By comparison, Carolyn Sweeney, 49, a single mom from Agoura Hills who had recently been laid off, and Tiffany Ghiselin, 45, a North Hollywood information technology consultant, got a bargain at ,000 and ,500 respectively.
What they – and many others – have in common is that they all say they were scammed, according to complaints to the state attorney general’s office, consumer agencies and the Better Business Bureau.
It also denies allegations that it woos clients on the pretense of offering free dating consultations.
But many of those complaining allege having been “matched” with dates far outside their geographical areas, or without any common interest or with people who did not remotely meet the criteria they had requested.
Vratarik maintains that a 2004 sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee of Two of Us predecessor Together, and settled out of court, supports the complaints against Yetenekian and his companies.
In addition to the sexual harassment claims, Michelle Cochran, the former employee, alleged that Together misrepresented its success by posing employees of the company as “satisfied clients.” Two of Us declined comment on Cochran’s allegations but denied it poses its employees as satisfied clients.
A sampling of those complaints found that a small group of alleged victims maintain the company took them for more than $100,000 through unusually high pressure sales tactics that prey on their loneliness and vulnerability.
All have demanded their money back, alleging misrepresentation, misleading business practices and exhausting, hours-long interviews they thought were were free dating service consultations.In fact, no one does in the state, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs.Law enforcement officials also say that by providing dates and prospective matches, dating services such as Two of Us appear to skirt criminal fraud, leaving civil action as the victims’ only recourse.“We emphatically deny that there is any misrepresentation of our services or that Two of Us representatives use high pressure sales tactics,” said Two of Us attorney Ethan D. Baker said Two of Us tries to resolve disputes with its clients but that “sometimes these complaining members have unrealistic expectations that just cannot be met.” The dating service has agreed to full refunds to only four of the 77 complainants and a partial refund to another, according to the Better Business Bureau, whose D rating of Two of Us makes it the worst among Southern California dating services.“It looks like they’ve been taking people’s money, for sure,” said Bob Richardson, director of operations for the Better Business Bureau.Most of the victims confirm that they have been “matched” on at least one date by the company, but almost all complain that Two of Us matchmakers seemed to ignore the requirements of a potential mate that they set out in their written dating requests.