British Woman Successfully Sues Matchmaker For Failing To Provide Dream Date

Matchmakers
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The dating world just got a little weirder. A British divorcee seeking a wealthy boyfriend via a ritzy matchmaking agency sued the company over a lack of suitable dates - and was awarded over $16,000 for her trouble.

Tereza Burki, a 47-year-old from London, joined premium dating agency Seventy Thirty in 2013. According to reports, she was looking for a “sophisticated gentleman” with “a lifestyle similar or more affluent than her own” and “multiple residences.” Lemarc Thomas, Seventy Thirty's managing director at the time, assured Burki that the service only dealt in the “creme de la creme” of daters and had “a substantial number” of potential matches who met her requirements.

Burki shelled out a staggering £12,600 ($16,141 USD) to join, an investment she soon regretted.

Though she was told the service had 7,000 members, Burki found only 100 active male users on the site. She sued Seventy Thirty for deceit and misrepresentation.

“You shouldn’t promise people who are in a fragile state of mind, in their mid-40s, the man of their dreams,” she said while giving evidence during the case. “You are entrusting a service you believe is professional, who will take care of your interests and have your best interests at heart.”

Seventy Thirty founder Susie Ambrose defended her company by saying that Burki had unrealistic expectations of what the service could provide.

"Ms Burki entered into membership with the wrong assumption about the number of potential gentlemen we would introduce her to,” Ambrose said. “She assumed it would be like internet dating, but we are a niche, exclusive agency, not a mainstream, mass-market online dating service. We are not going to have thousands of members because there simply aren’t thousands of single, wealthy, high-calibre prospects out there.”

Ultimately, Judge Richard Parkes upheld Burki’s claim and ruled that Seventy Thirty was guilty of knowingly giving “a wholly false impression” of its membership.

“My conclusion from the evidence is that there are at the very most perhaps 200 active members of Seventy Thirty, and probably fewer,” the judge said. “That points to a maximum of around 100 active male members. A membership of 100 active men cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as a substantial number.”

He added: “The representations made by Mr Thomas were therefore false and misleading. Had Ms Burki known what the true size of the active membership was, she would not have joined Seventy Thirty.”

The dating agency has been ordered to refund Burki’s £12,600 sign-up fee. She was also awarded £500 for the “disappointment and sadness” she suffered.

But it wasn’t all bad news for Seventy Thirty. Burki was ordered to pay the company £5,000 in libel damages after accusing the service of being a scam in damning online reviews. The judge accepted that the agency does indeed have “a sizeable database” and is not “a fundamentally dishonest or fraudulent operation.”

Seventy Thirty celebrated the news by reminding current and prospective clients of the agency’s track record of success - including 6,000 matches and 63 babies born as a result.

“We are incredibly proud of the service we provide and our very many happy clients,” the company said.