[Resolved] Attractive Professionals / introduction agency
Attractive Professionals have not taken my complaint seriously, and they certainly do not adhere to the Association of British Introduction Agencies' Code of Conduct.
This agency is not an online Dating Service, I have selected that category because there isn't a category for Introduction Agencies.
I have requested a full refund of the £895.00 I paid the introduction agency Attractive Professionals on my Santander credit card on 23/06/2016 and a refund of the monthly fee of £55.00 paid from my Santander account on the following dates: 01/07/2016; 01/09/2016; 03/10/2016. This comes to a total of £1, 060.00.
I requested the refund because Attractive Professionals clearly had no intention of providing any suitable matches and they have not provided the services for which I paid. The agency has demonstrated a profound lack of professionalism and incompetence by sending emails to me which were intended for someone else (see email from Ms Marlow dated 31/10/2016); claiming they had sent profiles when they had not (see emails dates 13/02/2017 from Ms Marlow and Ms Medhurst), making a false suggestion of harassment (see email dated 16/02/2017 from Lorraine Marlow); failing to respond adequately to my complaints .
I first informed the agency of my dissatisfaction with the service by email on Thursday 15th September 2016. Attractive Professionals has now ceased to provide any service at all and I have consequently written to them to terminate my membership and request a full refund. They have not replied.
I have always been very open and flexible in terms of matching criteria: I was willing to meet men within a wide radius and I was flexible about the age of prospective introductions.I would consider men in the age range of 50-67, as people age differently. If someone outside this age range seemed to the agency to be appropriate I would consider them too.
Since joining the agency eight months ago, I have received only one introduction where the man wanted to meet with a view to developing a relationship.
Ms Marlow claims that I have ‘dismissed some very nice gentlemen without even having a phone call with them. The evidence is to the contrary. In fact, I declined only one suggestion and that was because he was severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair as he was paralysed from the chest downwards. The number of meetings have been low not because I dismissed profiles or declined meeting the men concerned, but because the recommendations or match suggestions sent were unsuitable and refused even to exchange telephone numbers to converse on the phone. The majority obviously therefore thought I was not a suitable match or recommendation for them either (Ms Medhurst encouraged me to agree to exchange numbers with her suggestions even though I believed many of them to be wholly unsuitable). Only one of the eleven suggestions sent by the agency should count as being anywhere near to an appropriate recommendation. Basic match making criteria has been ignored by my matchmaker; one of the recommendations sent was a smoker and I had said I did not want to be matched with men who smoked.
Of course, Attractive Professionals should never have taken my money if they did not have appropriate people on their books or were unable to access them. I have requested a refund from Attractive Professionals but the agency refuses to engage in any discussion at all.
It would seem that Attractive Professionals intentionally sent unsuitable profiles to thwart any possibility of meeting a partner and to prolong the period of membership so that I would continue paying the monthly £55.00. The longer my membership continued, the more Attractive Professionals received in fees for 'work' done. Although they offered six months’ free membership none of the profiles sent during this period have been suitable or appropriate.
Before joining, I had reservations because I found complaints against Attractive Professionals on the internet. Ms Marlow emailed me to say the complaints were not genuine. I have since found many more complaints about the agency and the other people’s experiences correspond to mine exactly. I was cautious having had a particularly bad experience with an agency who was not a member of the Association of British Introduction Agencies (ABIA). Ms Medhurst was aware of this and she gave reassurances: Saturday, 18 June, 2016 13:00 ‘I’m sorry Laura, I know that you were badly let down …’. Ms Medhurst claimed that: that Attractive Professionals would provide an ‘exclusive service’ of ‘Personal matching... genuinely seeking a relationship’.
I joined the agency because I was led to believe I would receive a bespoke, personal and privileged service from Attractive Professionals. Nothing could have been further from my experience.
I was welcomed into the agency by Ms Medhurst on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 8:53 ‘You’re a very warm, accomplished lady and a most welcome addition to our service’
23 June 2016 10:27, ‘We are members of the Association of British Introduction Agencies www.abia.org.uk. To be a member, we have to adhere to their strict codes of conduct. We have been a member for many years. They don’t deal with online agencies at all and are the standard bearers for good practice. We take all complaints very seriously’.
However, Attractive Professionals have failed to respond adequately to my complaints and, it would seem, to adhere to the AIBA Code of Practice, which states that: It is compulsory on all Members to accept the Code in its entirety. If a client feels dissatisfied with their treatment by a Member they have a right to take this up with the Association.’ ‘All Members shall offer and maintain a fair refund policy’; 1.2 Each Member must have a listed land line telephone number which the public can, during normal working hours, use to speak to someone in authority within that Member agency.
Email from Ms Medhurst sent Wednesday, 13 July, 2016 13:53 ‘We’re not really set up to be a telephone service Laura, so you’ll probably find it easier to communicate with me by email’
Tuesday, 30 August 2016 13:27 I arranged the transfer of £50.00 for Thursday 1st September and said I would be most grateful if you and I could speak over the phone, so that I know that we are both clear about the kind of gentleman I was seeking.
