Monday, July 05, 2010

Thumbs Down on eHarmony's "Free Communication Weekend"

Dating guru that I am, I feel it's my responsibility to check out the various alternatives available to singles. I've tried many of the online dating sites and, as everything, each has it's ups and downs. I'd heard a lot about eHarmony and it's famed "29 points of compatibility" but, before spending their relatively high monthly fee, I wanted to check out one of the "Free Communication Weekends" to see how it all worked.

I filled out the VERY LONG questionnaire and after getting accepted was sent some matches. Most of the matches lived much farther from me than I wanted and most were much older than me... one was even 15 years older than me! I couldn't see photos and I couldn't search on my own.

But...this weekend is a "free communication weekend" so I wanted to take advantage of it and picked the one guy who (at least based on profile) looked closest to a match. I then spent the next 30 minutes crafting a very clever email to "Dave" (email is my specialty when it comes to online dating) and hit send, only to have eHarmony pop up an ad telling me I'd have to pay in order to send the email! Hey! What happened to "free communication weekend?"

I searched all over for some special promotional code that would let me communicate and finally figured out that the only "free communication" I'm able to do is send canned flirts and "guided communication questions." So I sent Dave a free, "Looks like we have a lot in common. Let's Chat" message along with stupid 5 canned questions with their multiple choice answers.

He responded by sending me two things. First, he sent a canned flirt reply that suggested I post my photo. Second he "skipped to email." Well, I had posted a photo, but, apparently, he's unable to see it, since I'm not a paying member. I had no way of telling him that, so I'm sure he's figuring I'm ugly, insecure, or ignoring him. And since I'm not a paying member, I wasn't even able to read his email. In fact, the ONLY thing I could do was Decline his email (unless, of course, I wanted to pay $50 and join eHarmony.) And there was no way to even let him know that I was declining his email because I wasn't a paying member! Instead, I felt like I was just being rude. Someone took the trouble to write me an email after I suggest "let's chat" and I have no option but to Decline and I can't even let him know why!

I got pretty upset about this and called eHarmony Customer Service, but they said there was nothing they could do. That's just the way the system works. Well, their "Free Communication Weekend" is absolutely NOT Free Communication! That's false advertising! We can't email people or even read or reply to people that email us. We can't even give them a canned response of "I can't reply because I'm not a paying member." They're just left to feel like we're rejecting them. These are paying clients! They should at least have a way of knowing which people are not paying members so they don't have to feel someone is rejecting them if they either ignore or decline the request to email.

So, if you're on eHarmony, or you were thinking of checking it out, be aware that the "Free Communication Weekends" are limited to "guided communication" and you are very limited in what communication you can do. If someone suggests you go to direct communication, you will have no ability to let him/her know that you aren't able to do that.

I give a BIG Thumbs Down to eHarmony! For a service that's promoting relationships and communication, I'd say their advertisements are very misleading. If eHarmony were a person, he is someone I definitely would not date. Communication should be direct, open and honest. Both their advertising and their methods are indirect and misleading. Shame on eHarmony!

41 comments:

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

That little miscommunication I had with my husband when I was certain the sky was falling? Never mind. You've made me very grateful to be married and to have someone with whom to go to bed angry.

mark tidd said...

Zap! You caught E-harmony in the act of pimping for "free and honest communication". In the often lonely world of singleness, who needs one of the largest matchmakers to be one of the largest heartbreakers unless you pay up? Yvette, you have a very sophisticated way of being fierce!

Jack said...

Sorry about your frustrating experience. We do actually state up front about how Free Communication Events allow members to communicate through the Guided Communication process but not see photos.

While we want to enable as much communication as possible among members, it is only fair that paying members receive more benefits of the service. If you would like to join but find finances an obstacle, we hope you’ll contact our Customer Care team again. I’m glad you did get a great match, and I hope you follow up so you can continue to communicate. We have a variety of subscription plans available to meet your needs if you do decide to pursue this match. If you have any questions you can follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/eharmony_Jack

Edie said...

You are spot on. They are manipulative to be sure.

Edie said...

You are spot on. Extremely false advertising.

Derk said...

I just had a very similar experience with eharmony's "free communication" week. I couldn't see any of the pictures and I couldn't communicate with anyone. Unless, of course, I payed. Hmm... Making potential customers feel deceived definitely doesn't work well as a marketing strategy. Would never use or recommend eharmony.

Anonymous said...

I want to say Amen to Yvette's comments. How stupid of eHaromny to suck prospective customers in with the free commication lure, and then make them feel misled with all the restrictions. If they'd allow a couple days of truly free communication, they'd probably get tons of people subscribing. Instead, they just piss people off, leave paying members in the dark about why they did not get a reply, and act indifferent and clueless when someone points out all the problems. Nice going eHarmony. I guess you are making too much money to worry about integrity. To think that the site was founded by a supposed Christian man makes me shudder. It all smacks of manipulation, greed, and coldness now. Please rethink your "Free Comminication" ploy. It COULD be a win-win for everyone if you really made it a time of truly Free Communication. What's wrong with you for failing to see this?

