17 July 2016
by Tamara Dumas
The City of London admittedly is the international financial capital of the world and it is of no surprise that cities like this will be bourgeoning with companies providing services exclusively for wealthy clientele. While there are plenty of dating sites out there, it is believed that wealthy people date differently. Allegedly, they work more and value discreetness above everything else… And have a lot of money to spend to ‘matchmaking’ services. This reason alone was enough for boutique matchmaking companies to get involved in grey area of matchmaking.
Their trained staff is said to provide tailored services and for a hefty £15,000+ they guarantee to introduce loners to a high calibre partner. “As soon as they get their hands on your money, their charm disappears” reads one of numerous unfavourable online reviews.
The review goes on: “These high-end matchmaking agencies don't live up to their reputations for a number of reasons. The main being that these so-called boutique companies are all short on men. In order to keep their books full, matchmaking agencies are known to offer free-membership-deals to those they deem eligible. Another 'trick' often used by matchmakers is extending a one-year membership to a life-long membership status.”
Anything goes in the competitive and saturated market of match-making. However, according to the same source, rival companies are surprisingly keeping close ties to each other. Numerous claims can be found online about elite matchmakers sharing their books with other agencies.
Another review reads: “What accounts for the steep membership fees of matchmakers, is the fact that you will receive tailor made service. This is simply not true. When you join, a profile will be compiled of who you are and who, presumably, you're looking for. The staff who'll handle your profile from then onwards you will never have met. They are not the ones who interviewed you. In the end, you're just a number in a big machinery that is short of men and extremely expensive.”
“To make things worse, often the profiles are not updated. I have gone out with a handful of men whose age was inaccurate. Sure, these men might like to fudge their age and sell themselves 3-5 years younger on a date or over the phone. But wouldn't you expect your tailor-made-dating-service agency to be informed of the men’s actual age?”
A few reviews also state that one call from a gentleman was enough to be counted as ‘introduction’ as well as being introduced to the same ‘highly recommended gentleman’ twice.
Without being able to contact any of the reviewers we sought for answers from the matchmakers themselves. The particular agency in question was - not surprisingly - swift to response. Having its reputation at stake they responded to our enquiries with the enclosed statement (right).
“We are aware of the six reviews that you are referring to but I’m afraid we are legally bound to refrain from commenting on them at the moment, as we are in litigation with the ‘reviewers’ currently.
As you will no doubt have seen, not only do two of the reviews try to rubbish more than one agency, one isn’t even written by a client of ours and the others are littered with factual inaccuracies which prove that they are not genuine. Google have sanctioned that they appear to have been falsified and therefore released the contact details of the reviewers to us last month and so further steps are being taken.
They have not been written by bona fide clients of ours but clearly I am not at liberty to expand any further than this at the moment. Neither is Gray & Farrar permitted to respond to the reviews online within the Google Places area, as our competitors have done with their bad reviews."
The reasons behind such massive ‘smear campaign’ against one ‘reputable’ agency are left open to interpretation.
As to the Association of British Introduction Agencies – yes there is one and it is run entirely by matchmakers themselves – they were seemingly less preoccupied with the reputation of the industry and were unavailable to provide any commentary or statistics of complaints.
The professional matchmaking business seems a very soggy area indeed, full of intrigues, alleged false accusations and cash. And when it comes to unresponsive governing body that is made of matchmakers for matchmakers, the remains of confidence I had about the integrity of the matchmaking industry have fizzled out like bubbles of cheap Prosecco.