The State’s complaint alleged that the defendants committed numerous violations of Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws relating to deceptive marketing practices, dating service contracts and credit transactions.
The complaint was thereafter amended to add their managing member John Meriggi.SHOREWOOD (WITI) -- They were looking for romance, but got ripped off.Now, dozens of men and women who were coerced into signing up for a high-priced dating service are getting a pleasant surprise. The Department of Justice sued Great Expectations for violating the state's Do Not Call list, misrepresenting the number of members, and for using "high pressure, oppressive tactics" to get people to sign contracts.It all started seven years ago with a FOX6 hidden camera investigation. In 20, dozens of consumers told the FOX6 Investigators that they, too, got taken for thousands of dollars. FOX6's investigation prompted a state investigation by the office of Wisconsin Attorney General J. "They specifically prey on people under circumstances where they`re going to make an emotional decision, and they may be hesitant to tell anybody about it," Van Hollen said. "It`s nice that we can actually do something about it -- that individual consumers can feel money in their pocket, relief for them," Van Hollen said.Elliot Doering is one of the many who shelled out six figures for a dating service membership. "The likelihood of finding an individual who doesn`t have a car and is willing to date on a bus, it ain't happening,'" Doering said. Worst of all, Dpering found the "local" dating service wasn't so local after all. FOX6's hidden cameras showed that the company's sales pitch was more like an interrogation. After the lawsuit was filed in 2009, Great Expectations fled the state, and Doering wondered if he would ever get his money back. I figured well, maybe he's fighting it and he lost," Doering said. In all, the state has paid out more than 0,000 to 100 victims, and sent a message to any business looking to cash in on someone else's weakness.