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He said: “I wanted to get back on the dating scene but I felt fragile from the split.

Most people on these dating websites are just looking for a bit of fun, but I find that all a bit seedy.

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.

She says she “isn’t looking for a major spark” but is searching for a man with a good sense of humour to share her life with. The first blow was when she fell victim to a scammer on an online dating site.

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.

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.

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In November she received a letter from a Searchmate adviser saying that her membership was “not progressing as expected”.

In the two years between 20 alone, revenue dropped by £9m from £168m to £159m.

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.

“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.

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