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By Jack Simon
Observer Staff Writer 

Owner of Match.com, Tinder, OkCupid Settles Consumer Protection Lawsuit

The suit alleged the online dating company charged customers for automatic renewal without their consent

 

A couple embracing as the sun sets in Palisades Park this 2019 file photo

The parent company of many online dating sites - including Tinder, Match.com, PlentyofFish and OkCupid - will pay $2 million to settle a civil lawsuit alleging customers were charged for automatic renewal without their consent, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced this week.

The lawsuit was filed last November by the California Auto Renewal Task Force (CART), which includes the District Attorney's Offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties and the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office.

The suit alleged that Match Group Inc.'s online dating service subscriptions violated provisions of California's Automatic Renewal and Dating Service Contract laws, according to prosecutors.

According to the settlement, signed off by a Santa Cruz Superior Court judge on Wednesday, Match Group will pay civil penalties, costs and victim restitution for allegedly failing to clearly inform consumers that they were enrolling in an automatically renewing service.

"Consumers should be protected from practices that deceptively and unfairly force them to pay for something they don't want," Los Angeles District Attorney Gascón said. "We want companies to thrive, but they should be mindful to not abuse technology tools to violate consumer protections."

As part of the settlement, the Match Group will comply with the following terms: clearly and conspicuously disclose its automatic renewal terms; get consumers' affirmative consent to the terms through a checkbox before charging for an automatic renewal or continuous service; email consumers a confirmation of the transaction after they pay, which clearly includes the automatic renewal terms; allow consumers to easily cancel the service, including online; and avoid using misleading online sales information and payment mechanisms.

According to prosecutors, the company did not admit wrongdoing and has already taken steps to correct its violations.

 

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