THREE “romance robbers” from True Love Corp must pay almost $1.5 million for exploiting vulnerable clients and leaving them dateless and destitute.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe says True Love’s conduct was “despicable” and he hopes “other ruthless operators” in the dating game will take note of the landmark decision against them in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Zivko Dimitrijevski, the former director of the internet dating company True Love Corp (TLC) Consulting Services Pty Ltd and his wife Helen Dimitrijevski, a former manager of TLC, have been ordered to pay compensation of $1,123,095 and banned from working in the introduction industry, Mr Stowe said in a statement.
Hollie Veall, a former co-director, was ordered to pay $342,050.
The NSW Supreme Court found that between February 2003 and July 2008, TLC had made false and misleading representations to a number of its clients who had signed up to get suitable introductions, Mr Stowe said.
In most cases the clients were told to upgrade their memberships, at significant cost, to meet more people and have life coaching and grooming services but didn’t get anything and it turned out the prospective partners on the databases were largely nonexistent.
One victim sustained a loss of more than $680,000.
“TLC’s conduct was particularly despicable as the Dimitrijevskis and Ms Veall had targeted lonely and vulnerable members of the community, many of whom had a disability or lived in remote areas,” he said.
“These people put their trust in a company which took advantage of their vulnerable situation and milked them for every dollar they could get, leaving them destitute and dateless.”
He said TLC had been operating on the NSW/Queensland border since 2002 but targeted consumers across most states and territories.