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(Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s office)
Business & Technology

Potentially expensive date (in court): Santa Cruz County D.A. seeks $10 million from parent

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s office is taking on another nationally known dating service, alleging its companies are engaging in “unfair and unlawful business practices.”

The D.A.'s Consumer Affairs and Environmental Protection divisions — working alongside the California Auto Renewal Taskforce (CART) — is suing Match Group Inc., which owns, PlentyOfFish, OkCupid, and Tinder.

In announcing the case this week, District Attorney Jeffrey S. Rossell’s office wrote that violated the California Dating Service Contract Law and the California Auto Renewal Law by engaging “in a pattern and practice of designing a signup and cancellation process intended to hook in consumers and make it difficult for them to extricate themselves from the contract.”

Actions that allegedly locked in customers included “misleading billing characterizations, nonconspicuous auto renewal disclosures, elimination of required cancellation disclosures, and imposition of a long and tedious cancellation process.”

A message left with’s communications office wasn’t immediately returned.

This isn’t the first time Rossell has filed a consumer related lawsuit against a dating company. Santa Cruz County was part of a previous action with three other counties and the city of Santa Monica that obtained a $1.2 million judgment against the dating site, eHarmony, including $1 million to consumers whose subscriptions automatically renewed and who were denied refunds when requested.

California law, according to Rossell, requires dating businesses to provide a three-day day right to cancel and a copy of the complete contract to be available to the consumer. The lawsuit against Match Group Inc. seeks $10 million in damages.