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Class Claims Tinder Practices Fees Deception

(CN) - A class action claims the popular dating application Tinder misleads consumers by charging for services while advertising that its app is free.

Tinder utilizes GPS technology to find singles in a certain radius and allows users to "swipe" left or right on the phone to "like" or "dislike" them. If two people "like" one another then a chat room opens up and allows the users to message each other.

Earlier this year, Tinder put a limit on the number of swipes a user could perform in a given amount of time, but offered to lift the restriction with a $2.99 per month payment.

In a complaint filed in Miami Federal Court, lead plaintiff Billy Warner says that when he signed up for Tinder he was under the impression "he already had the ability to get 'unlimited swipes' without having to pay anything additionally to defendant."

He claims "having unlimited swipes is a necessary requirement for a user to meaningfully use the Tinder app, due in large part to the vast majority of users' matches being either fake users, escort services or pornography bots."

Warner says when he unexpectedly received notice that his continued use of Tinder would require an additional payment, he reluctantly purchased a monthly subscription to the Tinder app for $2.99 a month.

Then, he says, "[o]n or about March 30, 2015, despite Plaintiff already having been induced to pay $2.99 to continue with the same level of services previously advertised as free, Plaintiff was unexpectedly prompted again by Defendant to pay additional fees in order to continue utilizing the Tinder Plus services he had previously paid for in full."

"Defendant prompted Plaintiff to 'Get Plus for $19.99/Mo' despite the fact that Plaintiff had previously paid $2.99 to subscribe to Tinder Plus, and had, prior to that, enjoyed unlimited swipes for free, pursuant to Tinder's advertisements," the complaint says.

Warner says Tinder misled him "and other reasonably minded consumers by charging them multiple times for the same services, and by continuing to automatically withdraw funds from their accounts, under highly misleading terms, and without their express 'acceptance' or 'authorization,' written or otherwise, as to these terms."

Warner's attorney Raymond Dieppa, of Wadsworth Huott LLP, said Tinder's charges differ from other free apps, which often offer paid tiers of service.

"It is the manner in which the deductions are being made," he said. "People start out with a $2.99 charge, and end up with a $23.99 charge."

Dieppa also said the charges seem to be directed only at male users of Tinder.

"It appears with what we've seen, it's not being applied equally across both genders," he said.

This could especially be a problem in a state like California with equal protection laws, he said.

Representatives of Tinder could not be reached for comment.

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