Class Approved Against Dating Service

Class Approved Against Dating Service Photo: TPopova/iStockphoto.com.

A New York dating service used a fraudulent come-on to entice customers to shell out $1,000 each for a year’s membership, alleges a federal suit newly certified as a class action.

The complaint against It’s Just Lunch, a nationwide chain of franchises, says the company required its staff to follow a script to tell all potential customers when they called that the salesperson immediately thought of at least two matches “right off the top of my head”—whether or not that was true.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein on May 14 granted class status to Rodriguez v. It’s Just Lunch International in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Stein’s order and the complaint described the training the sales staff received at “First Date University,” the company’s name for its orientation sessions, where the staff was ordered not to deviate from a prepared script.

After the pitch, the staff was directed to immediately give the customers a copy of the contract and to push for payment, the complaint says. They also were told to “take everybody,” a former employee testified in a deposition. The company said it had at least 3,700 customers in New York alone.

It’s Just Lunch said the script was only a guideline and that sales reps were told to mention a match only if one existed.

Stein was not convinced. “The evidence in the record that defendants’ sales force ever diverged from the script is speculative at best,” he wrote.

He certified a nationwide class to pursue allegations the company violated engaged in fraud, and certified a New York class to pursue fraud and unjust enrichment claims.

Lisa Hoffman contributes to law.com.

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