Santa Monica City Attorney and Other Prosecutors Kiss and Makes Up With eHarmony
The conservative internet company was dumb enough to open an office in liberal Santa Monica
January 13, 2018
eHarmony, one of the largest and oldest dating websites in the United States, has agreed to change its website and sales practices to better protect California consumers.
The company was founded by Christian clinical psychologist Neil Clark Warren and emphasizes religion in some of its advertising. It promotes enduring positive values, such as faith, long term marriages, love and family. The conservative internet company was dumb enough to open an office in liberal Santa Monica. City Attorney's office decided it MUST be sued.
The formerly Santa Monica-based company also will pay $1.2 million in penalties and up to $1 million in restitution to customers whose subscriptions automatically renewed and who were denied refunds when requested.
A settlement was negotiated with the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office and the district attorneys of four Northern California counties: Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Napa, and Shasta.
The task force claimed that eHarmony was charging its customers for renewals, without their express prior consent as required by law.
The action also alleged that eHarmony engaged in false advertising and violated California dating-service laws, by failing to provide copies of contracts to consumers and to disclose their right to cancel.
"Automatic renewal is one of the critical areas in consumer protection today," said Santa Monica Chief Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky, head of the Consumer Protection Division. "Consumers always have the right to know where their money is going."
The judgment requires eHarmony to have full transparency with consumers about automatically renewing memberships.
eHarmony is an online dating website. It was launched on August 22, 2000, and is based in Los Angeles, California. The company is privately held. Large investors include Sequoia Capital and Technology Cross Ventures.
eHarmony was founded by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist, with his son-in-law. Warren and his son-in-law created seminar Neil Clark Warren & Associates, a seminar company, in 1995. That company eventually became the dating website eHarmony.