New York, Nov. 20: Matthew Evans had been looking for a match made not in heaven but online. Now he is suing Match.com, an extremely popular and highly profitable dating website for allegedly hiring a girl to go out with him.
Evans, who is in his 30s, claims that Match.com ' motto: “The Relationship Starts Here” ' pays attractive young women to go on sham dates with its members to retain their subscriptions and bolster its reputation.
He says his quest for romance led to nothing but deception when he went out on several dates with a buxom, dark-haired, younger woman called Autumn Marzec.
Marzec, he claims, admitted to him that she was paid to contact and date men advertising on Match.com. The agency denies all the allegations and says it will “vigorously” fight the case.
“Hiding behind Match.com’s portrait of online success is a very big, very dirty secret,” alleges the lawsuit that was filed in Los Angeles court this month. “Not everyone you meet and date through Match.com is just another Match.com member.”
In an interview with the Long Island-based newspaper Newsday, Richard Quintilone, Evans’s lawyer, said that Match.com paid women in large towns and cities to go on dates with members. “She told him she had to have face contact with 100 people a month.”
He said that his clients also received e-mails, called “winks”, implying that another member was interested in them, he added. “In Evans’s case, not only did he get a wink, he got a date,” said Quintilone.
Match.com has 15 million members and one million subscribers who pay $30 for one month or $80 for six.
The lawsuit also claims that the company violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
Quintilone believes that after publicity surrounding his client’s case, other aggrieved customers will now come forward to form a class action lawsuit.
Kristin Kelly, a Match.com spokesman, described the allegations as having “no basis in fact”. She added: “We absolutely do not employ people to go on dates with subscribers nor to send members misleading e-mails professing romantic interest.”
Kelly insisted that the company had no need to resort to such underhand tactics, saying that membership has soared 19 per cent in 12 months and citing a survey that found 12 per cent of weddings in America were the result of online encounters.