“This case is about a woman looking for romantic happiness who says she was tricked into shopping in the wrong place, paying a large sum to a dating agency which, she says, made promises but failed to produce the goods.”
Finding love, in this age and time, is not an easy feat. Therefore, when Tereza Burki, a divorced mother-of-three from Chelsea, West London, decided to pay nearly $16,000 to become member of an elite dating service, she thought she would finally find the “man of my dreams” – who just happened to be rich.
The 47-year-old had certain requirements – she reportedly wanted a “sophisticated gentleman” who ideally worked in the finance industry, led a “wealthy lifestyle” and was “open to travelling internationally.”
More importantly, she wanted someone she could have a child with, because she had always wanted four kids, according to The Guardian.
Unfortunately for her, her dreams did not come true. So, angry as she was, Burki filed a lawsuit against Knightsbridge-based dating agency Seventy Thirty. She claimed the company had deceived her by promising the existence of several rich, eligible, male members who were looking for partners through the service.
If that sounded a bit too much, here’s something even more shocking: she won the case.
“Gertrude Stein quipped that whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop,” said Judge Richard Parkes QC, delivering the ruling. “This case is about a woman looking for romantic happiness who says she was tricked into shopping in the wrong place, paying a large sum to a dating agency which, she says, made promises but failed to produce the goods.”
According to the ruling, the matchmaking service only had about 100 active male members, which was apparently not what the agency’s then-managing director, Lemarc Thomas, had told the plaintiff at the time of signing up.
“Had Ms. Burki known what the true size of the active membership was, she would not have joined Seventy Thirty,” the judge added.
Not only did the court rule that Thomas had “deceived” Burki, the judge also order Seventy Thirty to repay the woman’s membership fee along with a little over $600 for “disappointment and sadness.”
Now, it would have been a great win had plaintiff not lost most of the money shortly.
As it turned out, Burki, who only wanted to find an affluent partner, was also ordered to pay the dating agency $6,300 in libel damages after posting negative reviews about Seventy Thirty.
“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-caliber prospects out there,” said Susie Ambrose, the founder and company director of Seventy Thirty. “By her own admission in court, Ms Burki never read the terms and conditions … Ms Burki was found to have libeled Seventy Thirty, as the judge said that we had sourced excellent matches for her. Therefore, her remarks about us being a non-reputable and fraudulent company was deemed untrue and entirely without foundation.”