On July 8, Santa Cruz County District Attorney, Jeffrey Rosell announce d the settlement of the civil unfair competition lawsuit against MATCH GROUP, INC. The Delaware Company with its principal place of business in Dallas, owns and operates the world’s largest conglomerate of online dating services sites , including well-recognized brands such as Match.com, Plentyoffish, OkCupid and Tinder. The action was brought by the Santa Cruz County District Attorney Consumer Affairs and Environmental Protection Units working in conjunction with the California Auto Renewal Taskforce ( C.A.R.T.) in December 2020.
The lawsuit alleged that Match Group’s online dating service subscriptions violated provisions of California’s automatic renewal and dating service contract laws. Among other things, the task force alleged that Match Group’s sign-up processes failed to clearly and conspicuously inform consumers that they were enrolling in an automatically-renewing service and failed to secure their affirmative consent as required by law.
Additionally, the prosecution team alleged that Match Group ’s post — payment acknowledgments failed to inform consumers how to cancel and made the cancelation process intentionally difficult — also violations of California’s automatic renewal laws.
As part of the settlement, Match Group, Inc. agreed to pay $2 million in civil penalties and costs, victim restitution, and a permanent injunction against future violations. The judgment, entered at the Santa Cruz Superior Court, requires Match Group, Inc. to have full transparency with consumers about their automatically renewing subscriptions.
“The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office is dedicated to protecting consumers from unlawful practices from the largest of companies who engage in unfair competition. Automatic Renewals take advantage of consumers by getting them in and not letting them out,” said Rosell.
Santa Cruz has obtained unfair competition judgments against two of the largest dating services providers in the world, as well as recent judgments against Amazon and Apple for unfair competition.