Because the Dating Service Law is found applicable, the court will review the contract and the service's operation for compliance with the statute. First, there was a massive overcharge by the dating service. § 394-c , “Every contract for social referral service which requires payment by the purchaser of such service of a total amount in excess of twenty-five dollars shall provide that the seller of such service must furnish to the purchaser a specified certain number of social referrals per month”). § 394-c subdivision 3 (contracts above twenty-five dollars to state “specified certain number of social referrals per month”), subdivision 4 (contracts above twenty-five dollars to set forth client has “option to cancel the contract and to receive a refund” if minimum referrals not made), subdivision 5 (undertaking service provider will not reveal “any information and material of a personal or private nature” without client's written consent), subdivision 5-a. Co.1997, Lebedeff, J.], for New York “consumer fraud claims, the Internet medium is essentially irrelevant, for the focus is primarily upon the location” of the relevant actor and whether statute violated). Turning to the issue of damages, the Dating Service Law states that “[a]ny person who has been injured by reason of a violation of this section may bring ․ an action to recover his or her actual damages or fifty dollars whichever is greater” (G. This court had its opportunity to “view the witnesses, hear the testimony and observe demeanor” (People v. For the purposes of this decision, the court has substituted the last names of the claimants with Doe and Roe, respectively. A corporate defendant may appear through an authorized representative in Small Claims cases in New York City (N. Doe met no one through the service but, at some point, stopped checking with the service to see if any other clients had reached out to her. The use of the Internet creates no exception from the application of consumer protection laws, where there is a New York business and a transaction located in New York (People by Vacco v. S.2d 246 (1st Dept.2004), the Appellate Division applied the Dating Services Law to an Internet social referral service with far less expensive services and viewed any distinction regarding the use of the Internet as too insignificant to merit discussion. Second, in both cases, the defendant's form contract violated every mandate of the Dating Service Law, with the single exception that each contract did contain notice of a three day “cooling off” right to cancel (G. In this case, each claimant, both appearing to be intelligent, well spoken and attractive professional women, carefully negotiated the services to be provided. As to the exercise of such discretion, in a 1988 opinion, the Advisory Committee wrote (1) that the “desirability or appropriateness ․ depends on all the circumstances, such as the nature of the [offense], the effect of such report on the administration of justice, and, in particular, on the court's truth determining function, and whether it was revealed by the perpetrator's voluntary testimony,” (2) that a report could be “undesirable” if it “would dissuade witnesses on trial from telling the whole truth or encourage the threat of possible criminal proceedings as a means of pressure, for settlement purposes or otherwise, by one litigant against another” and (3) a judicial decision to report would be proper if the judge concluded “reporting such a revealed [offense] is in the public interest” (Joint Opinion 88-85 and 88-103, December 8, 1988), The court considers the following factors: (1) that reporting the wrongful activity found impacts upon the public interest, given that the acts violated rules governing a regulated industry and appear to reflect a continuing pattern and practice on the part of the defendant as indicated by, among other things, the use of a printed boilerplate form found not to be in accordance with applicable laws; (2) the court's past and future truth determining function in each matter has not been, and will not be, impacted by a potential or actual report because no threat of future reporting was posed during the course of these proceedings, and these matters are now disposed; and (3) a question touching upon the administration of justice and the integrity of a court order may be posed in that a similar course of conduct by the same or a related defendant was previously litigated (Great Expectations Creative Management, Inc. Attorney-General of the State of New York, supra ). § 394-c[2-a], “No social referral service provider shall require the purchase of an ancillary service by a purchaser of a social referral service as a condition of entering into a social referral service contract with such provider”).
Defendant had the obligation to assure that each client of the dating service was made aware of statutory rights by providing each with the “Dating Service Consumer Bill of Rights” (G. As to the manner of the report, it shall be accomplished by forwarding a copy of this decision to the appropriate public officials. The boilerplate printed form contracts has standard terms, reciting that plaintiff would receive a “photo shoot, video, workbook on dating, counseling, background checks, [and] dating etiquette” (para. The clients' failure to cancel their contracts is irrelevant where the contract itself does not recite a specific number of social referrals per month. § 394-c(4), which provides:“Every contract for social referral service which requires payment by the purchaser of such service of a total amount in excess of twenty-five dollars shall provide that in the event that the seller of such service does not furnish to the purchaser the specified certain number of social referrals for two or more successive months the purchaser shall have the option to cancel the contract and to receive a refund of all monies paid pursuant to the cancelled contract with the exception that the seller shall be entitled to retain as a cancellation fee fifteen per cent of the cash price or a pro rata amount for the number of referrals furnished to the purchaser, whichever is greater. § 394-c [b], “ ‘ancillary services' ․ [include] grooming, cosmetology, dating etiquette, dating counseling, or other services”) arguably should have no separate economic value (G.
A failure to return personal materials could well lead to adverse consequences outside the scope of this litigation. § 394-c[c], “In cities having a population over one million, the provisions of this section may be enforced concurrently with the attorney general by the director of a local or municipal consumer affairs office”).
Because claimant Doe's contract has expired and claimant Roe's contract is terminated by reason of this determination, defendant may wish to return personal material to each claimant, notwithstanding that such obligation does not appear in this contract (GBL § 394-c, quoted above).
The mere fact that the basic social introduction process was to be conducted on the Internet in this case does not place the dating service outside the scope of the law. § 394-c[a], “ ‘social referral service’ shall include any service for a fee providing matching of members ․ by use of computer ․ for the purpose of dating and general social contact”).
Co.1991, Diamond, J.], member video and biography kept in a library for access by other members, “the distinction between a service that actually matches people for dating and one that provides the means for the match has no meaning in the context of the clear legislative intent to regulate this kind of activity no matter how it is accomplished or implemented”).