An Australian fitness model has won her case against a dating agency after having one bad date.
Zoë Daly, a fitness model from Sydney, sued matchmaking service Elite Introductions after having a bad experience.
She said that she signed up with agency on November 7, 2016, in a bid to meet a “like-minded, ambitious, successful, professional” man.
Daly said her experience, however, was not that. She told the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal that instead of meeting a “like-minded” individual, the man she was introduced to was “very negative”, showed no interest in her but “spoke about himself the whole time”, was “not passionate about his job”, was “ashamed” of his family and made disparaging comments about her car.
Additionally, she said that he looked “much older” than 40, when she had specifically asked to meet a man aged betwee 32 and 38.
She further told the tribunal that she had felt pressured to sign with the agency, after meeting with the founder Trudy Gilbert at the agency’s very posh offices.
The online coach and fitness expert said that she had not felt “ready to sign up that day” but paid the $4995 fee for a 12-month membership as Gilbert told her that she had many “amazing men” on her books who “can’t wait, they won’t be here in the New Year”.
Daly further told the tribunal that her unsuitable date had told her of previous unpleasant introduction experiences he had had, as well as telling her that he would be overseas until February. Daly said that this confirmed to her that she would have been better off waiting until the new year to sign up.
She then sought a refund in early December for the first date that was rather unpleasant.
She accused the agency and Gilbert of a number of infringements, including misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law over the claim the agency boasted “amazing men” who would be snapped up before January and said that Gilbert had engaged in unconscionable conduct when she placed pressure on her to sign up.
Gilbert denied the accusations, saying that Daly had unreasonable expectations. Gilbert told the tribunal that clients can expect to meet between 8 and 10 prospective matches over the 12-month subscription.
“Zoë had one date and a huge amount of compatibility with this man,” Gilbert said.
“I have exhibited no deceptive conduct at all.
“I’ve been matchmaking for 12 years and I have introduced hundreds of happy couples,” Gilbert defended herself.
The particular man Daly met had received positive feedback from another executive who had also met with him.
The tribunal, however, sided with Daly in the case, ordering Gilbert and the agency to refund Daly 80 per cent of the membership fee, amounting to $4 000.
Senior Tribunal Member Scott Anthony McDonald delivered a written decision, saying that the tribunal “accepts the evidence of [Daly] … in respect of misleading and deceptive statements and pressure sales techniques”.
Gilbert disagreed with the ruling, saying that she had not forced Daly to sign the contract.
She said that she would seek further legal advice about taking action against Daly for her “deceptive conduct” allegations.