Foreword by Council of ABIA
In October 1981 the Association of British Introduction Agencies was created, at the instigation of the Office of Fair Trading, in response to genuine concern about the conduct of dating and introduction agencies. The ABIA is now recognised generally as the authoritative voice of the introduction industry with its members providing a reputable and ethical service. In the absence, so far, of any official legislation, we strive to create a greater public and media awareness of our service, to raise standards across all of the industry and enhance the image of our industry. Whilst it would be quite wrong to infer that all non-member agencies are questionable, it is a sad fact that many are – not so much through lack of integrity but through a lack of resources and commercial acumen. The industry is plagued by the growth of short lived agencies whose founders expect rich returns from poorly researched and funded businesses, with many lasting no longer than a few short weeks. The services provided by agencies are particularly personal ones, and it is very helpful that consumers having problems with the services can have access under the code to procedures for resolving the problems. This is an area where consumers have the strongest need for adequate and clear information about the services being offered before any commitment is entered into. The code provisions addressing these are valuable. Consumers need to have confidence that a code of practice will deliver what it promises, and the independent mechanism set up to enforce this code is able to do this.