The Federal Trade Commission sued online dating service Match Group, Inc. (Match), the owner of Match.com, Tinder, OKCupid, PlentyOfFish, and other dating sites, alleging that the company used fake love interest advertisements to trick hundreds of thousands of consumers into purchasing paid subscriptions on Match.com.
The agency also alleges that Match has unfairly exposed consumers to the risk of fraud and engaged in other allegedly deceptive and unfair practices. For instance, the FTC alleges Match offered false promises of “guarantees,” failed to provide services to consumers who unsuccessfully disputed charges, and made it difficult for users to cancel their subscriptions.
“We believe that Match.com conned people into paying for subscriptions via messages the company knew were from scammers,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Online dating services obviously shouldn’t be using romance scammers as a way to fatten their bottom line.”
Match Touts Fake Love Interest Advertisements, Often From Scammers
Match allows users to create Match.com profiles free of charge, but prohibits users from responding to messages without upgrading to a paid subscription. According to the FTC’s complaint, Match sent emails to nonsubscribers stating that someone had expressed an interest in that consumer. Specifically, when nonsubscribers with free accounts received likes, favorites, emails, and instant messages on Match.com, they also received emailed ads from Match encouraging them to subscribe to Match.com to view the identity of the sender and the content of the communication.
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