“Did somebody say… deal ?!”
– Joe Isuzu.
It goes without saying that nothing elicits a response in the human condition more than words ‘deal’ and ‘free’. This is definitely the case in California, especially Los Angeles, where groceries cost about 745 times the national average, and buying a tank of gas requires a pre-approval process which usually requires a down-payment of your first born… if you are lucky.
I’m not immune to those magic words either, and if anything, being Jewish makes me incredibly hypersensitive to those expressions even if they are whispered anywhere within the western hemisphere. However, before you start throwing out the kosher one-liners with reckless abandon, you should know that I’m permitted to tell Jewish jokes because I was properly born into the clan. Also, just to refute historical documentation (Seinfeld) it is not permissible to convert just to tell the jokes.
With that out of the way, I can dive into the heart of the matter, which revolves around getting a ‘deal’ or ‘free’ offer from an online dating website. We now live in a digital world where Groupons, LivingSocial and Bogopods have become household words for a deal; NOT the names of the latest Disney inspired rock bands. Therefore, it’s a fairly safe bet that you will be able to find discount offers for most of the major online dating sites.
I will be focusing specifically on a promotional discount offered by Match.com simply called the “6-Month Guarantee”. In laymen’s terms, Match is basically saying if you can’t possibly find your future spouse within 180 days; out of pity for your hopeless situation they will give you another half a year to search their site seeing that it probably won’t do you any good anyway. I’m 0-2 on the 6-month guarantee. Does that make me a socially inept loser? That depends on who you ask and is up for debate. I prefer to describe myself as “picky”, but that’s beside the point and a column for another day.
My beef is HOW Match goes about honoring this seemingly unbeatable offer. As a side note, not only do you get a deal by signing up for 6 months up front – already half the cost of signing up per month – there are always 20 or 25% off promo links floating around the web to save you even more! (REMINDER: No converting just to tease me and my people.)
Deals are all fine and good, but it’s when it comes time to collect on the deal is where Match gets a bit underhanded. First I should disclose that one must meet the criteria of the commitment, which literally consists of emailing 5 people per month for 6 months, and posting a picture (preferably of one’s self) . Since Match’s incredibly sophisticated website tracks this status for you on a monthly basis [see photo #2], it would seem fair to assume that once you have muddled your way through 6 months of other lovelorn and horny matches, that the free 6 months start automatically.
Not so fast “Mr. Can’t find love in half a year’s time”! While it seems you are in your free 6-month period due to your account still remaining active, one look at your credit card statement tells a different tale. On both occasions Match.com charged me for another 6 months despite their promise to the contrary. Of course, in both instances I was on the phone faster than you can say “small claims court” to get to the bottom of this unauthorized charge.
The explanation I was given on the latest oversight was about as comprehensible as a fast food drive thru speaker under water. What I got out of it was, Match.com automatically charges you for the additional 6 months, and it’s up to YOU to contact them to have the charge refunded in order to take advantage of the deal. Huh?!? I went back to read the fine print that required a nuetron microscope, and it seemed to confirm what the Match.com representive seemed to incoherently muble to me on the phone. Although, I can’t be sure as the guarentee looked to be written in pig latin.
Long story longer, on both of my attempts of ‘Man vs Internet Dating”, man won… 6 free months of Match.com service including a refund. I would have preffered actually finding the love of my life, but beggers can’t be choosers. While the main part of the message I’m trying to deliver is to review your credit card statements as if you were a highly trained CIA operative, this whole subject raises another deeper question:
Can you really put a price tag on finding love?
This hopeless romantic says no… as long as it comes with a 6-month guarantee.
Hayden Gilbert has been a member (on and off) of the online dating community for over the past 10 years. He offers an everyman’s perspective along with humorous insight into online relationships, etiquette, and technology’s growing role in human relationships. He is currently writing a book on his online dating experiences and can be contacted directly at [email protected]