SAN ANTONIO – On Nov. 25 Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a final judgment and permanent injunction filed in a Bexar County district court ordering Lone Star Introductions (eLove Matchmaking) to cease operations at its Texas offices, pay civil penalties and consumer restitution.
According to a press release, the dating service company, a corporation based in Massachusetts, will have to shut down its San Antonio and Austin offices, and add a notification on its websites and advertising that it no longer provides dating services to Texas consumers.
This agreed judgment stems from a lawsuit filed by the state against the dating service company for violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Texas Internet Dating Safety Act, and for violations of debt collection practices.
According to the state’s investigation, the company operated as a telemarketer in Texas without the proper certification to solicit business from potential consumers.
The information was routinely used to make cold calls and use high-pressure tactics to get consumers to the Austin or San Antonio offices where consumers were pressured into signing expensive contracts for dating services they did not receive.
The charge for the company’s dating services ranged from $8,000 to $13,000.
According to the state’s enforcement action, when consumers tried to cancel services or stop payment, they were subjected to harassment and threats in violation of debt collections regulations.
Furthermore, the state found that the company did not comply with the required disclosures on safety measures designed for safer online dating practices, like practices to conduct criminal background checks on members.
The agreed final judgment and permanent injunction orders the defendant to pay $500,000 in civil penalties, with a portion abated if the permanent injunction is not violated. The defendant will also pay $20,000 in restitution to consumers.