Texas shuts dating services it says operated illegally

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas halted dating service Lone Star Introductions and others from operating in the state because it said the firms had harassed and threatened clients, the Attorney General's office said on Wednesday.

A state district court issued an injunction on Tuesday that calls on the dating service and affiliated dating sites, including eLove Matchmaking, International Dating Ventures and International Introductions, to cease operations in the state.

The defendants engaged in "false, deceptive and misleading acts and practices to persuade consumers to sign expensive services for Defendants' services," a lawsuit filed this week by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office said.

The services pressured customers into signing contacts that ranged in price between $8,000 to $13,000, and if customers tried to cancel the service or stop payment, they were harassed and threatened, in violation of state law, it said.

An attorney for the firms did not respond to a request to comment.

The defendants agreed to pay $500,000 in civil penalties, with $495,000 to be abated if they stop operations in the state for 10 years, according to court papers.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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