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He claimed to be a high flier in a major American toy firm, but then managed to convince her to give him £200 for medical treatment, encouraging her to take out credit cards.
“Getting sucked into this made me feel really stupid,” Aileen said.
So in May last year Aileen stumped up £1,295 for membership.
But despite the significant increase in the number of daters, total revenue for the UK dating industry is falling, meaning firms are making less money per head.When Telegraph Money spoke to one of Searchmate’s agents, we were told matchmakers would go to “great lengths” to find matches for singles, for example putting up posters in local sailing clubs (if the client listed sailing as a hobby), or even posting advertisements in newspapers. She said she sent several emails to Searchmate’s agents since November but did not hear back.In the meantime, she contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau, which provided some information on her consumer rights.“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.It claims to offer a “safer and more credible alternative” to dating websites.