Example of Subscription rip off based on LuvDaters.com
In the search for exciting dates, suitable partners and even great love, the internet is becoming more popular every day. More and more people are specifically looking for online dating agencies which suit their needs. Unfortunately, over 90% of these dating platforms are just rip-offs. Although in some cases, they may look very promising and completely serious, they hide nasty and costly traps. They are completely useless for finding a serious partner. The most common scam is the so-called subscription rip-off.
LuvDaters.com is a relatively new online dating platform which gives the impression of being trustworthy. But this is a very good example of how these complex and dangerous subscription rip-offs work these days. Therefore, we decided to take a closer look and analyze this portal. Below, we explain step by step what our experience was.
First impressions – Subscription rip off based on LuvDaters.com
The registration is free of charge and completed quickly. We were fascinated to see how our mailbox was full of messages after a very short time. We also received many notifications informing us that some other members have already visited our profile and left us a “Like”. We were surprised by this overwhelming reception. It made us feel that we were in the right place and that the chances of finding a date quickly were very high.
The Chatbots and Fake Profiles scam
In fact, this is a great fraud. These messages and notifications come from automated computer-generated programs, or so-called “chatbots”. They are used to convince new customers that they are in the right place and that they have good chances of a successful online dating experience. Many of the profiles are fake.
The profiles are created by employees of the platform, and they show fictional people. Profile photos are often stolen from social media and erotic sites, and then they are completed with fictitious names and personal data. Via these fake profiles, the new customers are bombarded with seductive messages. At the end of the day, it is all about making the new users become paying customers as quickly as possible, and to lure them into a subscription rip-off.
When we try to open these messages, we are warned that we must “upgrade” our membership first to read the messages. We are also warned that the messages will be deleted if we do not “upgrade” within the next 2 hours. Somehow, they make us feel that we will be missing a great opportunity to flirt if we do not subscribe to a paid membership immediately. The fake messages are used as a kind of bait.
In addition, on LuvDaters.com, we will constantly see pop-up windows which draw our attention to the countless advantages of paid memberships, as well as ads showing a temporary discount campaign. They constantly try to seduce you into upgrading your membership as quickly as possible.
We took a closer look at the different subscriptions offered. At the time of our analysis, a 30% discount was offered on all subscription packages. We suspect that this discount is always offered and that this “offer” is just another trick to convince users that NOW is the perfect time to sign up for membership. The advantages of a paid membership include unlimited use of the chat, and the option to view all photos in full size. We also get advanced search and filter features, the option to share photos and videos in chat, and premium customer support.
In reality, the options available with a free basic membership are so limited that there is no choice but to pay for a membership. To be able to use the site fully, there is no way around an upgrade.
The scam of the paid subscriptions
You can choose subscriptions for 1 month and 3 months. The best deals seem to be the 1-day trial membership subscription for 0.99 USD per day, and the 7-day trial subscription for 2.73 USD. However, when we analyzed the details, it turns out that these trial subscriptions are a nasty trap. At the end of the trial period, these subscriptions will automatically renew into a 1-month subscription, with the incredible price of 38.59 USD.
In the next step, we found out that the “Full Membership” also includes a “Premium Dater” package with an additional cost. If you press “continue” at this point, you will end up contracting a total of 3 subscriptions without knowing it. Instead of paying the expected 0.99 USD or 2.73 USD, the total amount for the package will be over 60 USD.
Automatic renewal of a subscription is not unusual. This should not be considered a negative or a subscription rip-off. Our mobile phone contracts, streaming services or newspaper subscriptions are usually automatically renewed, making our lives much easier. Some of the most popular and reputable online dating platforms also apply automatic renewal policies. This does not mean that they are a subscription rip-off. Unfortunately, the automatic renewal system is often used by unreputable operators to lure users into a costly subscription trap. Automatic renewal of subscriptions is, in a way, the basis of any subscription scam.
Termination of subscriptions
Termination of subscriptions
LuvDaters.com turns out to be a bitter disappointment pretty quickly. As soon as the user subscribes, the avalanche of messages will end. Even if you reply to the many received messages that you can finally read, you usually do not get any more replies.
This is the point when the customer normally realizes that the messages and profiles are fake and that it is not worth paying for this platform. Therefore, users will want to cancel their memberships. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. The victims of this subscription rip-off will soon find out that the termination process can quickly turn into a real odyssey and hide several unpleasant surprises.
Many users are not aware that their trial subscriptions will automatically renew into an expensive long-term subscription and will be renewed continuously. Therefore, in many cases, they will find this out only when they see unexpected charges on their bank statements. In theory, on LuvDaters.com, customers should be able to unsubscribe easily through the payment history in the account settings. However, in practice, it normally does not work as well as in the theory.
According to several reviews from former users, it is necessary to call customer service because cancelling with just a click of the mouse does not work. The next bad surprise awaits customers from the other side of the phone.
The experience with the customer service when complaining about the subscription rip-off
The customer service is known for convincing angry users to continue with their subscriptions. To do so, they offer free trial extensions and/or discounts. In some cases, customers are also offered new subscriptions to other, supposedly more suitable, dating platforms. According to some reviews, it is necessary to insist vehemently to get the customer service employees to cancel the unwanted subscription.
Furthermore, the employees seem to take advantage of the fact that users often have several subscriptions without knowing it. It seems that they sometimes only cancel one of the subscriptions but keep the others in place. This means that there will be more unpleasant surprises in the next bank statement. So, it will take more distressing calls to get everything cancelled and escape from the subscription trap.
Reminders and debt collection agencies – Subscription rip off based on LuvDaters.com
Some users decide to skip the entire cancellation process by simply blocking their credit cards or telling their bank to refund the amounts charged. In that case, the claimed fees will be added to any outstanding amounts. To collect their money, the operators will involve debt collection agencies and lawyers who harass the reluctant users with payment requests and reminders. This is intended to add additional pressure so that users will pay out of desperation. Of course, none of this is legal. However, many users will need the help of their lawyers to end this nightmare.
LuvDaters.com is operated by Tech Medialand KFT. This company is based in Budapest, in Hungary. This company is responsible for many unreputable dating websites which always use the same tricks. However, it is by no means the only operator that uses such dubious methods to deceive users. There are hundreds of websites and dozens of operators that are also specialized in the subscription rip-off. This trend is on the rise.
The dating platforms using these scams are similar in many ways. It is reasonable to suspect that there is software and templates prepared for these types of platforms that are purchased and used by different operators. Therefore, we can say there is professional refinement of subscription scams.
What can be done!?
Keep calm, do not be intimidated!
No scam will take you to a court or cause a negative entry in the credit bureau!
Operators are afraid of losing in a trial and seeing themselves in front of a court!
Debited charges to your account can be recovered from the bank retroactively for up to 3 months.
Payments paid through PayPal can be recovered for at least 1 month!
Credit card payments can also be recovered up to at least 3 months after payment!
Always indicate to your bank or PayPal that you have been cheated!
There is a good chance that the operator will sooner or later cancel these charges.