It’s the day that many people just have to have a date. Valentine’s Day brings big business to flower shops, restaurants and online dating services.

More than 20 million people visit an online dating website every month. Not everyone has a happy experience, so it’s important to do research before signing up with any dating service and we’re happy if you apply these priciples to Let’s Go Dating

Last year, consumers filed more than 2,700 complaints nationwide against dating services.

The most common complaints come from people not satisfied with the number or the quality of the dates they receive through the services.

But some people, in their rush to sign up, gloss over important information about the terms and fees charged for membership on a service.

Websites often offer discounts, or free trials that don’t last long, and have what is known as a negative option. If you don’t take action, you’ll get charged.

“They will sign up for free,” said Erin Dufner of the Better Business Bureau . “They will provide their e-mail address, pictures, maybe set up a profile. But at the end of those three or four days, they can be charged for some kind of automatic renewal.”

For those who sign up for a trial or discount offer, make sure to know what happens at the end of the offer period. It’s also important to check the cancellation policy before you agree to join.

“The other thing to look for is their privacy policy,” said Dufner. “How are they sharing your information? Are they sharing it with other online dating services possibly? Are they providing it to the people who are online?”

The BBB has the following tips for people who are considering signing up for a dating service:

Consider the expectations.

  • Find out how members are introduced to one another and how many referrals can be expected within a given time period.
  • Determine how comfortable it is using the searching and browsing tools provided to view member profiles.
  • Review the company’s privacy policy to see how personal information will be protected.
  • Look for a “Frequently Asked Questions” section to resolve any concerns.

Review services that seem likely to attract the type of person you want to meet.

  • Look for dating services that enforce behavioral standards and provide respectful and supportive environments.
  • Many online services charge a flat rate while others may offer itemized pricing that requires additional payments for access to certain services.
  • Make sure there is not a negative option in place which would opt consumers into automatic monthly billings if they do not cancel in time.

Request detailed information about fees.

  • Some dating services charge a flat rate while others may offer itemized pricing that requires additional payments for access to certain services.


  • Some contracts require consumers to stay with the service for a set time.
  • Consumers should know what steps are necessary if they are dissatisfied with the company’s services and if their contract will automatically renew when the time period is over.

Remember that safety is critical.

  • Consumers should not reveal too much personal information in their online dating profile.
  • Use only the communication tools provided by the dating service and don’t invite singles to e-mail directly to a private e-mail address until there has been significant positive correspondence.
  • When consumers do feel ready to exchange e-mails in private, consider creating a separate, anonymous e-mail account at a free site.