TAMPA (WFLA) – Desperately wanting love, Tampa Bay area singles turned to a professional matchmaking service. After spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, they say all they got was a few bad dates.
The operators behind Sun Coast Introductions have offices from coast to coast, using different names. But the complaints from unhappy customers, who spoke with news organizations, are all the same.
8 On Your Side Investigates connected the dots and sent the information to the Attorney General’s Office. Now, the AG’s Consumer Protection Division and the Florida Department of Agriculture are both taking a closer look at the complaints against the company.
“I like to do a lot of things,” said Diane Miksch, “I’m adventurous.”
After her son went off to college, the St. Petersburg mom thought it was time to meet a new travel partner.
“I went online and I was looking for a single’s travel group,” she said.
“I left my phone number … and this matchmaking place called me.”
In August of 2018, Miksch signed up with Sun Coast Introductions after stopping by one of their four local offices. Miksch said representatives conducted a background check and a credit check.
Additionally, they interviewed her about preferences and created a customized profile.
“She goes I got two people I can introduce you to right now,” said Miksch.
“I was like, I’ll think about it and she’s like no no, in order to get this deal you have to do it today.”
Right there on the spot, Miksch paid more than five thousand dollars for 10 introductions.
She says the first date tried to sell her multi-level marketing. Her next love connection wasn’t a great fit for this self-proclaimed travel lover.
“He goes … I would never get on a plane,” she said.
“The guy was sweet as could be but just not my type.”
John Behrube Jr. would be Diane’s second and final date. He too says he had nothing in common with the women he dated.
“It’s time, money, everything, just a waste,” he said.
“It seemed to like … they were using me for an escort just when they needed somebody.”
He stopped payments to the company.
Spokesman Rich Nichols for Sun Coast Introductions sent 8 On Your Side Investigates a statement. It was from Michael Carroll, the Vice President of Operations.
“Ms. Miksch and Mr. Berube never contacted Sun Coast Introductions to complain about Sun Coast Introductions matchmaking service. Channel 8 notified us of their complaints last Wednesday. The Company makes every effort to satisfy Clients who are, for whatever reason, dissatisfied with the service. But, if we are not aware of the complaints, we can’t resolve them”.
Miksch says she emailed Sun Coast Introductions asking for a refund once again. However, the company declined to give her any money back. Again, they sent 8 On Your Side Investigates another statement.
“With regard to a refund for Ms. Miksch, after a review of her file and evaluation of her complaint, that we just received yesterday, we will not provide a refund to Ms. Miksch. The contract 3-day cancellation period within which she would have been entitled to a refund is clearly stated in her contract. Sun Coast Introductions has satisfied its contractual obligations, delivered matchmaking services, and remains ready, willing and able to service and seek Introductions for Ms. Miksch.”
8 On Your Side Investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi spoke with VP Carroll on the phone on July 29. He declined to go on camera.
According to Carroll, the company has approximately 15 thousand plus members at any given time across the country.
He said many are satisfied with the matchmaking services; however, he declined to put happy customers in touch with 8 On Your Side.
8 On Your Side Investigates will continue to stay on this story.
Meantime, the Attorney General’s Office says if you have a complaint, you can file it online. Currently, the AG’s Office has three complaints filed against this company.