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.

But when he paid the money and logged back on, he was crushed to discover that not a single one of the profiles he’d been shown could be contacted.

This was because they were “registered” and not “paying” members.

Aileen was promised support from Searchmate’s highly experienced team of matchmakers, and a guaranteed minimum of 15 recommendations.

Online dating scams: new tricks that fleece victims of an average '£9,589' But in November last year, Aileen felt a growing sense of disappointment as five months had passed and she had yet to meet any men.

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.

After filling in the questionnaire, the man registered for the site and was delighted with the follow-up email he received.