Christian Connection Dating Site Calls for Higher Standards and Ethics in Dating Industry

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The head of a leading UK Christian dating website, Christian Connection, today called for higher standards and ethics and greater scrutiny of the burgeoning online dating industry.

More than half of all UK single people have used or intend to use dating sites, between 6m and 8m. But while meeting online has resulted in thousands of marriages and successful relationships, a growing number are experiencing difficulties and becoming disillusioned.

Jackie Elton, who runs Christian Connection - created in 2000 and now the leading UK Christian dating site - was responding to recent coverage on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours, which investigated industry practices,

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's consumer programme, You and Yours, Jackie said that large companies in the industry need to focus less on profits and more on the needs and interests of their members.

‘There is a real lack of transparency,’ said Jackie. ‘People know very little about the sites they join and how they operate. There can be misleading claims about numbers and the type of people they are likely to meet.’ People are becoming increasingly aware of this fact.

She explained how people are encouraged to subscribe very quickly on a rolling basis and then find it difficult to cancel or get refunds where appropriate. As well as this there are regular reports of ghost profiles and emails sent automatically to engage members and encourage them to subscribe.

‘Dating sites need to get together,’ maintained Jackie, ‘not simply to protect their own interests but to set and maintain high standards and ethics in favour of the customer. They must engage more with their clients and be more accountable.’ Members need to be able to trust in dating sites otherwise, they will become a less popular which would be a shame.

In other countries, like the USA and Australia, complaints have soared and legal action has resulted - but Jackie believes that many people in the UK are too embarrassed to complain. They also feel there is no organisation to complain to and nobody monitoring the complaints.

Media and consumer organisations need to do more to highlight the issues and hold some websites to account,’ she continued. ‘Politicians and government have been conspicuous by their lack of interest but with up to 8m users in the UK this needs to change. People can search the web but they might not be able to trust what they read

‘As a relatively small site for practising Christians, it is very important for us to provide a good service to retain our members’ trust and satisfaction. We operate as a community and that keeps us involved with and accountable to, our members.’ We also run events, so we actually get to talk to and listen to our members, which can be rare for many dating sites. Much of our reputation is based on recommendation and word of mouth.

The full interview can be heard here.

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