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!