Email #7, from Customer to Said Dating Site:

I’ve already found someone so I am not interested in continuing. Please cancel my account. I should not need to call you on the phone to process this cancellation. I already tried doing it on the web, which should have worked, and obviously it did not work or you would not have charged me for another month. Please CANCEL my account and do not tell me to call you to do this! If you can’t handle this, please pass it along to a manager. I would think you would be more customer-friendly.

Email #8, from Said Dating Site to Customer:

We are very sorry to hear that you are deciding to leave our community. Before you finalize your decision, we hope that you would be willing to share the concerns that have made your experience less positive than we both hoped it would be. With some investigation and personal attention to your situation, we will do our best to address your concerns and improve your overall experience. Even if you ultimately decide to end your membership, we want to make sure that we have made our best effort to help you find the love of your life.

To get assistance with your inquiry, you must speak with a Customer Care Representative by calling us toll free. For your convenience, we are available 4 a.m. to 12 a.m., 7 days a week.

We can appreciate your concern and have spoken with many members who felt the same as you. I would like to direct you to a link with stories about members who did not give up and found the love of their life.

You want to investigate? How about you actually read this email string that recounts my entire relationship with you?

You’ve spoken to others who felt the same as me? No kidding!

Email #9:

Can you confirm that I will NOT be charged for a renewal? The web site says my subscription is about to expire, so I am assuming I won’t…but please CONFIRM THIS FOR ME. I have no intention of ever calling you after all the hoops you are making me jump through. Just please confirm my account is cancelled. I have already ended my membership so I am not contemplating this anymore and my decision is finalized!

Please stop sending me templated emails and just answer my simple question!

That did it. It only took 9 emails to get to a reasonable person. Sean H. clearly holds special powers that allow him to think independently and use his own words.

Email #10, from Sean H. to Customer:

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. I have reviewed your account and can confirm that your auto renewal feature for your account is already turned off. Please rest assured that you will incur no further charges. Should you have any other concerns or need further assistance, please reply back to this e-mail, and our Customer Care E-mail Team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ahh. He agrees. Auto renew has been off all along. I will incur no further charges. And he isn’t telling me to call them!

But Sean H. couldn’t leave it at that.

He had quotas to meet, bosses to impress. He couldn’t possibly let me have the last word. He had to end his email with a very special farewell:

We look forward to helping you find the love of your life.

Yeah? Keep on looking forward to it. It’s not happening. Not in this lifetime, buddy.