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Some were trapped in six-month contracts that were automatically renewed.
A spokeswoman for the regulator says: ‘We have found that card issuers – banks and building societies – have not always cancelled continuous payment authorities when requested to by customers.Lonely hearts looking for love through a dating agency may find it harder to dump the matchmaker than any disappointing potential suitor.Despite the fact that more than nine million people in Britain have used a dating website, the companies that offer such services often exploit customers through the application of recurring charges that once agreed can be hard to stop.Adaora Nwandu, from West Norwood in South London, joined dating agency website Match in October.She paid £30 for the month but when she cancelled, the company offered a ‘free’ upgrade for a further month.You have the right to cancel but if the card issuer either does not act promptly or you are not satisfied with its response, go to the Financial Ombudsman Service.’ Payments are made to a service provider, which is known as the ‘mandate holder’.
It must apply to a customer’s bank every time money is due.
The amount can vary under the agreement but the ‘direct debit guarantee scheme’ demands that the service provider must inform the customer of any changes.
Thinking she had nothing to lose, she stayed with the website.
Adaora, a TV and film director, says: ‘I was being charged for a service I was told would be free for another month. I tried calling the company but the money still went out of my account.’The 36-year-old has used other dating websites including free service Ok Cupid when she lived in the US.
She did not want to continue with Match because she felt uncomfortable about some of the messages she was being sent.
In recent months, The Mail on Sunday has been contacted by several Match customers unhappy about how difficult it is to cancel a contract when they wanted to leave.