Legal

Spark Networks Ordered To Repay Nearly $1 Million To Customers

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Spark Networks USA, the Los Angeles-based parent company of numerous niche dating sites including Jdate and Christian Mingle, has agreed to pay $500,000 in penalties and up to $985,000 in restitution to customers after settling a consumer protection action. The money will be paid to users whose subscriptions automatically renewed without notification or who were denied refunds.

Under federal and California state law, consumers must be notified if a subscription is automatically renewed and must give their “express, affirmative consent” before any money is collected. Spark Networks failed to provide clear notification of subscription renewals, according to the settlement, and offered users no opportunity to indicate their consent via a check-box or similar form. The consumer protection action was pursued upon discovery of this violation.

“Consumers always have the right to know where their money is going and companies must comply with California’s laws in order to ensure that consumers understand certain transactions will renew automatically,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement. “This joint effort is a great example of how our Consumer Protection Unit works to protect people from unfair business practices in the marketplace and ensure that California’s consumer protection laws are followed.”

Bumble Moves Forward With Match Group Countersuit, Sets Sights On IPO

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The battle between Bumble and Match Group is entering a new round, and Bumble is taking the gloves off. Nearly six months after countersuing Tinder’s parent company for $400 million in damages, Bumble has announced it is no longer open to settling privately. Match Group and Bumble are heading to court.

“We had considered a private opportunity to settle privately, and that’s something we’re no longer open to,” Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd told Fortune. “Now we are ready to take it to court.”

Match Group threw the first punch in March, filing a lawsuit alleging that Bumble “copied Tinder’s world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise” and accusing two Tinder-turned-Bumble employees of violating their confidentiality agreements.

Tinder Co-Founder Claims in Lawsuit He Was Forced to Sell His Company Shares

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Sean Rad

Sean Rad, Tinder co-Founder and former CEO, claims in a lawsuit that he was forced to sell his shares of Tinder stock by parent company IAC (now Match Group) under pressure of being fired. Because of this, he and other Tinder employees potentially lost millions of dollars through an alleged stock devaluation.

According to an article in The Verge, Rad says he was forced into exercising his options early, about a month before he was fired in September 2017. He says he felt pressured to sell because those options would expire after he left the company, and he suspected Match Group of planning his ouster. As it turns out, Match Group did fire him a month later, even though it wasn’t publicized at the time.

British Woman Successfully Sues Matchmaker For Failing To Provide Dream Date

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Seventy Thirty Matchmaking

The dating world just got a little weirder. A British divorcee seeking a wealthy boyfriend via a ritzy matchmaking agency sued the company over a lack of suitable dates - and was awarded over $16,000 for her trouble.

Tereza Burki, a 47-year-old from London, joined premium dating agency Seventy Thirty in 2013. According to reports, she was looking for a “sophisticated gentleman” with “a lifestyle similar or more affluent than her own” and “multiple residences.” Lemarc Thomas, Seventy Thirty's managing director at the time, assured Burki that the service only dealt in the “creme de la creme” of daters and had “a substantial number” of potential matches who met her requirements.

Burki shelled out a staggering £12,600 ($16,141 USD) to join, an investment she soon regretted.

Tinder Employees Sue Match Group for $2 Billion

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Sean Rad, Co-founder of Tinder
Sean Rad, Co-founder of Tinder

Former and current Tinder employees slapped a lawsuit against parent company Match Group, claiming the popular dating app was purposefully devalued at the time Match Group was valuating stock options. The Tinder employees suing Match Group were placed on administrative leave, according to a report by MSN.

The ten former and current Tinder employees initiating the lawsuit include founder and ex-CEO Sean Rad along with co-founders Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen. Tinder’s VP of Communications Rosette Pambakian has also joined the lawsuit, and claims that IAC/ Match Group executive Greg Blatt sexually harassed her at a company party. (IAC changed its name to Match Group, but the company is still owned by media mogul Barry Diller.)

Pambakian wrote an email to Tinder employees explaining her decision, as reported by Fortune Magazine:

China Cracks Down On Romance Fraud, Arrests More Than 1000 Scammers

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Chineses Dating Scammers Arrested

Chinese dating scammers are in hot water this summer. More than a thousand members of fraud rings have been arrested in the country over the last two months, potentially saving thousands of singles from falling victim to their deceit.

In June, police in the southern province of Guangdong cracked down on 13 gangs who posed as attractive women in order to con men into purchasing pricey products like tea and wine. Authorities apprehended a total of 1,310 suspects, each of whom could approach up to 1,500 victims per month.

“These scam gangs [succeed] because they capture the psychology of many men: When facing beautiful women, men lose their judgement, and feel too shy to refuse,” a Guangdong police officer said at a briefing about the arrests.