Tereza Burki is a London resident from the Netherlands with three children. She wants one more child. Commendably, that goes above the call of duty, though it’s getting pretty late for that. Since she’s divorced, she’s looking for another man to be the next father.
Although she’s 47 now, actually she’s aged pretty well. Perhaps she could find someone willing to wife up a single mom with three kids and wanting to try for another. Still, that part is a tougher sell. However, she had some pretty lofty income requirements, surely a greater sticking point. That makes a hell of a shopping list.
The quest for Prince Charming
As the Daily Mail states, in 2014, she sought out the services of the high-end matchmaking service Seventy Thirty.
‘[H]er ideal partner would be someone with multiple residences’.
The dating business, based close to Harrods in Knightsbridge, calls itself the ‘ultimate matchmaking service’ with an ‘international membership comprising of men and women of affluence and influence’.
In return clients get their own personal matchmaking specialist who can send them on dates with ‘entrepreneurs, senior businesspeople, hedge fund specialists’ and ‘those who come from wealthy and prestigious backgrounds.’
Holy hypergamy, Batman! She paid a membership fee of £12,600 (about US$16K). That’s no small chunk of change, of course. Still, that’s a great investment if it delivers Mr. Moneybags. However, it was not to be.
Its founder Susie Ambrose insists Ms Burki was offered six matches, all of them ‘plainly successful men in her preferred age bracket who were open to having children’. It is not clear if she ever met any of those men for dates.
So they presented six men who met her highly ambitious expectations, but that didn’t work. Did she meet with them and was dissatisfied, did they fail to see her good qualities, or did she not contact them? It’s unclear exactly what went wrong with the six Prince Charmings.
The following year, she asked for her money back, but didn’t get a refund. She sued to recover the money.
The High Court heard Miss Burki was looking for a high-earning international jet-setter who was also 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 £12,600 to join in 2014.
But she became unhappy with the service when she was shown profiles she did not deem to match her criteria.
The big point of contention is that they didn’t have enough available men in their database, leading to basically a false advertisement claim. There’s much wrangling essentially about active versus inactive members, which would decide the outcome. Still, there’s a chance it would’ve worked out with one of the other rich dudes they did have, or would join later. Further, she stated that the men had free memberships.
Miss Burki, who lives in a street in Chelsea where flats go for over £3m, said she had paid thousands to join and did not want to be matched to men who had not paid a penny.
Men who didn’t pay were less likely to be committed to finding a partner and might not be as well-off as claimed, she told the court.
Dreadful, isn’t it? Furthermore:
She had expected an ‘in-depth analysis of characters, a whole scientific approach’ to finding her a soulmate, she added.
Well, OKCupid does that, and a free account is fully functional. They probably even have a few millionaires.
The company’s lawyer disputed the claims. For a few particulars:
‘Seventy Thirty maintains an extensive database of men and women who can reasonably be described as wealthy and/or successful,’ she continued.
‘Based on the preferences expressed by Miss Burki, the company identified 70 men in its database as possible matches for her.Loading...
‘All were Gold members who had paid for their membership. Each of these men could reasonably be described as ‘high net worth’.’
Meanwhile, the company counter-sued because Burki described them online as a scam.
The Daily Mail had a follow-up with an evocative title, “Divorcée, 47, seeking romance on dating agency which promised the ‘crème de la crème of bachelors’ WINS £13,000 in court battle after it failed to provide a wealthy suitor (and £500 for her sadness)“. What it came down to was this:
Although the agency boasted of more than 7,000 members, the truth was that only about 100 of them were men actively looking for love, he said.
And the management consultant would never have paid her money and joined up had Mr Thomas not knowingly given her ‘a wholly false impression’.
Apparently with matchmaking sites for those seeking the wealthiest, there are far more interested women than men. Who would’ve guessed? It’s the opposite problem of conventional online dating, which is well known for being a sausage fest.
When she signed up with the agency in 2014, Mrs Burki’s requirements for the men she wanted to meet were ‘not modest’, the judge added.
Ya think? The ruling was essentially that she was entitled to the wide selection of Prince Charmings that she was promised. However, although she won that part of the case, she lost the counterclaim:
Speaking about the Google review that called the agency a ‘scam’, the judge ruled: ‘Ms Burki has not proved that Seventy Thirty lacked the means or intention to operate an effective match making service, let alone that it was engaged in a fraudulent scheme to extract money from its clients for the benefit of its founder.’
So the company was awarded £5,000 in damages. (Does that get deducted from her own £13,100 payout?) The company representative remarked:
‘Ms Burki was found to have libelled 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 were deemed untrue and entirely without foundation.’
The company really did try to help her find what she wanted. Supply chain problems are understandable. Inventory is limited, and multimillionaires simply don’t stay stocked on the shelf long. For that matter, how many divorcées have thought they could trade up to a much pricier model, but instead discovered that they’ll be pretty lucky just to get the same overall quality of merchandise they had before?
It gets confusing:
- She successfully sued the company for scamming her; and
- The company successfully counter-sued because she wrongly said they scammed her.
Did the judge mean they’re 60% scam and 40% reputable or something? If I could figure it out, maybe they’d give me a powdered wig and let me be a British judge. Still, could I move to the UK, get a paid membership to an expensive dating agency, and then sue them because they don’t have supermodels beating down my door? Something tells me that wouldn’t work.
All matters of the law aside, what’s the deal with these elevated expectations? Wanting a man with steady income, reliable transportation, and his own place is reasonable. Expecting multiple residences and a jetsetter lifestyle goes a little too far with the Princess Complex. Someone with those demands needs to bring something exceptional to the table herself; Mr. Moneybags might have requirements too.