Come on baby, light my fire—oh—wait—did we mention there’s a charge? Tinder got hit with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit this week by a disgruntled user who alleges the social media company lures customers into signing up for its dating app by advertising it as being free and later charging customers if they want to continue using the app.
Filed by California resident Billy Warner, the Tinder lawsuit states the Tinder is running “a classic bait and switch” program, which results from the company’s recent announcement that it will begin charging customers $2.99 per month. Warner claims that he is “entrenched in the use” of the app and had he known that Tinder would charge for it, he would not have downloaded it. Really? Unlimited opportunities to hook up for less than the price of one designer coffee? You do the math. But the issue isn’t about whether they should charge…
“Defendant offered these free services with the goal in mind of enlisting a user base of tens or hundreds of millions of users, with the ultimate goal of later changing the rules of participation and deceptively and forcibly migrating a substantially percentage of its user based to a paid subscription model,” the complaint states.
Warner contends that “Had Defendant warned Plaintiff that additional fees may apply, Plaintiff would have reconsidered Plaintiff’s use of Defendant’s app….Failure to disclose that additional fees may apply unfairly induced Plaintiff’s downloading of Defendant’s app, as he reasonably believed it to be a ‘free’ service.” That’s the issue.
“Tinder has, up until now, allowed users to enjoy unlimited free swipes and has been a free app,” according to the lawsuit. “Tinder has never advertised, represented, or otherwise indicated to its customers, including plaintiff, that the use of its services will require any form or payment.”
Warner discovered that he would have to pay $2.99 per month to continue using the app when he was notified that he was out of “likes” and that he could purchase unlimited “likes” for $2.99 per month.
“[Tinder’s] abrupt policy change constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade practice, put into place to forcibly migrate users to paid subscription services, in order to receive the same services that had previously been provided and advertised free of charge,” the class action lawsuit states.
The class seeks to represent a California class of Tinder users, who downloaded the app before March 2.
Warner is charging Tinder with violating the California False Advertising Act and unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent conduct according to California’s Unfair Competition Law. U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:15-cv-01668.
Heads up Mexican Nationals who have traveled home since June 1999… A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against several airlines by a group of Mexican nationals who allege they have been forced to pay a “Mexico tourism tax” they weren’t obligated to pay. The plaintiffs claim they have paid millions of dollars in this tax to airlines including United Airlines Inc. and Delta Airlines Inc.
The Mexican tourist tax lawsuit claims violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, specifically that the airlines wrongfully charged the plaintiffs, including children under the age of 2 who took flights between the US and Mexico, $20 to $25 for the Mexico Tourism Tax. They allege the airlines fraudulently represent to passengers that the Mexican government requires them to collect the tax, then keep the proceeds.
The Mexican tax is mandatory charged to certain travelers who arrive in Mexico on flights originating outside the county. However, Mexican nationals, residents and children under the age of two are exempt from the tax, according to the suit.
According to the allegations, an arrangement was reached between the airlines and the government in June 1999 to collect the tax but was actively concealed from the public by the defendants for many years. The airlines knew which passengers wouldn’t be subject to the tax because they would know their passport numbers and nationalities once they purchased their tickets, according to the complaint.
“Under the agreement, the defendants agreed to have mechanisms in place to distinguish the cases in which the Mexico tourism tax does not apply,” the suit states. “Since 1999 (or about the dates that each defendant began operating flights to/from Mexico), rather than collect only the tax that should have been charged … the defendants on information and belief, have obtained, retained, and reinvested those improperly collected taxes into their respective operations.”
Other airlines named as defendants in the proposed class action are American Airlines Inc., AeroVias de Mexico SA de CV, Concesionaria Vuela Compania de Aviacion, SAPI de CV, ABC Aerolineas SA de CV, and US Airways Inc.
The plaintiffs seek to represent a class of Mexican nationals, guardians of children under the age of two at the time of travel and foreigners with resident status in Mexico who flew between the U.S. and Mexico beginning in June 1999.
The case is Almanza et al. v. United Airlines, Inc. et al., case number 2:15-cv-00033 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
Mesh mess continues… Ethicon, the division of Johnson & Johnson that makes TVT Abbrevo, one of many transvaginal mesh products that are the subject of several thousand lawsuits, has been found liable and ordered to pay $5.7 million to plaintiff Coleen Perry.
The jury hearing Perry’s case deliberated for three days and found that Ethicon’s conduct regarding the TVT Abbrevo vaginal sling amounted to “malice,” her lawyer said. They awarded Perry $700,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages.
This Ethicon verdict makes the fourth against the company. Currently, over 36,000 lawsuits have been filed against the TVT manufacturer in both state and federal courts, all alleging the devices, which are used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, are defectively designed and result in significant personal injury.
Perry claimed the Abbrevo mesh began to erode in her body, causing pain that she said she expects to last the rest of her life, Reuters reported.
The FDA approved Abbrevo, one of Ethicon’s newer models of mesh products, in 2010, specifically to treat stress urinary incontinence. Perry, received her implant in 2011. She said she began experiencing a “pulling-type” pain almost immediately after surgery, Reuters reports.
The case is Perry et al v. Luu et al, Superior Court of the State of California, Kern County, No. 5-1500-CV-279123.
Hokee Dokee- That’s a wrap folks…Time to adjourn for the week. See you at the bar!