A friend of mine tried out the Match.com 6 Month Guaranteeprogram where if you don’t meet that “special someone”, you will get 6 months free. Unfortunately, when he came to the end of his six months they said he didn’t qualify even though, as far as he could tell, he did. I checked online for anyone else having this problem and found this post on RipoffReport.com. I decided to look into this program and the rules are (basically) as follows:
- Pay for 6 months of service in advance for Match.com.
- Create a profile with picture which must be approved within 7 days.
- Keep your photo visible at all times.
- Communicate with other members.
- Either email 5 unique people each month or respond to 5 unique people each month or a combination of both. The emails must be sent through Match.com. Winks, MatchTalk and Match Instant Messaging do not count.
In addition to those rules, there were two items that caught my eye in the Frequently Asked Questions:
- You have to claim your free 6 months during the last 7 days of your first six months
- If you do nothing at the end of the first 6 months and do not qualify for the free six months they will automatically renew you for another six months!
After reading all this, I realized it would be easy to accidentally not meet the requirements of the guarantee. So, here are the rules I would suggest you follow if signing up for this program:
- Plan on contacting 10 unique people a month. The rule about contacting 5 unique people seems to cause some trouble. As an example, if you contact someone and, for whatever reason, Match.com kicks them out, does that communication still count? I would hope so but for some reason, some people are seeing previously “good” months moved to a “bad” status. Also, you’ll need to make sure you’ve never contacted that person before so be extra careful in month 5 and 6 where accidentally contacting someone you’ve talked to before would be easier to do.
- Never touch or change the picture you originally set as your primary photo. The rules are vague regarding this picture and it’s not clear if changing the photo affects your eligibility. So make sure you pick a picture you like and never touch it again (at least for 6 months).
- Rule number 5 above, in my opinion, is vague. It might not be a bad idea to wink or use other communication methods. Seriously, go read the fifth rule and tell me how its different from the sixth.
- You can check your progress for each month but don’t put too much faith in this. Based on the complaint at RipoffReport.com, the status of a month appeared to go from green to red after the fact (which, assumably means meeting the requirements are now impossible for that person). My friend had a similar experience to this.
- Keep track of when your 6 months will be up. Based on the rules, it appears that you must make your claim during the last 7 days of your 6 month subscription. It is unclear if they would remind you of this via email. Match.com specifies the six months as a period of time consisting of five 30 day periods followed by one 33 day period. This means you need to make your claim between the 176th and 183rd day of the six months. I would recommend creating some type of email reminder or even setting an alarm on your cell phone so you don’t miss your window to make your claim. Also, and this one is important: if you do not take any action at the end of your six months they will automatically renew you for another six months!. See the Frequently Asked Questions for the specifics on this.
- I don’t want to suggest that Match.com would try to avoid meeting their end of the bargain but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take screen shots of your status each month and never delete any of your emails if it can be avoided. If Match.com automatically deletes them you might want to take screenshots of that too.
The program sounds great in the sense that it creates a feeling of hope and optimism. I’m sure it works for many people but Match.com must be raking in the cash off of this program. For example, if you meet someone in the second month you’ve still paid for those additional four months. On the other hand, for those who don’t read the fine print, there’s a good chance of getting auto-renewed. I suspect this is the driving force behind the promotion: getting more out of people than they actually paid for (or wanted to pay for).
Now let me say one last thing: I met my wife using Match.com and I really did think the service was great. I never had a problem at all. Also, the rules of this program are actually wonderful in the sense that they will improve your odds of meeting someone by following them. If you’re shy, this program might just be the motivation you need. With that said, very few things in life are truly free. From what I can tell, even if you do manage to get six months free, you’ll still be paying for it with your effort.