HARTFORD (CN) - A matchmaking service defrauded a Ph.D. of $9,566 by promising her "elite" services for a mate, but providing her with a drunk, a free-rider and a third man the dating service lied about, the 75-year-old psychologist plaintiff claims in court.
Bernice Schaefer sued Connecticut Introductions dba ELove Matchmaking, in Superior Court.
Schaefer, a licensed psychologist, lost her husband of 41 years in 1997, and her 14-year relationship with another man ended when he died in 2012.
She got a mailer from Elove in early 2013, in which it "touted the selective nature of its business, highlighting how it both screened potential members and performed criminal background checks on them," she says in the lawsuit. "It website says: 'We pre-screen and background check all potential members to ensure you will be meeting sincere, high quality singles.'"
She went to a "consultation" at the defendant's Glastonbury, Conn., office, and paid $9,500 for its "elite plan," which promised her "at least sixteen (16) quality matches," Schaefer says.
She says she asked if the men had to pay the same fees she did, and was assured that they did. Schaefer told the defendant she was interested in the arts, reading, playing bridge and fine dining. "She also stated that someone's religion, race or ethnicity would not matter to her, but she did not want someone particularly involved in ANY religion."
Then she handed over a check for $9,566.18.
Her first date "was in poor financial condition, religious, and not well-read." He was "unfamiliar with theater, could not afford to dine out, and could not afford his house, having trouble paying his mortgage, having two ex-wives, a history of depression, and was a devout Catholic." Nor had he paid the $9,500 membership - he got a 3-month free ride. He was, in short, "the antithesis of the type of person plaintiff told defendant she sought," Schaefer says.
Date No. 2 was no better. He showed up half an hour late, "clearly inebriated. Plaintiff expressed her disappointment at the fact that Match No. 2 was drunk; in response, Match No. 2 left abruptly, leaving plaintiff, with a badly sprained ankle, to find her own way home," according to the complaint.
Schaefer complained to ELove, which told her - for the first time - that most men her age wanted a woman 20 years young, so there was a shortage of men for her. But ELove never told her this when she handed over her money.
After refusing her request for a refund, ELove set her up with a man it claims had been a journalist. That was a lie, Schaefer says. The guy did not read or go to the theater or movies. They had no common interests.
Their contract required disputes to be arbitrated by the Better Business Bureau, Schaefer says. But ELove has 143 complaints against it on the BBB website, and an "F" rating, so the BBB said it could not arbitrate the dispute, Schaefer says in the lawsuit.
She wants her money back and damages and punitive damages for breach of contract, unfair trade, fraud/fraud in the inducement. She is represented by Tamara Kagan Levine with Green & Levine, of Farmington.
On its website, checked today, ELove describes itself as "Voted #1 Matchmaking Service," offering "personal matchmaking and dating coaching to upscale singles."
"We are the largest personal introduction service in the world and have survived, and thrived, over the years because of many things," the website states.