Ruling

Resolution statement 07441-18 Ambrose v Daily Mail

    • Date complaint received

      7th March 2019

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution statement 07441-18 Ambrose v Daily Mail

Summary of complaint

1. Susie Ambrose complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Mail breached Clause 1(Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined "£12,600 dating agency that broke my heart", published on 3 November 2018.

2. The article featured an interview with a former client of Seventy Thirty, a dating agency founded by the complainant. The client recounted her predominantly negative experiences of the agency; this interview was interposed with details of a court case involving Seventy Thirty and the client.

3. The article also appeared online in substantially the same format under the headline "The 12,000 dating agency that broke my heart: it only had a 100 men, didn’t find her a single match – and then sued HER when she complained" published on 2 November 2018.

4. The complainant said that the client had given an inaccurate account of her expectations of the service and her personal circumstances, including her wealth and marital history; the claims made in the interview contradicted the information heard in court.

5. The complainant said that the article inaccurately claimed that "nothing" had happened after the client had signed up, and that the service didn’t "find her a single match". She emphasised that the client was only a member for 11 weeks, out of what was a 12 month contract, and that she was presented with several matches within this time.

6. The publication denied a breach of the Code. It said that the client's expectations and experiences of the service were presented as her own account, which she was entitled to express. It said that the article made clear that the client wanted a fulfilling relationship and did not consider that simply being provided eligible profiles represented a "match". Furthermore, it was not misleading to state that "nothing" had happened after her membership payment; the article made clear she did not have any contact or meetings with "Mr Right" and that she was still single.

Relevant Code provisions

7. Clause 1(Accuracy)

i. The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including head-lines not supported by the text.

ii. A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.

Mediated outcome

8. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties, IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

9. During IPSO's investigation, the publication offered to published a correction in print in its "corrections and clarifications" column and append the online article with a similar wording:

An article on November 3 about Teresa Burki's experiences using the exclusive dating agency 70/30 said that it 'didn’t find her a single match', and that 'nothing' arose from her membership. While Ms Burki did not meet any potential partners, the agency has asked us to make clear that she was presented with the dating profiles of at least 5 members

10. It also offered to add a statement to the online article, which outlined the complainant's position:

A spokesperson for 70/30 said: 'It is incorrect to say that Tereza Burki didn’t receive any matches, and that once she joined, "nothing happened". Ms Burki was a member for only a few weeks out of the 12 month contract she signed for, and in that time she was presented with 5 profiles of eligible men that she found compatible and expressed a wish to meet some of them. According to the judgement, there were 5 profiles which matched her criteria.

It is accurate to say we probably only had 100 men for Ms Burki (as she wanted to meet a man located in London or nearby). This is actually a positive number to be working with in the context of Specialist Matchmaking.

11. The complainant said that this was sufficient to resolve the matter.

12. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

Date complaint received: 20/11/2018

Date complaint concluded: 11/02/2019