A divorced mother-of-three is suing an “elite” dating agency for damages after it failed to find “the man of her dreams”.
Management consultant Tereza Burki, 46, of Chelsea, told the High Court she was let down by Knightsbridge-based Seventy Thirty which she says enticed her with extravagant claims about how many “wealthy, eligible, available men” were on its books.
She is suing the agency for the return of her £12,600 membership fee and additional damages for “distress, upset, disappointment and frustration”.
Seventy Thirty, which is fighting the claim, is counter-suing Miss Burki for £75,000, claiming libel and malicious falsehood over scathing reviews it says she published online. The court heard that Miss Burki was seeking a high-earning jet-setter who was open to having children with her.
She says she was shown profiles of men she liked and, based on that and the company’s claims over the number of suitable men it had on offer, she paid to join in 2014. She grew unhappy with the service when she was then shown profiles she did not deem to match her criteria. She claims she was not put in touch with any of the men she liked and whose profiles had been shown to her before she paid the membership fee.
Her barrister, Jonathan Edwards, said her claim is based on the agency’s alleged misrepresentations about the type and number of men on its books.
Miss Burki told the judge: “You shouldn’t promise people who are in a fragile state of mind, in their mid-forties, the man of their dreams. You are entrusting a service you believe is professional, who will take care of your interests and have your best interests at heart.”
She said she did not want to be matched to men who had not paid to join as they were less likely to be committed to finding a partner and might not be as well-off as claimed.
Backing her claim, another former female member, said: “My issue with some of the profiles was they weren’t available. These people weren’t engaged in wanting to meet somebody.”
Lisa Lacob, for Seventy Thirty, said there was a 9,000-strong database at the time, of which 1,000 would have been actively seeking matches. “Based on the preferences expressed by Miss Burki, the company identified 70 men as possible matches for her,” she said. “All were Gold members who had paid for their membership.”
She said Miss Burki was offered six matches, all “successful men in her preferred age bracket who were open to having children”.
The company claims that Miss Burki’s reviews on Google and Yelp, referring to Seventy Thirty as a “scam”, had caused at least three people not to join up. Miss Burki denies defamation and malicious falsehood, saying her words reflected her honestly held views. Judge Richard Parkes reserved judgment until a later date.