PORTLAND, Ore. — A local woman said she paid a Portland dating service thousands of dollars to find love and they sent her a man convicted of attempted voyeurism.
Tess, who didn’t want us to use her last name because of privacy reasons, joined Portland Singles last year. She was looking for someone to have fun with.
“I love to dance, even though right now I have a torn meniscus from dancing at my birthday party,” Tess said.
She chose the full-service dating company because she thought it was the safest way to meet someone.
“Their criteria led me to believe they were pretty thorough about vetting people about interviewing people,” said Tess.
One Portland Singles website advertising the service states:
Your safety comes first. We meet everyone in person and conduct background check (where applicable) on all members so you can feel more secure.
“I want to do this, but I want to be safe because I feel vulnerable,” she said.
Tess paid $2,000 to join the service. She said one of the first matches they sent her was a man with a wife in a care home.
“He works out all the time, so I’m supposed to be impressed because I guess he’s buff,” said Tess. “But he also has a wife in a care home and that’s a wife! That’s not a divorce, that’s not single, that’s not OK with me.”
The Portland Singles contract states memberships are only available to individuals who are in fact single, including the following marital status: single never married, divorced, separated with divorce in progress or widowed.
Tess said she searched the name one of her next matches before calling back to set up a potential date.
“Within three seconds, you know how fast Google is, I see he was arrested for voyeurism where he lives for setting up a camera in a woman’s bathroom where she lives, while he was doing his thing.”
According to court records, the man was found guilty of attempted voyeurism for putting peepholes in his bathroom wall and ceiling to spy on his tenant while showering.
“It made me mad and made me feel so incredibly unsafe and violated,” said Tess.
She sent a certified letter to Portland Singles asking for a refund, but she never heard back.
Portland Singles is one of half a dozen dating companies across the country owned by Toros Yetenekian.
Dozens of customers have complained to Better Business Bureaus across the country, claiming they were pressured into signing contracts costing tens of thousands of dollars.
BBB offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Dallas have put alerts out about Yetenekian’s companies in those cities.
“When you are talking about thousands of dollars that a lot of people paid, there a big expectation to get what you paid for,” said Portland BBB spokesman Steven Mayer.
Mayer said there is no alert on their site for Portland Singles, but customers should read the complaints and the response from the company.
"Even though we haven’t issued an alert, all that information is there. Another thing to ask them is how are they vetting the people they are providing you,” said Mayer.
Tess filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau this year detailing her experience.
“I don’t appreciate anybody putting anybody in a position where they are vulnerable like that. And that’s what this company did.”
KGW reached out to the company and heard back from its attorney. He said that Yetenekian was unaware of this complaint and they would be giving Tess a refund.
Tess said the company did offer to refund her money, but only if she signed a document agreeing not to talk about the company. She told the company’s attorney that while she wants her money back, she is not comfortable signing the release.
The company said, through its attorney, Tess can cross out the non-disclosure paragraph before signing the document and they will still issue her a refund.
Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on what to do before joining any dating service:
Do Your Research. Talk to friends, family members, and neighbors for recommendations of reputable dating services in your area. Read Business Profiles on bbb.org and make sure the business you are considering does not have any unanswered/unresolved complaints. Check the company’s website to become familiar with the business. See if the company has a satisfaction guaranteed policy and understand the details of the policy.
Determine What You Are Looking For. Before you start looking for a dating service, it’s important to decide what you’re looking for in a relationship. Whether you are looking for casual companionship or a relationship that will potentially lead to marriage may affect which dating service you choose.
Determine Who You Are Looking For. Know what’s important to you in a potential match and what qualities you are looking for in a partner. Ask yourself how important it is that a date lives locally. Make a list of priorities to help narrow down your search since dating services are designed to meet specific factors.
Compare Pricing/Services. Decide on a monthly budget you are willing to spend for a dating service. Compare prices and what’s included in the membership to find the best value for your money. Many sites offer a free trial to test out their services before purchasing. Although there are free dating sites, spending a little extra money can be worth the cost for the added benefits of a premium service.
Be Cautious. When meeting a date, be sure to do so in a public place and that someone knows where you are and who you are meeting. Although most people join dating sites with the intention of find a relationship, some are using love to scam other users. Be wary of people who insist on leaving the dating site and using personal email, profess their love immediately, say they live in the U.S. but are currently overseas, or cancel a date because of a traumatic event or bad business deal. Scammers may ask you to wire money for travel, medical emergencies, hotel, and hospital expenses for their family members.