Match.com’s parent company, Match Group Inc., will pay $2 million to settle a civil lawsuit alleging the online dating service charged customers for automatic renewal without their consent, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon announced Wednesday.
“Consumers should be protected from practices that deceptively and unfairly force them to pay for something they don’t want,” Gascon said in a statement announcing the settlement. “We want companies to thrive, but they should be mindful to not abuse technology tools to violate consumer protections.”
Under a judgment negotiated with the company that was signed Wednesday by a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge, Match Group was additionally required to clearly disclose its automatic renewal terms, to get consumer consent via a checkbox before charging for automatic renewals, and to 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 service online or otherwise and there must be no misleading online sales information or payment systems.
Match Group did not admit wrongdoing, but has already taken steps to correct its alleged violations, according to Gascon’s office.
Federal and state law requires businesses to provide consumers with clear disclosure of their automatic renewal terms and conditions before charging them for the service. The disclosure must include instruction for the cancellation of the automatic renewal subscription businesses must obtain consent from consumers prior to automatic renewals.
The Match.com 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 Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.