Regular readers may have noticed that I scrupulously avoid mention of specific speed dating businesses. Shortly after SDG began, I was offered a free speed date in exchange for a positive post about a particular company. Since I have high hopes of selling out someday for more than $35, I declined. But now I must break my silence to engage in everyone’s favorite new hobby— bitching about bad service on the internet.
The terrible design of dateanddash.com’s website should have given me a hint that they were shady. (I’ve never understood this phenomenon. If you were a Nigerian looking for someone to manage your millions, wouldn’t you spring for a designer and a copyeditor?) But the name was cool, if slightly illicit-sounding, and they appeared to have a lot of events in my area.
I signed up and pre-paid for one. Then, a couple of days beforehand, I got an email announcing that my event had been cancelled, and, because they don’t give refunds, I should see their website for options to reschedule. This is not entirely unheard of in speed dating–after all, you’d probably rather the event be cancelled than have a 10:1 female to male ratio. But when I clicked through to the website, they didn’t have any options other than the event I was registered for (which was listed as “sold out”). I called bullshit, and sent an email demanding my money back. A couple hours later, the owner refused, and said I should check the website NOW, to see what events there were. Sure enough, there was a new event listed. I signed up, feeling very important for having forced them to schedule a speed date just for me!
Little did I know that the event really was just for me, and two other women. We were the only ones who showed up, anyway, at a bar that had no plans to host a speed dating event. I was hopping mad by then, and sent an email threatening to bring down the fires of hell, lawyers and credit card companies, among other things, unless I got a refund. (Scariest threat of my email: “You should know, by the way, that I am a blogger.”) The owner denied not only my request, but that the whole thing had ever happened.
So I disputed the charge on my credit card. The only hard part was figuring out which of the millions of speed dating charges on my statement was the right one. After an “investigation” (I’m hoping there was some waterboarding involved), AmEx sent a letter saying they had sided with me. It was actually a little disappointing, since after consulting with my attorney/dad, I had plans to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of women left standing around in bars everywhere. After all, if anyone deserves payment for pain and suffering, it’s them.