Los Angeles A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against Tinder Inc alleging 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 lawsuit states the Tinder is running "a classic bait and switch"program, which results from the company' 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.
"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' use of Defendant' app .Failure to disclose that additional fees may apply unfairly induced Plaintiff' downloading of Defendant' app, as he reasonably believed it to be a 'free' service."
"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'] 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' Unfair Competition Law. U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:15-cv-01668.
The plaintiff is represented by the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman in Beverly Hills, CA.