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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.It claims to offer a “safer and more credible alternative” to dating websites.
It offered her “unlimited personal introductions” to men serious about finding a relationship.
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”.
Searchmate had so far suggested four – two of whom she’d already seen on rival site Plentyoffish.com, 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”.
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.They were good-looking women in his local area with similar interests – world travel, theatre and cooking.He didn’t hesitate to pay the £180 for 12 months’ membership as pretty much everyone he’d seen so far he would have gone on a date with, so there seemed to be a lot of potential for meeting someone special.Because of this it had suspended her account, even though she had not asked for this to happen.Searchmate has now offered Aileen a full refund of £1,295.Searchmate has disputed Aileen’s claims and said it had not received any correspondence from her after the letter was sent in November.