Dating agencies

07 Sep

Aileen was promised support from Searchmate’s highly experienced team of matchmakers, and a guaranteed minimum of 15 recommendations.

Online dating scams: new tricks that fleece victims of an average '£9,589' But in November last year, Aileen felt a growing sense of disappointment as five months had passed and she had yet to meet any men.

So in May last year Aileen stumped up £1,295 for membership.

It offered her “unlimited personal introductions” to men serious about finding a relationship.

Searchmate had so far suggested four – two of whom she’d already seen on rival site, a free site, and who had both already declined to date her.

In November she received a letter from a Searchmate adviser saying that her membership was “not progressing as expected”.

But when he paid the money and logged back on, he was crushed to discover that not a single one of the profiles he’d been shown could be contacted.

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One of them lived hundreds of miles away in Ireland and would be unreachable without an expensive ferry or plane journey.In the two years between 20 alone, revenue dropped by £9m from £168m to £159m.This is mainly because cheaper competitor sites and smartphone apps, such as Tinder, have boomed in popularity, explaining why some of the UK’s pricier dating services are suffering – and possibly going to greater lengths to keep singles signed up on their books, Another site at the higher end of the dating market is Elite Singles, which is designed for people with a certain level of education.One woman who is no stranger to the various pitfalls of dating services is Aileen Edwards, a 61-year-old health worker who cares for dementia sufferers. In her spare time she enjoys theatre, swimming and the great outdoors.She says she “isn’t looking for a major spark” but is searching for a man with a good sense of humour to share her life with. The first blow was when she fell victim to a scammer on an online dating site.