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Verdict pending in matchmaking lawsuit

The judge in the small-claims case against the nation’s largest same-sex matchmaking service did not reach a verdict at the end of a full day of trial testimony on Mar 31.

However deputy judge R Priddle did finish the day with a word of advice for Entre-Nous Consulting.

“The contract does seem to be excessively one-sided,” Priddle said. “That’s an issue that needs to be given some thought.”

Entre-Nous, represented by attorney Remy Boghossian, faced off against Terry Wong. The local gay man alleges the company did not live up to its contractual obligations and is seeking a full refund of almost $8,000, plus $10,000 in damages.

Priddle reserved judgment pending the receipt of written submissions of closing arguments. Wong’s written testimony is due May 1; Entre-Nous’ response is due two weeks later. Priddle noted his decision allows for both sides to reach an out-of-court settlement pending the verdict.

In court papers filed in 2006 Wong said he paid Entre-Nous $7,698 for the company’s matchmaking services. However Wong stated the only potential match the company made for him did not meet his criteria. After not hearing from the company for four months regarding another potential match he requested a refund. When the company refused he took his case to the Ontario government’s Consumer Protection Branch and, ultimately, to court.

In over an hour of testimony Wong, who represented himself, presented examples of what he categorized as misrepresentations and poor business practices, including a mix up over the company’s GST number and inconsistencies in the signature of senior Entre-Nous counsellor Carolyn Salib. As well Wong argued that on three different versions of the contract, the dates and monetary amounts are all different.

Under cross-examination Boghossian accused Wong of “doing a good job of spinning facts” and called his testimony “disingenuous.”

Boghossian made an issue of Wong’s feedback following his one and only introduction. According to Boghossian, Wong complained to Entre-Nous that the man he’d been set up with was too thin, wore sunglasses when it was overcast and worked in the information technology field, as does Wong.

“You didn’t comment on your compatibility even though the purpose of feedback is to understand you better so that the next match will be more successful,” said Boghossian. “You just changed your mind about being a member of Entre-Nous, didn’t you?”

Boghossian also took issue with Wong communicating his accusations to Entre-Nous’ clients and sponsors.

“You slandered the company in order to raise doubts, innuendo and suspicions. You are setting up a web of lies,” said Boghossian, “and there are legal consequences of falsely accusing someone of fraud.”

In closing Boghossian noted that Ontario has no specific law regulating dating services, a fact also noted in Wong’s written testimony.

Outside the courtroom Wong said he is confident in the case he presented. He said he was pleased with the judge’s comment about the one-sidedness of the contract.

Boghossian refused comment after the trial, but Entre-Nous subsequently released a written statement.

“We defended ourselves vigorously and are confident that we cleared up a lot of issues raised by Mr Wong,” reads a quote in the statement attributed to Salib. “We harbour no ill feelings toward Mr Wong and believe that it’s important for him to know that. As far as we are concerned Mr Wong is still a member of our network and we are still prepared to work with him and offer him the outstanding level of support and service that our clients have come to expect and receive from us.”