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

On its website, it boasted of being ‘the number one dating agency in the UK’ with branches in several major cities.‘Elect Club is an exclusive social network for attractive, dynamic, eligible professionals looking for a serious relationship,’ it said.

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When I rang the LSE, they said they had never heard of such a course.

Pressed on how NLP might make them more expert in matchmaking, Ms Guennifa said: ‘I’m not saying it makes us any better.

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.

‘We have set the standard in discreet, selective and personalised introductions.’The firm, or ‘niche introduction agency for attractive professionals’ as it described itself, even offered a special service for the over-40s and the company boasted it had been featured in glossy magazines including Grazia and Cosmopolitan.

It also claimed that all its consultants, as staff were called, were trained in neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP – a psychotherapy technique based on the connection between neurological processes and language – and this technique was used when potential members were interviewed.

Feeling seriously offended, Ms Fontaine decided to ignore Elect Club’s demands for her to set up a direct debit. I was planning to get out before I had to pay any more money.’She was offered another introduction, this time to an IT worker called Terry, who was in his 50s and from Pinner.

She says: ‘I thought I had better play ball and go along on at least one date, otherwise they would say I hadn’t tried.’They met at Sloane Square, in Chelsea, where Terry emerged from the Underground station wearing an anorak and carrying a rucksack.

I am seeing one particular gentleman for the third date soon, watch this space” “I have to confess, I went to see a lot of agencies in London before choosing Elan to help me find a life partner. Quite simply because they do what they say they will do.