Leading online dating service site Match.com has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging that over half of the member dating profiles are fake and only used to entice new subscribers.
Plaintiff Matthew Ditnes filed the Match.com fake accounts class action lawsuit earlier this month in Illinois federal court. Ditnes claims that Match.com routinely solicits paid subscriptions to its service without disclosing that the subscribers will receive messages from fake profiles.
Roughly 30 million unique users, or about 10% of the U.S. population, visit dating sites every month. And many of them pay a hefty sum for that chance to meet their perfect match. With over 21 million users, Match.com is the biggest subscription-based site in the U.S. Match’s online dating service website typically features several different pay-based membership plans that range from approximately $16 to $36 per month depending on the level of service chosen.
According to the 21-page complaint, Match.com created profiles of “members” from which messages were sent to legitimate members, like Ditnes who paid for a monthly subscription in order to connect with others like them on the site. Specifically, while Match.com purports to have “millions” of active subscribers, the lawsuit contends that well over half of the profiles on its site are fake and fraudulent profiles.
In Ditnes case, he shares that he created an online profile on Match.com on December 30, 2017 and paid $59.94 for a six-month subscription, with a renewal option. Immediately after signing up, he began to receive messages from Match.com stating that numerous other Match.com users were interested in him.
Court documents describe that these messages contained many matches using the same picture for the profile, with only the name changed. The messages also purportedly contained identical profile characteristics. When Ditnes tried to view the profiles of the interested users, he discovered that most if not all of these people were not in fact members of the site, making interaction or dating impossible.
“With regard to what appear to be thousands of fake and fraudulent profiles, Match makes little to no effort to vet, police, or remove these profiles and thereby permits, condones, and acquiesces in their posting,” the complaint states.
Ditnes asserts that this is because the fake accounts generate revenue for Match by artificially increasing the number of “members” who use its service, which is a key element of its marketing campaigns. As a result, numerous consumers have been induced to upgrade to paid subscriptions, or induced to continue to pay for their existing paid memberships, so that they can read and respond to the communications they are receiving, only to find out that the communications belong to fake or fraudulent profiles.
The Match.com fake accounts class action lawsuit brings claims for violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act the Illinois Dating Referral Services Act, breach of implied contract, and unjust enrichment. Ditnes is seeking to represent a proposed class of consumers “in the United States or its territories who paid for a subscription to the Match.com dating site and who received messages from persons identified as Match.com members but who were not in fact persons who are members of the site.”
Ditnes is represented by William M. Sweetnam and Natasha Singh of Sweetnam LLC.
The Match.com Fake Accounts Class Action Lawsuit is Matthew Ditnes v. Match Group LLC, Case No. 1:18-cv-03128, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.