He immediately called his mother.
"This is a huge amount of money, especially for someone on a fixed income," he said.
Together, they called Great Expectations on Nov. 29 and asked the company to cancel the contract and refund her money.
They were instructed to abide by the terms of the contract.
Until then, Marks didn't even realize his mom had signed an agreement. The next morning, he went to his mother's house and read it. It said that in order to obtain a refund, his mother would have to send a letter, via certified mail, within three days of her signing.
Marks said he sent the letter, but it was already too late.
In the weeks that followed, the Markses filed a dispute with the credit card company, but Discover ruled in Great Expectations' favor, citing the signed contract.
Phillip Marks posted a message on the Problem Solver's Facebook page Monday after Discover turned the charges — now $5,600 with interest and late fees — over to a collection agency. He called the charges, and the company's refusal to issue a refund, unfair.
"Great Expectations manipulated my mother," he said. "They took advantage of a vulnerable, lonely senior citizen."
The Problem Solver called Great Expectations on Tuesday. Less than an hour later, the company's regional director, Josh Bryan, called back.
He said the Markses' version "is very much the opposite of what's transpired."
He said Barbara Marks reached out to Great Expectations, not the other way around.
"When we spoke to her, she was very lonely. She was crying on the phone," Bryan said. "She gave us all this stuff about her kids never coming to visit her."
Great Expectations provided her transportation to the office because she told it she couldn't drive because of a broken ankle, Bryan said.
Marks knew what she was doing and signed the contract because "she wanted to do it," Bryan said.
He disputed that she did not know how much the service cost, saying that the salesman stripped away some features of the membership to bring the cost down to $4,495, which she told the salesman she could afford, Bryan said.
"Now the fact is, the son just won't let her do anything," he said. "We were blindsided a week later when her son started calling the office. That's just not how we do business. He was calling us and yelling at us."
Bryan said Great Expectations conducted financial and criminal background checks on Barbara Marks and built a profile for her online, although it did not include a photo or video of her because she never showed up for that appointment.
"Everything is done," he said. "We actually had matches for her. We had men we had already talked to about Barbara."
When the Problem Solver asked to see Marks' profile, Bryan declined, citing privacy issues. He instructed the Problem Solver to purchase a membership if he wanted to view the profile.
When the Problem Solver asked for a screen grab picture of the profile, Bryan said that would not be possible.
He did offer to issue Marks a partial refund if she called and said she no longer wanted the service.
"Maybe a 50 percent refund, if (the membership) is really never going to get used," Bryan said. "I don't want her stuck with something that's not going to be used."
On Thursday, Bryan spoke to Phillip and Barbara Marks and offered to refund half the $4,495. Marks said he and his mother have not decided whether to accept the offer.
"I might talk to an attorney and see what an attorney thinks," Phillip Marks said. "She used zero percent of the service and now she's expected to be responsible for 50 percent of it. …It's just sad that they took advantage of her in this way."
The Problem Solver will provide updates as warranted.