Starting Monday, all companies that want to offer dating services are required to register with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection and post a performance bond before they can do business.

The new regulations are the result of action by the 1998 Legislature, which was responding to "a flurry of consumer complaints" from people who thought they were victims of misrepresentations and high-pressure sales tactics by some date agencies, according to a Department of Commerce press re-lease.Besides requiring registration, the new law allows consumers the right to back out of any agreement they have signed with a company if they do so within three business days of signing a contract. If someone cancels within that period, the company must provide a full refund.

"We believe this new law will help keep the dating service industry viable here in Utah," said Francine Giani, Division of Consumer Protection director. "We had some concerns with some companies, (but) I can say today that every established company in Utah has worked very hard to comply with these new regulations and bring credibility back to the dating service business."