Love cheats find perfect alibi with firm that keeps partners in the dark

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The Independent Online

Once, having an affair was fraught with difficulties, practical and emotional. Now, an internet-based service aims to tackle the practical side by providing some of the means to keep unsuspecting partners in the dark about illicit affairs.

Once, having an affair was fraught with difficulties, practical and emotional. Now, an internet-based service aims to tackle the practical side by providing some of the means to keep unsuspecting partners in the dark about illicit affairs.

Fakealibi.co.uk does exactly that for subscribers, providing alibis to explain an absence from home through phone calls or bogus invitations to conferences or business meetings. It claims celebrities in the United States and Premiership footballers here are subscribers.

The company also offers to make purchases for customers to avoid a giveaway trail of credit-card receipts and statements. It will book hotels, provide accommodation addresses, and masquerade as hotel receptionists or secretaries to answer queries.

All of this costs £29.99 for membership, then £25 for fake business calls or invitations, with higher and negotiable charges for more complex requirements, including what it calls "tailor-made" alibis. The company claims to be highly popular in the US, where it says 40,000 people have signed up and says it is expanding to France, Spain, Italy and Belgium; it claims to operate within the law. Figures show that up to a third of all couples have affairs, roughly the same proportion of marriages that end in divorce.

A spokesman admitted the service could be seen as controversial and morally ambivalent but said its intention was to ensure partners and children did not get hurt over relationships that might not last long. The company also provides alibis for other purposes, including ones for people who want some time off work or need to get away from life for a while.

Denise Knowles, a family counsellor with Relate, the marriage guidance service, said: "People who use this kind of service are deceiving themselves. They are not dealing with the underlying issues causing the affair in the first place."

A spokesman for the Church of England said: "This is a very sad development. We hope it fails and would not want to say any more than that."

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