Dating site tried to put me off because I'm in a wheelchair

Dating site tried to put me off because I’m in a wheelchair: BBC journalist reveals her shock at being told finding a love match for her could be ‘quite challenging’

  • Matchmakers Dating told Lucy Webster finding match would be ‘challenging’
  • BBC journalist was told dates may decline to meet her because of her wheelchair
  • Webster said she was left in tears by the response from the dating service 

A dating agency has come under fire after discouraging a woman from joining their service because she uses a wheelchair.

BBC journalist Lucy Webster was left in tears after Matchmakers Dating told her that ‘achieving good outcomes for full-time wheelchair user clients’ could be ‘quite challenging’.

The agency – which describes itself as ‘an elite personal matchmaking service’ – costs £1,895 for a 12-month membership, rising to £2,995 if you want their ‘all executive benefits’ package.

BBC journalist Lucy Webster (pictured) was left in tears after Matchmakers Dating told her that ‘achieving good outcomes for full-time wheelchair user clients’ could be ‘quite challenging’

The site told Miss Webster that potential dates ‘may decline to go forward with a match’ because she uses a wheelchair. Without refusing Miss Webster’s membership outright – which could have left them open to legal action for discrimination – Matchmakers urged her to consider that it was ‘not a specialist agency’.

Miss Webster, who lives in London and works for BBC Politics, wrote on Twitter: ‘Imagine for a second being told that you are too disabled for a non-disabled person to love.

‘That’s how my Wednesday is going.’ She said: ‘I just received this email from a “professional” dating service. I have been crying for an hour. When I spoke to them on the phone they said that my disability was fine, but when I clarified that I was a wheelchair user, this…’

The email from Matchmakers said: ‘Matchmakers Dating is not a specialist agency and our experience of disabled dating is limited. We have provided our service to clients living with various disabilities and feel it only right to be transparent with you before offering a membership.

The agency – which describes itself as ‘an elite personal matchmaking service’ – costs £1,895 for a 12-month membership, rising to £2,995 if you want their ‘all executive benefits’ package

‘Regretfully, others are not always open to dating someone living with your disability and may decline to go forward with a match when offered, so we have found that achieving good outcomes for full-time wheelchair user clients can be quite challenging. You should consider this before looking to take out a membership with us.’

Miss Webster added: ‘Next time a disabled person tries to talk to you about ableism, please remember that it’s not just frustrating things like a lack of ramps. It’s stuff like this that hurts more than I can say.’

In a statement last night, Matchmakers said: ‘We believe that everyone is entitled to date and to find love and we do welcome people living with various disabilities to our membership, including other wheelchair users.

‘We deeply regret any offence that we may have caused in trying to be open and honest about the challenges before potentially taking a significant fee.’

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