Review of dating agencies
‘He kept going on about his boating holiday on the Thames. As we walked down the King’s Road, me with my designer handbag and Terry with his rucksack, I just thought, “So much for the neuro- linguistic programming.” ’But there was worse to come.
Over pizza, Ms Fontaine discovered that Terry wasn’t a paying member of Elect.
It’s not a selling point, it’s just something I’ve done that means something to me.’Karen Mooney, press officer for the Association of British Introduction Agencies (ABIA), said: ‘People should check before they sign up to any dating agency to make sure it is a member of ABIA, which has a strict code of practice.’ Ms Mooney, who founded Sara Eden Personal Introductions in 1988, said: ‘Companies love to boast that they can do matchmaking but a dating agency is a complicated business.
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Lisa Guennifa, associate director of Elect, said: ‘Alex was super-eager to be matched.
If you are 25 you can have two dates a week ,but when you are in your 40s with specific requirements it is more difficult.’Asked whether she accepted that while he may have paid another less upmarket agency a fee, that was not the same thing as having paid to join Elect, Ms Guennifa said: ‘We don’t judge people on their assets.’‘I don’t personally take credit for successful relationships between two people,’ she said.
They met at 5pm in the upstairs bar and spent an hour and a half talking about what she wanted in a partner.‘I asked her about the sort of men they had on their books and she told me she had two men immediately in mind for me. I asked specifically if these men were looking for a quick fling or a long-term relationship and she said, “If they’re paying upwards of £500 for membership, then they’re looking for a relationship.” ’She then enquired about meeting Tim but was told that he was now in a relationship and had come off their books. A strange email exchange ensued in which he informed her in pidgin English that while he was ‘very happy and excited to meet a person of such attractive profile’, he was ‘only a novice in the single life’.‘He said he had had a call from them inviting him to come to some events.He had been a member of a dating agency in Gerrard’s Cross in Buckinghamshire that had shut down and Elect had bought it. When Ms Fontaine emailed to complain, she received an email back from Daniel Andre, the CEO of the company, saying: ‘Each of our members have specific criteria and their requirement doesn’t especially match your profile, I am afraid. Unfortunately, Elect decided she owed them two months’ membership.In further emails, she found out that he had only been divorced for two months.An internet search turned up the equally worrying fact that he had recently changed his name and that several of his companies had been fined.