Anonymous said...

I spoke to a lady at E Harmony as well and she justified the blatant false advertising

Rob'i said...



PS. I hate free users on eHarmony. You guys screw up the system for the rest of us!! If you're going to stick around with a profile filled out - please, do consider buying into the game so that you can actually , really, truly communicate with someone!

It's as if , your profile is a... roadblock. And, imagine, as if this road is a 5-lane highway with traffic zooming by you on the left and the right. Your profile will still attract attention -some users will have no idea, and cannot pick up on the fact that you're afreebie user. They WILL be disappointed - but it will happen later, after you have already failed to connect with them and you've ended up wasting both my time, your time, and the membersssssssssss

Jason Lee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jason Lee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

enjoyed reading your thoughts on the eharmony free communication weekends.

Jason Lee, Editor
www.DatingWebsiteReview.net

Anonymous said...

yep it is a joke, I feel bad for the guy who is nudging me. I wanted to communicate with him during this "free communication weekend" and I have to pay up. False advertising and a really bad marketing strategy.

joanne

Anonymous said...

How about a site you would recomend?

Anonymous said...

I was also suckered in by the"free" communication weekend. In good faith I filled out the myriad questions, profile comments, and uploaded pictures; a half hour I will never get back. After googling what I did incorrectly I happened upon this to find that the only thing I did incorrectly was full out a profile on eharmony.

andrew nichols said...

i have the same perception, that at their heart they are just corprate scammers exploiting the lonely, shame on you e harmoney, whats that, harm money

atlgurl said...

You are very insightful, and this was a very thoughtful and informative review. Thank you for helping me not get manipulated into buying this expensive piece of "bait and switch" advertising. $120 bucks Just to meet sme1. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Rob,i is an idiot. eHarmony tricks people into thinking they'll actually get to use the site. You spend an hour making up a profile and posting photos, THEN find out it's a bait and switch. You can't see any photos, can't even see a profile except for age, location, and occupation. What a bunch of crap. eharmony free weekends will only piss you off and convince you never to deal with them again. They're more expensive, and manipulative than other dating sites. STAY AWAY!

Penelope Andrews said...

False Advertising!! How do you report them, Its crap. Waste of a night filling out the questionnaire.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the same 'free communication event' lies still going on. There is nothing free about the event. The Guided Communication is always free. So, what is free? The final email is restricted to paid member only. Even during the 'free communication event'.

Liar. Liar....

Cricket Berry said...

I just went through the very thing your talking about. Spent the time to fill out all the questions only to find out that I couldn't even see the matches. At least on Match.com when it says its a free weekend, you have all the priviliges a paying member has and to me that is the way to do it. And you can join match for $35 a month but on e-harmony its like what $60 that is outrageous. I'm sorry but its false advertising and now I wouldn't want to join.

Anonymous said...

Jack- you know she's right. You're an f-info drone. Get a real life.

AJ Sasnett said...

EHarmony is a scam. They claim to match people based on these mythical 29 dimensions of compatibility, but they never define what those are.
I've been told they do not match based on physical characteristics or education. But the say they DO match on ambition, " chemistry" intellect, and motivation. Do you know ANY happy couple who isn't physically and intellectually compatible? If you work out 7 days a week, and I'm sedentary and plump- are we likely to be a good match? If I'm dumb as a box or rocks and you have a PhD, is that going to work? Pictures and bios go a long way towards qualifying those things, but you will find yourself matched with polar opposites?
Here's a nasty little upsale- if you want to take a break for personal reasons, it will cost you another $35 to go incognito, or you'll have to start all over at Triple the price!!!
It's a crap shoot like every other dating website. They just have a sinister marketing department.

Jennifer Stanley said...

Some of the free members are smart and put forms of ways to communicate as well as let you know they are free. And if they are really clever they figure out how to tell you they the "canned" questions (you know you can write your own, right?)

Jennifer Stanley said...

Not all the plans are nominal and; if they are, you want all the year's with up front

Jennifer Stanley said...

It would probably be a good start by doing something most don't with online profiles and that's be honest about yourself. I know: mind blowing.

steve smith said...

I was talked into getting a profile on EHarmony as well. I had a friend meet his wife on there so I thought I would give it a try. I have not and will not pay them to use there crappy service though. I find that I am matched with hundreds of people. Many who I assume don't even know what I look like. I get many "matches" every day. I do try and utilize the "free communication" weekends. The problem is you can't just send a message to your "match." You have to go through all the "guided" questions before you can say what you want. Its tough because you don't even know what the other person looks like. I have asked many of the first round guided question and never heard back. I think many of the profiles are fake. I'm not sure how it works for a paid member but the "free weekends" make me want to fully subscribe even less. Plus several times when I began the "free weekend" communication there would be a glitch on my profile. There is no way I would be matched with hundreds or maybe thousands of people and gotten very little interest back. I have only gotten my email across and communicated with a hand full of people. Many are not even interested after we chat a bit. Does anyone even know if all you guided question get sent if you are not a paid member??? Also any time you try and send your email address in the guided questions they remove it unless you get very creative. This site takes a lot of time and if you pay it looks like it will take a lot of your money. Does anyone have any positive experience on other sites???

