Woman has warning about SC dating service

FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) - Doris McGinnis is 76 years old. She lives by herself, and she's lonely.

One day, while surfing the Web, she discovered a matchmaking site. She filled out a request for more information.

A few hours later, she got a call from Fort Mill-based Great Expectations. She was excited to learn more, but she was nervous, too. "I don't think I've ever done anything like this in my life," McGinnis says, her voice shaking.

She agreed to visit their office. But when she got there, "it was very high pressure," she says. "Very high pressure."

McGinnis says the agency wanted to charge her $7,500. "I kept saying I can't spend this kind of money," she says. "I can't afford it."

McGinnis says she wanted to leave, but eventually she agreed to pay $2,245.

So what would all that money buy her? She says she was promised plenty of potential suitors, but she says Great Expectations showed her a limited number of male members her age.

"She sold me something she doesn't have," McGinnis says. "I paid for something, and got nothing."

The "she" McGinnis is referring to is Dawn Villano, the office manager at Great Expectations.

In a statement, Villano says McGinnis "had success in obtaining connections for dates in a very short period of time..." and that "she only participated in the program for less than one week..." before complaining.

"You know, we're there to try and help people," Villano said.

This isn't the first time we've heard complaints about the company. In 2009, a young medical student told Boll the agency wanted to charge her $7,000, before cutting her quote in half.

McGinnis says the haggling process there felt very strange. "They've checked you out some how," she says. "I don't know how they do it."

Says former Great Expectations employee Lisa Becker: "It is very manipulative." Becker said during a previous investigation that personal factors and credit history are used to pressure clients, and to determine how much to charge.

Villano declined another on-camera interview, saying "she'd been down this road with us before."

She says the company has signed 3,000 members in the last four years. During that time period, 19 clients have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau.

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