Class action suits allege that over half of the dating site’s profiles are inactive or downright fake.
The first lawsuit, filed in December 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, claims that over half of Match.com’s profiles are either inactive or downright fake. The suit alleges that “while Match purports to have ‘millions’ of active subscribers, well over half of the profiles on its site belong to inactive members who have cancelled their membership or allowed their subscriptions to lapse and/or are fake and fraudulent profiles posted by scammers and others.”
According to the suit, “Match takes virtually no action to remove [inactive] profiles … for months and sometimes years after the individuals have become inactive.” Further, “Match will only remove profiles after a former subscriber calls to complain and specifically requests its removal.”
Regarding “fake and fraudulent profiles” — those “likely placed by third-parties for illegitimate and unlawful purposes” — the suit charges the site “makes little to no effort to vet, police, or remove these profiles and thereby permits, condones, and acquiesces in their posting.”
The plaintiffs allege that Match’s conduct constitutes a breach of the user agreement, under which “members agree not to post or transmit to other members or to Match any inaccurate material, misleading, or false information,” and “information posted in the profiles of members must be accurate, current and complete.”
The suit also cites the agreement as providing “that Match will not allow its subscribers to: (a) ‘impersonate any person or entity’; (b) ‘stalk or otherwise harass any person’; [or] (c) ‘forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any information transmitted through the [site].’
Seeking class status
The plaintiffs in the first suit — who hail from New York, Iowa, Washington state and Tennessee — are seeking to represent a class comprised of all “current and former members of the Match service [who] suffered damages as a result of subscription fees paid to Match for the use of its website.”
In its latest earnings report, Match.com, founded in 1995, says that its revenue topped $38.1 million and has around 1.8 million subscribers, according to a story by United Press International.
In a statement, Match said, “The claims have no merit and Match.com will defend the lawsuit vigorously.”
The suit includes counts for breach of contract, a breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and negligent misrepresentation. The plaintiffs are seeking a refund of their membership fees, compensatory damages, and an injunction ordering an end to the practices and “implementation of administrative changes” to fix the alleged problems in the future.
Second class action suit filed in February in San Francisco
Another class action suit was recently filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, claiming Match.com is “little more than a scheme” to bilk consumers and that more than 60 percent of the profiles on the dating site are “either inactive former users or fake or fraudulently posted by scammers and others.”
The case was filed on behalf of Kristy Gamayo and other consumers in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, similar to the case filed in Dallas.
Gamayo’s suit claims that many of the photos attached to profiles on Match.com are of “pornographic actresses and models, seemingly stolen from independent websites.”
The suit argues that Match “takes virtually no action” to remove lapsed profiles from its site, counting them as “active” members for “months and sometimes years” after the individuals have become inactive.
“Worse yet,” says the suit, “Match overbills and makes unauthorized charges to the debit and credit cards of members and former members alike.”
The suit alleges that Match’s actions violate California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California’s False Advertising Law and other California consumer protection laws.
Gamayo’s suit echoes many of the charges in the earlier suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which alleges that “while Match purports to have ‘millions’ of active subscribers, well over half of the profiles on its site belong to inactive members who have cancelled their membership or allowed their subscriptions to lapse and/or are fake and fraudulent profiles posted by scammers and others.”