Jeanne McCarthy, 65, thought she would meet a "quality" man when she paid $7,000 for a professional matchmaking service. Instead, she said she got one date with a man with three drunk driving convictions and an outstanding criminal warrant.
McCarthy is suing her local Lawrenceville, N.J., branch of Two of Us, a brick and mortar matchmaking service with 15 offices nationwide. Instead of the online dating services, like eHarmony, Two of Us offers professional matchmakers and "promises to arrange 'matches' with another member for the purposes of arranging a dating relationship between those individuals."
Two of Us "would merely collect a fee from anyone who signed up and would simply match members at random," the suit states.
McCarthy, a technical writer living in New Jersey, learned of Two of Us through its advertising campaign and went to the local office for a consultation. The advertising stated that the company screens its members and performs a criminal background check, according to McCarthy's lawsuit, filed on June 4 in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Mercer County.
She said she was told by a representative that "Two of Us would provide quality matches at the rate of one or two during every two-week period."
McCarthy and her attorney, David Knapp, declined to comment.
McCarthy is suing PMM Inc., which is doing business as Two of Us in Lawrenceville, for breach of contract, fraud and consumer fraud, and requests her money back plus unspecified punitive damages. The suit states Two of Us breached their agreement by failing to "provide one or two matches over a two month period as promised and by failing to adequately evaluate and screen the matches" referred to her.
On Jan. 13, 2011, she signed up for a membership agreement for a non-refundable fee of $7,000. The agreement states, "Two of Us provides for the initial member interview, member testing, background checks and overall evaluation and screening..."
But she said Two of Us provided "only two matches over a five month period which yielded only one date."
"To her horror, [McCarthy] determined that this one date involved a man with three drunk driving convictions and [an] outstanding criminal warrant in Arizona," the suit stated.
Her date was a 73-year-old widower from Arizona who told her he received the convictions after his wife died and was moving to New Jersey so he could get a driver's license, according to The Trentonian.
McCarthy wanted a man 58 to 67 years old with an active lifestyle like her, according to the newspaper.
McCarthy "terminated the agreement and demanded an immediate refund of her fee. Despite repeated requests, [Two of Us] has refused to do so," the suit states.
Ethan Baker, Two of Us' vice president of operations and general counsel, said the company has not been served yet and could not comment on the specific allegations of the lawsuit.
"We are providing a service that deals with peoples' emotions," he said. "It's not like you have one product and you can tell if it's defective. Each person and result varies dramatically. One person may be disappointed with one introduction but the next can lead to a lifetime with someone else."
Baker said introductions are provided every four to eight weeks on an available basis.
"They're never told they're going to get one every two weeks," Baker said. "That flies in the face of our contract."
Each Two of Us office is individually owned and operated, according to Baker, but a management company in Glendale, Calif., oversees all offices. Baker said the owners have been in the business of matchmaking for about 23 years.
Basic packages start at about $2,290 for five introductions. The company's motto is, "Because two is always better than one."
"We don't guarantee dates, we guarantee introductions," Baker said. "After we provide the exchange of information for two members, it's up to them to talk to each other, set up a date and do what they need to do. That's clear in the contract as well."
Baker said there is a "no refund" clause in the "binding" contracts.
"We have thousands of happy members throughout the country who use the service on a daily basis," Baker said. "We're a customer service business. That's the goal of what we do. It doesn't do us any good if we have unhappy members. We do what we can to make our members happy so that we can all work together toward finding suitable and appropriate introductions for them."
Baker would not specify the number of clients the company has but said that it has "thousands of members nationwide" and several thousand in New Jersey.