The dating game has changed beyond recognition in the last few years.
In the not-so-distant past, we would usually rely on relatively spontaneous circumstances to “accidentally” find a partner, such as at work, school or at a bar. These days, however, we’re a lot more likely to turn to the countless dating apps at our disposal.
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And it’s no wonder – dating apps are generally free and allow users to state exactly what it is they’re looking for – whether that’s just a casual hookup or a future spouse.
But while dating apps are usually free, there are other far more costly alternatives to securing a date.
Some singletons on the search for a partner are more willing (and financially able) to spend a small fortune finding the man or woman of their dreams. And that just raises the stakes, because if you were to spend thousands to pin down your potential beau, you’d expect to get exactly what you ask for.
But what if the reality falls short of your expectations to such an extent that you feel wronged by the company responsible. Would you feel that they owed you some sort of compensation?
Well, that’s exactly how 46-year-old Tereza Burki – who was on the hunt for a wealthy husband – felt and she knew she had to take action. She decided to sue an exclusive dating agency for damages after they failed to find her the rich husband she specifically stated she was looking for.
Burki had approached Seventy Thirty Ltd to help her in her search for “possibly the man of my dreams, the father of my child,” she explained to the High Court.
Unfortunately, the divorced mother-of-three feels she was massively let down by the agency and their high and mighty claims. She said that she was deceptively enticed by their dishonest marketing claims about how many “wealthy, eligible, available men” they had available.
Therefore, Burki, who is a management consultant by profession, is suing the agency with the intent of being refunded the £12,600 ($16,700) membership fee she paid and additional damages for “distress, upset, disappointment and frustration”.
The Knightsbridge-based agency claims to be the “ultimate network of influential and exceptional single people”. They are countersuing for £75,000 ($99,500), claiming that the scathing reviews she published online were libelous.
Seventy Thirty went on to say that from the 9,000 clients they were working with, 70 of them matched Burki’s strict criteria.
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Each of the men had a “high net worth” and she was presented with six matches who were in her requested age range and were looking to start a family.
Burki had been searching high and low for an extremely wealthy international jet-setter, and says she paid for the services provided by the agency in 2014 when she was shown profiles of men she was attracted to.
But according to Burki, the agency did not put her in touch with any of the men whose profiles she had seen before she paid the hugely expensive membership fee.
Her lawyer, Jonathan Edwards told Judge Richard Parkes QC: “You shouldn’t promise people who are in a fragile state of mind, in their mid-40s, 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.”
Burki resides in Chelsea, an affluent area in South West London, where apartments generally cost about $4,000,000. She said she paid thousands to join the agency and was not prepared to be matched with anyone who hadn’t paid a single dime.
Burki felt that men who didn’t pay anything were far less likely to be committed to finding a long-term partner and probably weren’t as well off as they were claiming to be. She also said she expected an “in-depth analysis of characters, a whole scientific approach” to finding the man of her dreams.
Another former female member of the agency, who cannot be named for legal reasons, backed Burki’s claims entirely, saying: “My issue with some of the profiles was they weren’t available. These people weren’t engaged in wanting to meet somebody.”
Burki’s lawyer said Burki was particularly interested in one of the men whose profile she had seen before her membership was activated. “Miss Burki believes that she was sent those details to persuade her to pay up the rest of the money,” he said.
However, Miss Ambrose, the founder of the agency, claimed that the allegations were unfounded: “That is ridiculous. We are not so desperate for money, absolutely it’s not true.”
The lawyer representing the company, Lisa Lacob, stated that the database had always included a “substantial number” of potential suitors who matched Burki’s requirements.
The company had as many as 1,000 clients who would have been awaiting matches at the time, but the database had 9,000 members.
Seventy Thirty claim that Burki’s reviews on Google and Yelp, which referred to the company as “fraudulent” and a “scam”, were motivated by Burki’s “malicious” intention to destroy the business.
The scathing reviews and damning lawsuit had led to at least three potential clients not joining up, costing the company a whopping $57,000 in membership fees, Lacob claimed.
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In response to the counter-lawsuit, Burki denies defamation and spreading malicious falsehoods. She insists that her reviews accurately reflected the experience she had while tied to the agency.
Judge Parkes has reserved judgment on the case until a later date. We can only hope that ultimately a fair and suitable outcome is reached.
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