Voters in dream wedding competition believed donation was being made to charity

A woman who was left almost €7,000 short from a prize to fund her dream wedding has said she was under the impression a percentage from the votes cast by the public to support her winning bid was going to Make-A-Wish Ireland, writes Ciara Phelan.

Carol Fleming from Tipperary won a €10,000 prize from winourwedding.ie in March 2016, but the company has since shut down and its owner, Elaine Whitney, said she cannot afford to pay the outstanding balance.

Carol Fleming with her son Danny.

The Irish Examiner has learned that couples who entered the competition in 2016 thought funds generated by text and internet voting for the winning couple were being made to Make-A-Wish Ireland but in fact, the agreement between both parties was terminated in 2015.

A Make-A-Wish Ireland spokesperson has confirmed the agreement between both companies terminated on December 31, 2015.

Make-A-Wish Ireland entered a partnership agreement with winourwedding.ie in 2013 which proposed that the partnership would take the form of donations of a share of the voting revenues from competitions to be held at regular intervals throughout 2014.

“Win Our Wedding agreed to donate a minimum of 5% of all voting revenues from each competition [a minimum of €5,000 in 2014],” said a Make-A-Wish spokesperson.

“However, this minimum donation did not take place. During the Partnership Agreement, Make-A-Wish Ireland received two donations from Win Our Wedding totalling €2,684.58.

“The first donation of €1,217.02 was made on September 10, 2014. The second donation of €1,467.56 was made on 1 July 2015.

“Make-A-Wish Ireland has received no donations from Win Our Wedding since 1 July 2015.

“If the Make-A-Wish Ireland logo appeared on any Win Our Wedding literature since December 31, 2015 it was without the approval of Make-A-Wish Ireland.”

Despite the termination of the agreement in 2015, a receipt from Ms Fleming’s friend who voted in 2016 stated that proceeds would be going to Make-A-Wish.

The receipt, seen by the Irish Examiner, read: “5% of all voting revenue will go to Make A Wish Ireland to help them grant wishes to children with life threatening illness.”

This receipt shows that payment was made to winourwedding.ie on February 18, 2016 after making a €5 payment for votes online.

Ms Whitney said she ended the agreement with Make-A-Wish Foundation at the beginning of 2016.

When asked if she was aware of the information on a receipt in 2016, Ms Whitney said: “I wasn’t aware it was on the receipt.

“I can categorically state that I did not to my knowledge use any Make-A-Wish branding after the termination of the contract in February 2016.”

This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner.


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