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Dating site warning from consumer watchdog

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/06/2017

© Getty Images New Zealand's consumer watchdog is warning lonely hearts to steer clear of dating site Private Event because it is being run by a woman who left kitset cabin customers thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says Private Event is run by Emma Gestro, the owner of a company called Get Design and Sales.

In April, Consumer NZ received complaints from customers who paid for kitset cabins but did not receive them.

They were purchased through econobach.co.nz, kiwi-built.co.nz and mydiy.co.nz.

"Despite assurances to refund customers, Ms Gestro has failed to pay back money owed and comply with her obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act," Chetwin said.

The Private Event website promises a discreet and secure way of dating, "where singles and busy professionals meet and socialise".

Customers pay an annual fee of $50 and a booking fee for attending singles events.

Ms Chetwin said the terms and conditions that state "Private Event reserves the right to change its prices without notice", and state use of the website and attendance at events is at customers' "own risk" should ring alarm bells.

The clauses potentially breach the Fair Trading Act, she said.

In correspondence with Consumer NZ, Ms Gestro said revenue from Private Event would be used to pay back Get Design and Sales clients.

"Ms Gestro's track record gives us no confidence this will happen and we advise consumers to steer clear of the Private Event dating site," Ms Chetwin said.

Ms Gestro was previously a director and joint shareholder of Magenta Marketing, which operated in liquidation from 1994 to 2002 before being removed from the Companies Register.

During that period, she was also prosecuted for fraud and required to pay back $13,000 to a former employer.

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