Unknown said...

Yvette, I totally agree with the way you see how this is false advertising. Eharmony is just hustling its little heart out. They're manipulating the program to play on peoples conscious. You see, most people who are trying to "online date" only sign up because they're basically manipulating their emotions. I experienced the same thing Zoosk. I still receive notifications daily of women that are interested in me. I can't tell them I'm not a paying customer and Ive even deleted the account. I really screwed up when I gave them my email address. Anyways I applaud you for your standing up and making this public because false advertising is illegal. We should clearly put together a lawsuit on the false advertising. Lol.

Robert stone said...

Yvette, I totally agree with the way you see how this is false advertising. Eharmony is just hustling its little heart out. They're manipulating the program to play on peoples conscious. You see, most people who are trying to "online date" only sign up because they're basically manipulating their emotions. I experienced the same thing Zoosk. I still receive notifications daily of women that are interested in me. I can't tell them I'm not a paying customer and Ive even deleted the account. I really screwed up when I gave them my email address. Anyways I applaud you for your standing up and making this public because false advertising is illegal. We should clearly put together a lawsuit on the false advertising. Lol.

Unknown said...

Does eharmony read or vet your texts?

Anonymous said...

Our time.com is totally free for everything on their free weekends. No paying involved. However, when the weekend is over, it's over.

Tricia Star said...

I totally agree with you. It most definitely is false advertisement. I had the exact same experience that you've written about here. I also noticed that most of the matches had "left the building".

Alberta Britt said...

100% agreement with the experience "Free Ommunication Weekend" Definitely BAIT and SWITCH. After filling out a long questionaire the only way to communicate with your matches you MUST upgrade to a PAID MEMBERSHIP. Those looking for love beware!!! Don't know what else about this organization that is a farce.

Anonymous said...

I'm in a terrible situation. I think I may have met the most perfect girl ever. She is not a subscriber. She included her email in the automated bullshit to be clever, but eHarmony took her email out. I messaged her at the end of the guided bull crap (we used the automated stuff like messages) only to realize she can't see it...

Ron Marshall said...

I'm gonna sound like a broken record when I say I too had a very similar experience . To go through all of the steps to get to the point of getting a free trial weekend only to find that that you can't actually " communicate with anyone other than sending a message to a profile leaves one with a feeling of being duked.
As far as the notion that paying customers should have more features is just an empty excuse to justify misleading potential customers .I've been a marketing executive for 15 years & can tell you that almost every company in tons of different verticals offer special incentives to new potential customers ..Example 1 , if you buy a brand new truck in "truck season " you are probably gonna spend more than if you buy that same truck 5 or 6 months later . The manufactures change their incentives frequently offering a lot deeper discounts as an incentive to do business .. They don't go back & say they can't sell that truck for less because just 6 months earlier someone paid $6000 more .. This is a very week explanation of why Eharmony reserve the right to mislead people into thinking they are getting something they're not . While I'm sure there are disclaimers in small print explaining this it doesn't change the fact that the tv commercials paint a totally different picture .. Perception is reality & most people , myself included , would rather pay a little more up front over spending money they didn't think they are gonna pay .. Leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth wanting to take your business elsewhere..

Ron Marshall said...

Weak *

mimilafun said...

How Christian based....All Lies.

Michael said...

Found this (6 years after you wrote it) and they are still doing the same thing! Just got an email about it and it DEFINITELY doesn't say anything about "not seeing pictures" as the guy in the comments says. Also, it's quite misleading in the fact that it sneakingly implies that you only have to send 5 questions to one person to "activate" the free week which would seemingly then get you full access to photos and messaging for a week. I'm so glad I searched for more details and came across this. Thanks!!

Alexis/Charlie said...

Oh wait you forgot to mention not only is there "free communication weekend" not free but you have to buy your monthly membership in bulk. So even if I wanted to try out i'm not even allowed to buy one month first you have to buy a few months and it charges you all at the same time instead of an on a monthly basis.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that I never got responses till after the free communication weekend ended, too. So, yeah, I have no idea what the responses are, and I can't respond back. Again, I'm sure the guys think something is wrong with me or I'm not really interested in them. Way to hurt people's self esteem and make dating worse, eHarmony!

Anonymous said...

Say that again. Sorry guys. I faced the whole gammet too. I was offered all ages above mine. Please 70. Could i have them for more than a week.