Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK


UK

Dating agency splits with trade body

Club Sirius boasts of well-educated members

The UK's largest matchmaker has been kicked out of the body that regulates dating agencies following an "an unprecedented volume" of customer complaints.

The Association of British Introduction Agencies (ABIA) made the decision to part from Club Sirius, based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, after "disgruntled clients" had contacted it.

ABIA director Karen Mooney said that problems with Club Sirius had continued over a long period with "hundreds upon hundreds" of letters flooding into the association concerning a wide range of grievances.

"These ranged from unsuitability to the levels of service received by staff and the charging structure which differed depending on age and sex," she said.

Code of practice 'broken'

"We are the kind of industry where most people don't complain because they are a bit embarrassed but we were getting letters every day."

It said Club Sirius had failed to live up to the association's code of practice, which is supported by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Ms Mooney, said the association is obliged to protect the image of the £50 million-a-year industry, and its members, who are often reluctant to complain.

But Club Sirius dismissed the annoucement as a case of "jealousy", and said it had an overwhelming success rate in introducing high-profile people.

The agency, which prides itself on the quality of its "intelligent, well educated, articulate" membership, says had not received any formal notice of the expulsion.

'Sour grapes'

Agency director Kate Corbett said: "We are more likely to get people come to us who've had a bad experience with other agencies.

"I think a lot of this is because we are the largest and most successful agency - sour grapes. We have a procedure for complaints and our success is obvious."

Besides playing Cupid, Club Sirius organises national events, where people can make "new friends and have fun". These range from sherry tasting to summer balls.

Before 1991, the industry was largely unregulated but a massive increase in the number of people looking for partners prompted the OFT to support the ABIA.

The Internet has been cited as one of the biggest driving forces behind the growth.

In the first quarter of this year alone, the association reported a 35% increase in registrations with agencies compared to the same period last year.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

11 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
Falling in love drives you mad





Internet Links


Club Sirius

Office of Fair Trading


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online