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“My daughters said online dating wasn’t good for me anymore, so I started looking for alternatives.” Aileen then came across Searchmate, a bespoke dating service which featured on the first series of Channel 4's The Undateables.
In the meantime, she contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau, which provided some information on her consumer rights.
After filling in the questionnaire, the man registered for the site and was delighted with the follow-up email he received.
It contained several profiles of highly promising matches all “waiting to contact him”.
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.
In total, the site offered the man four suitable profiles “in his area” – none of which met his criteria.
One of them lived hundreds of miles away in Ireland and would be unreachable without an expensive ferry or plane journey.
When the man complained to Elite Singles, it refunded him without a fuss, as it has a 14-day refund policy.
When contacted by Telegraph Money, Elite Singles admitted that disappointment over the number of paying members was a “very common” complaint.
I didn’t want to put myself through all that.” The man, 54, from the North East, came across Elite Singles and thought it looked like a better bet for meeting someone more serious about finding a long-term partner.
He was also impressed with the advertised fact that 18,000 new members were registering with the site every week – giving the impression that he’d be spoilt for choice of potential dates.
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.