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.
It promises “affluent, educated men and women between the ages of 30 and 55, who are all looking for a long-term commitment.” It charges £180 a year for membership.
It offered her “unlimited personal introductions” to men serious about finding a relationship.
The site explained that this was down to most of the gentlemen who were active within her area “going on hold”, meaning they could no longer be contacted.
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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.
Searchmate offered to upgrade Aileen to its “Platinum” membership, a service via which customers are assigned their very own matchmaker who will proactively look for potential matches outside Searchmate’s client base.
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.