Monday 22 July 2019

Woman sues over Westmeath date

Nicola Donnelly

A woman tried to sue dating agency for a full refund of her joining fee after she claimed the agency failed to provide her with the service she had paid for.

Jacinta McNevin claimed, that despite signing a contract that she must be willing to travel up to 90 minutes to meet a match at a halfway point, she had verbally told a representative from Intro Matchmaking that she requested to meet men in the Dublin area only.

After joining the agency in October 2018 and paid a fee of €795, Ms McNevin claimed the offers she got of matches for dates were outside the Dublin area and she was not willing to travel to meet them.

'One of the offers was a match with a man living in Westmeath,' she said.

Ms McNevin, of Castlecurragh Heath, Mulhuddart in Dublin 15 took a claim at the Small Claims Court sitting at Swords District Court against Intro Matchmaking, run by Rena Maycock and Feargal Harrington, for the full refund of her joining fee.

The basis of her claim was that before signing a contract, she met a representative from the dating agency and said she wished to meet men within the Dublin area.

She claimed the agency failed to provide her with the service she had paid for.

'I told the girl I didn't wish to travel before I signed the contract. I just wanted to meet people in town [Dublin area],' Ms McNevin told Judge Dermot Dempsey.

Ms McNevin said she paid two amounts - one of €200 and another of €595 to join the agency. She also said she informed the agency she didn't want to go online to meet a man and 'took them at their word that I would meet a man in town'.

'I asked them for a refund of €795 and they refused to give it to me,' said Ms McNevin.

However, Rena Maycock, Director of Intro Matchmaking, based in Grafton Street in Dublin, and Drynam Drive in Kinsealy told the court Ms McNevin signed the terms and conditions of contract which stated the dating agency is a nationwide service and clients are not guaranteed matches within their home counties.

'Every member is required to travel up to 1.5 hours to meet a match at the halfway point,' Ms Maycock told the court.

'Before registering to become a member clients are required to read the terms and conditions. If she didn't agree to them she should not have registered as a member. She signed a legally binding document.'

Ms Maycock said the terms and conditions are repeated in the welcome email clients receive and the agency, which has been established for the past nine years, gives members on average one date every ten weeks 'to give every member the very best chance of success'.

Ms Maycock said the agency matched Ms McNevin living in Westmeath but she had refused the match, even thought she would only have to travel 30 minutes to the halfway point.

Dismissing Ms McNevin's claim, Judge Dermot Dempsey said she had signed a legally binding document and must abide by the terms of that contract.

'There is no basis for your claim,' said Judge Dempsey, 'You shouldn't have signed it if you didn't agree to it.'

Speaking afterwards, Feargal Harrington said: 'We are delighted with the outcome of the unsuccessful claim by Jacinta McNevin.

'While we had prepared a significant volume of evidence to rebuke her case against us, upon entering the witness box Ms McNevin immediately explained that the basis of her claim was that she joined Intro Matchmaking to meet men in Dublin and we had not provided the service.'

He added: 'When we were invited to cross-examine her we drew her attention to her signed contract and particularly our travel policy which clearly states members must be willing to travel up to 90 minutes to meet at a halfway point.'

'One cannot join a gym, refuse to use it and then claim a refund for not having used it,' said Mr Harrington. At Intro we provide an ethical service and we are very proud of our success rates, so we are very glad that the judge found in our favour,' he said.

Fingal Independent