Though the famous online dating platform Match.com usually makes headlines for fostering marriages, they’re in the news for a more somber reason: they just got sued. According to a report from The Federal Trade Commission who brought on the lawsuit, Match created fake accounts as advertisements that lured in users to buy subscriptions. They also apparently made promises they couldn’t keep, and then didn’t allow customers to cancel their accounts when they asked or disputed charges.
The FTC shared during their investigation, they discovered 500,000 subscriptions were purchased in a mere 24 hours from a customer receiving the phony communication. In other words: Match created bots that appeared to be sending messages, which encouraged folks to sign up for their services. It would appear as a ‘someone messaged you!’ in your inbox, but you couldn’t read it until you became a member. They did this over the course of two years, from June 2016 to June 2018.
However, Match isn’t standing for this claim since they say it isn’t exactly accurate. In a statement released by the company, they shared: “The FTC has misrepresented internal emails and relied on cherry-picked data to make outrageous claims and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these claims in court.”
At the core of the argument is the idea around what constitutes as scam. And more importantly, how an online dating site can be responsible for using fake accounts to boost sales. As the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Andrew Smith shared with the WSJ: “We believe that Match.com conned people into paying for subscriptions via messages the company knew were from scammers. Online dating services obviously shouldn’t be using romance scammers as a way to fatten their bottom line.”
This means a scammer could be that person awaiting in the inbox you can’t access without forking over your credit card. Or, it could just be a generated email that Match sent and then populated with a faux message. Whatever the case, it’s not truthful and thus, the FTC is holding this industry leader accountable.
What do you think? Have you been fooled by Match? Do you think they’re responsible? Tell us in the comments.