ORLANDO, Fla. - One of central Florida's biggest dating services has been sued by the state after an Action 9 investigation first exposed how customers paid thousands for services they never got.
The Attorney General claims Singles Plus used secret recordings and deception to sign customers to contracts they could not get out off.
Action 9's Todd Ulrich found customers who now feel violated and want answers and refunds.
Elaine Smith claims inside the Singles Plus office a manager had taken her driver's license, so she felt trapped and just signed the contract to get out.
“I felt like a hostage, and I just want to get up and go," said Christina.
Christina said the company took her driver's license, too.
“They kept it until the end, and I signed a contract," she said.
Action 9 first exposed Singles Plus 18 months ago for its high-pressure sales and failure to deliver promised matches.
Weeks after our story, the Florida Attorney General reopened its investigation.
Now the agency is suing a company it claims is far worse than anyone imagined. The lawsuit's blistering allegations include the company never had the trained counselors and psychologists it claimed, it promised criminal background checks that never happened, and it ignored the three-day cancellation law.
Christina said she tried to cancel within 72 hours.
“And she said, 'No, we don't do refunds,' and I said, 'What do you mean?'" she said.
The lawsuit also included an outrageous charge that during the sales interview clients were secretly recorded and the interview was broadcast live from offices in Orlando and Melbourne to corporate headquarters.
Customer Peggy Bohart could not believe the company did that.
“Shocking. I did not know that," she said.
The state alleges the live transmission was used so top management could intervene if someone tried to walk out.
Christina was also stunned by that revelation. “Wow, I, I, I, I'm not surprised because they're so manipulative.”
Singles Plus didn't answer Action 9's questions. The state has seized company records and assets.
Customers paid anywhere from $1,000-$10,000 to join. The state also found the company violated a 1999 settlement agreement to stop deceptive practices.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.