When I have complained Attractive Professionals have invariably made poor excuses. Please see below:
1. (see email from Ms Medhurst dated 15/09/2016) ‘No, I’m sorry but I won’t be available to talk today as I’m going down to Suffolk this afternoon to see my mum… ‘
2. saying their fees are low and I should therefore expect a low quality service: ‘I think you’re being really unfair in saying that you’re disappointed in us and comparing us unfavourably with Attractive Professionals. I’d like to point out that our fees are just one-third of what you paid them, you told me that you’d met no one in a year and yet in just one month of active membership, we’ve had two guys who wanted to meet you’
3. saying that they do not provide a telephone service: ‘I would also point out that at no time have we said that we’re a phone service like AP but it would seem that you expect much more from us in spite of our much lower fees’
4. implying that their service will be diminished if I complain: ‘I think that you need to be fair and positive in your dealings with me/us or we’re not going to get along…’
5. They have tried to twist things around and to make me feel personally at fault when they have been unable to find suitable matches; they have also become verbally aggressive. The company has alleged that I have been impolite. These allegations are false.
I understand that the ABIA is supposed to be an independent regulatory body. However, Attractive Professionals have requested I do not contact the AIBA.
I have asked the agency to explain:
a) what a failed service for a client would look like in order for a refund to be granted a refund
b) how few meetings a client would have to have had for the agency to offer a refund - I certainly consider one meeting in eight months to be disappointingly low and certainly less than I was led to believe a client would receive.
My trust and faith in Attractive Professionals has now been completely broken and the experience has been dreadful. Demoralising, humiliating, frustrating, a waste of time. There is something particularly unethical about this introduction agency taking large sums of money - purely for profit and yet under the guise of offering a good matchmaking service - from people who genuinely seek a partner, especially those who are lonely through bereavement and who are lone parents.
Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.
Attractive Professionals Customer Care's Response, Mar 08, 2017
If you managed to read through to the end without nodding off, you can probably see that Laura is a professional writer. We were subjected to reams and reams of writing and more phone calls than you could count.
The kindest thing I can say about Laura is that we found her the most demanding client we've had in over 30 years of trading; we also know of two other agencies that she'd previously joined and both of those ended badly too.
When she decided that we couldn't produce her ideal partner quickly enough for her, she turned her attentions on to those good folk at the ABIA who are only doing their best in a difficult industry. She harassed them with calls and emails to such an extent that they pleaded with us to ask her to desist.
Compared to the thousands that she paid the other companies, our fees at just £895 are miniscule but Laura wanted a Rolls Royce service for the cost of a bicycle and she wanted it yesterday!
The Attractive Professionals Team
Attractive Professionals Customer Care's Response, Mar 09, 2017
As Director of Attractive Professionals, I feel I have to add to Margot’s reply above.
We go in to the office every single working day with one objective in mind; to offer the one introduction that will make the difference to someone’s life.
We don’t play at this, this is our livelihood and our family business. One of our team has been in dating since 1979. The rest of the family have joined along the way.
It’s a very sensitive area dealing with people’s emotions. We’re trying to find partners for people and we’re delighted when we do!
When we come across someone like the client above, who is able to post a review online that is potentially damaging to our reputation and completely one sided, we feel we have to respond.
This lady turned down many more lovely gents than just the disabled chap she mentions and who she was disparaging about (he’s such a lovely chap). We’re quite protective of our members and this client was rude about many of the chaps she turned down.
After she had been verbally aggressive to Margot, I took over her care. We had many long chats and I tried to reassure her that it only takes one person to turn hers into a success story. The one on one service this client received ran to hundreds of hours and its worth mentioning that after the first two months, she was receiving FREE membership!
But she kept turning gentlemen down. This client purports to be the victim of us and other agencies. The opposite is true. Through our links with similar organisations, we have learned that we are not the only agency she has treated this way.
Then I became the target of this lady’s aggression on the phone. Even after this, I offered her another suggestion who she turned down because he supports armed forces charities and she is against war!
This client mentions other bad testimonials about us. THERE ARE NONE! If you type ‘Attractive Professionals reviews’ into Google, there are some links to our own website and to the ABIA that appear in the list.
There is another one which is a Daily Mail article. This is NOT us. They use the words ‘attractive professionals’ within the text of the article and therefore Google picks it up. It’s actually about a DIFFERENT company altogether.
As you go through Complaints Board and online, you can see that there are tens of thousands of complaints about dating services. I’m not aware of any genuine negative review about us online aside from this one.
There are some reviews for a company with a very similar name to ours but again, this is NOT US!
It’s upsetting when you try your best to help someone and they can so easily try to destroy your company with an online review.
I would urge any reader to take Laura’s review with a very large pinch of salt. Her story didn’t have a happy ending, but it so easily could have - and so many do!
I’m always available on 0131 338 6112 or 07450 611019 should anyone wish to discuss our service or this response with me.
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