Last year, a woman successfully sued a dating agency after they failed to help her find romance. This case raised a number of important questions for those using professional services to find the perfect partner.
What can people do if they feel that have not received the services they have paid for? Can they ask for their money back if they asked for a prince and all they got were frogs?
Sarah Garner, a solicitor from DAS Law, explains what people need to know to help them safely navigate the dating minefield.
If I pay for membership to a dating agency and I am disappointed because the service and matches I receive are not what was advertised, can I ask for a refund of my membership fee?
Paying for a membership to a dating agency would form a legally binding contract, whereby you agree to pay a sum of money for services to be provided. A contract of this nature would be covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The legislation provides that services must be provided with reasonable care and skill, and in accordance with what was agreed either verbally or in writing.
In order to be successful in pursuing a claim, you would need to be able to evidence to the Court that they have failed to provide the service that they advertised
Sarah Garner, DAS Law
If the agency fails to provide this level of service you could argue that they have breached the contract between you and request a full or partial refund. If the agency have failed to provide the service that was advertised, you could also argue that the agency have misrepresented what the agency provides and argue that the contract is null and void under the Misrepresentation Act 1967.
A misrepresentation occurs where untrue or false information provided by a company induces you to enter into a contract. The remedy for misrepresentation is for the contract to be cancelled, and both parties to be put in the position they were in prior to the contract being entered into.
What legal action can I take if they refuse?
If the agency fails to provide the agreed service, or fails to cancel your membership and refund monies paid, you may issue a claim to the County Court for a refund of your membership fee.
In order to be successful in pursuing a claim, you would need to be able to evidence to the Court that they have failed to provide the service that they advertised, and that you entered into membership with the agency based upon this information.
If I’m not happy with the service of a dating site and I write my views online, can I be sued for defamation?
Defamation is an untrue statement made either verbally or in writing that can have a negative effect on a person’s reputation. You can only be sued therefore if the content of the information being posted online is untrue.
What are the key points I should check when I sign a contract?
A contract is a legally binding document. You should carefully read through the content of a contract, and ensure that you understand all of the terms and are happy to be bound by such terms. If you do not understand, or do not agree to any of the terms you should discuss/negotiate these terms before signing the contract or consider taking legal advice.
Disclaimer: This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created.