Looking for love results in broken promises

CLEVELAND - The Investigator, Tom Meyer, filed an exclusive hidden-camera report on love, romance and broken promises.

"They said because I was a young, good-looking guy, that there would be plenty of women," one dating service customer told Action News. "They make all these promises of romance and how you're going to be in high demand.

"The numbers they give you are exaggerated, totally exaggerated."

Three young guys all in the hunt for that special woman tried parties and bars with no luck. So they turned to the dating service Great Expectations, a business that operates out of an office building in Independence.

Action News sent a producer in undercover. A salesperson described the type of career woman that he could easily find if he signed up.

"We do deal with professionals," the salesperson said. "I have professionals that make $79,000 and drive a BMW."

They're not the type of women, she said, that you'd find on a bar stool looking to get picked up. She said that the women members were classy, hardly the type to take advantage of men like other women she described.

"Girls are very scandalous," she said. "She's just thinking of what she's going to get from you."

Following the Action News undercover investigation, The Investigator asked the salesperson's boss what she thought of the way her employee handled the potential sale.

"That's not a way the company wants to be represented," assistant manager Cat Bruno said.

On its Web site, the company boasts of 6-8 marriages a month in Cleveland alone and a nationwide divorce rate of only 4 percent.

The salesperson told the Action News producer that he could afford to be selective. When asked what kind of woman he was looking for, he didn't mention a pretty face as a priority, which prompted this reaction: "You can only put a bag over her face for so long."

Her boss wasn't pleased.

"It does not sit well with me at all," Bruno said.

Once you sign a contract for up to $4,000, you have access to clients' profiles and photos. A guy who asked to be addressed as "Joe" said that the choices in his age group were slim.

"She said there would be close to 1,000 (women) and there was about 120," Joe said. "That's it."

Another guy named "Frank" had the same complaint. He's in his 20s and he found only three women to his liking.

"The women available were middle-aged, not even remotely in my age group," Frank said. "It was not close to what I was looking for."

In the 18-35-year-old age group, Action News recently found there were more than two men to every woman. Ed Leung found a 4-1 man-to-woman ratio.

"It's good for a woman," Leung said. "If I were a woman, I'd be very happy."

"There are generally more women than they're meeting on the outside, and that's how we represent that," Bruno said.

How can she make that claim? How does she know everyone's options? All three men complained of high-pressure tactics. They told our undercover producer that he would save $1,000 if he signed up that day. When you do sign up, you still have to come in for a photo and video shoot before you can start looking at their files.

"I could tell in a half-hour that this service wasn't right for me," Frank said.

He tried to cancel his membership, but he was told it was too late. Frank had three days to cancel from the time he signed his contract, not from the time of his photo shoot. It was Great Expectations, however, that set up the photo session. They said that they're too busy to schedule folks within the three-day cancellation period.

When the Action News producer asked what would happen if he didn't like his choices of women, the saleswoman was nearly speechless.

"I haven't come across that question," she said. "I'd say, how many women do you need. What are you, a pimp?"

So, buyer beware. Looking for love might cost you a bundle with no guarantee that you'll be satisfied with the results.

The Better Business Bureau reports a pattern of complaints against Great Expectations involving sales, contract and performance issues. Nearly two dozen complaints just in the past year have been resolved.