ContractsProf Blog

Editor: D. A. Jeremy Telman
Valparaiso Univ. Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, January 24, 2011

Match.com Under Fire

Match Match.com faces fraud and breach of contract claims based on the allegation that more than half of the profiles on the site are fake or inactive, to give the impression that there are more fish in the dating sea.  Here’s the story from the Dallas Morning News:

Dallas-based online dating site Match.com is facing a federal lawsuit alleging that more than half of its profiles belong to inactive members or scammers.

The complaint, filed Dec. 30 in U.S. District Court in Dallas, alleges that the company does not remove profiles of customers who cancel subscriptions or vet profiles that may be fake.

The complaint also alleges that Match.com encourages members to renew subscriptions by sending them a message from an inactive or fake profile expressing romantic interest.

Five men and women, none from Texas, are asking for class action status. They accuse the company of breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and negligent misrepresentation.

"The claims have no merit and Match.com will defend the lawsuit vigorously," Match.com said in a prepared statement.

Match.com, founded in 1995, is among the top online dating websites. In 2010, the dating site saw an increase in subscriptions and revenue. According to the most recent earnings report for parent company IAC, Match.com brought in $38.1 million and had about 1.82 million paid subscribers.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and repayment of subscription fees. A subscription costs $34.99 for one month, $19.99 per month for three months, or $16.99 per month for six months.

The complaint comes at a peak time for the industry, the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, said Julie Spira, who owns cyberdatingexpert.com and helps clients write profiles for dating sites.

Match.com is no stranger to lawsuits. In 2005, Match.com was sued in California over allegations that the company hired employees to create profiles and entice members to keep their subscriptions going. The case was dropped. Another case, filed in 2009, also was dropped.

But this time will be different, said Jeffrey Norton, lead attorney on the lawsuit and lawyer at New York-based Harwood Feffer LLP.

"We have a strong complaint based on strong investigations," he said.

Norton says that he and others researched and spoke to Match.com subscribers, employees and subcontractors.

Spira said that online dating sites often count all types of members - even those without a paid membership - to make their sites seem more promising.

For example, she said, a member may join for a free weekend or free month but then not sign up for a premium membership - making them unable to see messages from other members or causing a profile to be inactive for months at a time.

"It would be great if the site had some kind of notice that not all members can receive e-mails or if there was a box you could check for only premium, paying members," she said.

"But that might also show the world that it's a few million less members and maybe they don't want to show the world that," she said.

[Meredith R. Miller]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/contractsprof_blog/2011/01/matchcom-under-fire.html

In the News | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef0148c7f3b9bb970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Match.com Under Fire:

Comments

I know people who are on J-Date who are not members of the tribe. Could this be a basis for a class action as well?

Posted by: Jeremy Telman | Jan 24, 2011 1:59:04 PM

Hello! I'm an active member on Match.com from CA. What I'm about to tell you will not be a comment but from a personal experienced as a member on Match. One week after joining, I've met two women. Both these women asked me if I can chat with them through their personal email. It didn't bothered me so I said yes. These two women were very attractive, one claimed that she is from Reno, NV. and the other from Vallejo, CA. I'd first chatted with the woman from Reno. After two to three days of exchanging feelings and pictures being swapped, she then deactivated her profile. I'd asked her why, she told me that she had found me and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I mean, come on...three days later and she fell so easily for me? So long story short...she then told me she now lived in Nigeria with her mom. Stupid me, that should sound a bell in my ears. She then told me that her life was so hard living there with only $40 a week and that she'd doesn't have money to pay for her internet cost. And what do you know....she asked if I have the money to pay for her internet which will cost $160 a month. That's when I got a slapped in the face and said to myself "wake up fool". So in the end, I'd discontinued all communication with her. Now the story on this last woman I've chatted with, also through personal email. This girl, she was different, never once mention about money, she made me feel really special with her words. So about couples of days in, she also deactivated her profile from Match. She told me that she'd didn't find anyone that she was interested in. So same scenario with the other girl, she fell for me in a short period of time. She then told me she is London to claim her father's inheritance. There was a catch to this. She told me that in order for her to get the will 1. She has to be at the age of 27 or older. 2. Must be married. And 3. The money will be transfer to the husband's bank account...all these was stated in her father's will. She told me she went to court and tried to change what was stated in her father's will but the court said no. So she asked me if I can email her attorney and tell him that I'm her fiance so that a marriage certificate can be issue and that the money can be release so after we're married. So I did it just to see how far this will go. When I got an email from her attorney, I mean this guy, as an professional lawyer, his writing was terrible, his grammar was off...he didn't even state his name, the name of his law chamber, everything just seem so fishy plus he email me from his personal email address. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, he told me that I have to pay $650 for the cost of a marriage certificate. I was curious if this guy is a legit lawyer. So I email him back and asked for his info regarding his profession. When I got it back, everything seem so legit but curious as I am, I started doing my own investigation. He listed himself as a Barrister, so I searched every Barrister website directories listed in UK. In the end this guy doesn't exist, it's like looking for a human chromosome but without a microscope. So guess what I did? Yes..I dropped this whole drama right down the toilet, went out and got myself a brand new iPhone4. Yes...I felt much better after that. 

Posted by: Chris | Jan 27, 2011 9:21:03 AM

Hello,I am also a current member of the site, bought a one month subscription and the first two or three days, man all kinds of women were winking at me and E-mailing me.The first two that I chatted with were real quick to try and get my outside e-mail address and the first one actually offered to send some RACY pictures of herself.Like an idiot I gave her my e-mail address, but nothing happened.I then went to re-check her profile and it then said that additional profile information was unavailable.I also have had a lot of people trying to get ahold of me on the Instant Messenger feature with no picture or profile from way out states and countries, I mean come on, who wants to try and start a relationship with someone in another country? I KNOW, that they regulate your activity because after what I mentioned above, I chatted with about three really nice women on several different occasions who I planned on talking to in the future and all of the sudden they were never on line, they would never return e-mails,and were not trying to get ahold of me anymore, thats just strange.Ok so now after the firs week, I kind of caught on to it and started winking at all kinds of women I mean all kinds, sending numerous e-mails to all kinds of different women, even the ones who I had talked to already and nothing, no responses back, no winks back, nothing. This site is a sham, nothing but a sham with a whole bunch of fake profiles with people on these way out, unlikely vacations with 12-15 of their freinds in the picture, at fancy restaraunts with cocktils or at these costume parties wearing stupid costumes.Just real unlikely senarios. Anyone who has been on the site knows EXACTLY what I am talking about.Also the IM feature does not work well,typing errors and keysroke errors.

Posted by: Never Again | Jul 12, 2012 10:58:15 PM

Been on the site for 3 days completely bogus only get messages from girls out of state that ask me right off for my email and cell phone site is a fraud at best

Posted by: Eddie | Jul 16, 2012 7:34:21 PM

Post a comment