Introduction agencies provide a service to match compatible people for social or personal relationships. The most commonly known introduction agencies are dating sites. These services will usually require consumers to sign a written contract and pay a fee in order to receive introductions.
Before you sign
Shopping around is a very important step when considering this type of agreement. It is important that the service not only meets your personal needs but that you’re aware of the various levels of service and the costs. Before signing a contract you should be able to:
- identify the business they are dealing with including their address
- have a clear understanding of what types of services are available and their costs
- know what introductions will be made and at what cost.
Generally contracts are binding on both parties. The Australian Consumer Law allows consumers to claim compensation when a service does not meet a guarantee. You may be able to claim compensation for your costs in time and money if something goes wrong with the service.
When things go wrong
If you’re dissatisfied with the service, you should contact the trader first. You should be wary of paying more for further advice or more suitable introductions. If a solution cannot be reached, you can lodge a formal complaint with NSW Fair Trading.
Liberty Network scam
Liberty Network introduction agency used high pressure sales techniques to persuade clients to upgrade to more expensive services, extracted fees disproportionate to the services offered, provided no refunds, and even took a client to the bank to withdrawal of a large sum of money. One victim was ripped off $31,000. The NSW Supreme Court ordered the principal of the agency to refund more than $116,000 to 14 of the agency's clients. She was also banned from them from ever working in the introduction agency industry again.
Our tip: Whether it be an introduction service or not, paying out large sums of money up-front can be a very expensive mistake.