SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The parent company of numerous popular 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 San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.
Match Group Inc. 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 also allegedly were not informed of how to cancel subscriptions.
The settlement, in which Match Group did not admit wrongdoing, was signed off by a Santa Cruz Superior Court judge on Wednesday.
In addition to monetary penalties, the judgment means the company must clearly disclose its automatic renewal terms, get consumer consent to terms via a checkbox before charging for automatic renewals, and email customers a confirmation of transactions after they pay with a clear statement of the automatic renewal terms.
Consumers also must be allowed to easily cancel their subscriptions.
The company already has taken steps to correct its alleged violations, according to prosecutors.
The case is among the investigations conducted by the California Automatic Renewal Task Force, which was formed to address rising consumer complaints against online automatic renewal subscriptions. Members of CART include the district attorneys of San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.
“San Diego and its CART colleagues continue to hold companies accountable when they violate California’s automatic renewal laws, and online dating service companies are no exception,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “These laws exist so that consumers are not surprised by unanticipated recurring charges and, when seeking to cancel an automatically renewing subscription, can do so simply and efficiently. This is one of several recent examples of our consumer protection team working with CART to achieve compliance with these important laws.”
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