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‘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.

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.

‘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.

We understand meeting the right person at the right time, can be a little challenging, but over the last fifteen years we've successfully perfected a matchmaking platform that works with a 85% success rate.

As such, we attract educated, attractive and selective individuals seeking an elite and discreet process to find their life partner.

‘I have messed up relationships myself and that wasn’t the fault of the friend who made the introduction.

Equally, if I am introduced to my partner by a friend I’m not going to be grateful to her for the rest of my life.’Ms Guennifa said she and other consultants had undertaken a four-month home course with a company whose name she could not recall – ‘it was called Infinite something’ – culminating in two weeks’ study at the London School of Economics, where they sat an examination.

The company, Elect Club, claimed to have the ‘largest private database of single professionals in London’, including business leaders and entrepreneurs.