Miami Man Sues Tinder Over Fees for Extra Swipes

Tinder misled clients by not disclosing extra fees, a Miami user claims in court.
Tinder misled clients by not disclosing extra fees, a Miami user claims in court.
Photo by Nathan Rupert via Flickr Creative Commons

Tinder has been a game changer for sex-thirsty singles, but it's also changed how the entire world thinks about the dating scene. The smartphone app short-circuits old romantic rituals and slow-paced courtship by using geolocation to instantly bring together users who are in the same area.

One by one, profile pictures of nearby singles pop up on a user's phone, and they must simply “swipe right” if they like what they see. If two people both swipe right on each other, a messaging service connects them.

But according to one Miami-Dade resident, Tinder users aren’t just screwing one another — the company is screwing customers. In October, Billy Warner filed a lawsuit against the app-making company, Tinder Inc., in Southern District of Florida federal court. 

Warner's attorney, Raymond Dieppa, tells New Times that they believe many other users have felt similarly misled. But the case faces a stiff uphill legal fight — Warner already filed a similar case in California that was dismissed by a judge in July. 

Warner says his lawsuit stems from his own personal experience — and frustration — with the product. According to court documents, Warner began using the app in early 2014. The product was billed as free. In early 2015, Warner got an alert from the app that “consumers would no longer be able to utilize Tinder for the functions which consumers had previously enjoyed free use.” Instead, “consumers that desired to continue using Tinder uninterrupted are required to purchase an account-level subscription of Tinder Plus, at a cost of $2.99 per month.”

Warner argues that having a limited number of swipes basically makes Tinder useless because of the number of “fake users, escort services, or pornography bots” filling up the app’s sample pool. Warner “reluctantly” forked over the $2.99.

Then, in March, the app again charged Warner for the level of services he desired. This time, it would cost him $19.99. Again, Warner reluctantly made the payment.

But in April, Warner caught a $2.99 charge on his account. The user “reasonably believed his subscription to Tinder Plus for $19.99 superseded his prior purchase of Tinder Plus for $2.99 per month.” Yet the company was still charging him for the previous purchase.

Tinder didn't respond to a message from New Times to comment on the latest lawsuit.

But in California, the company successfully argued that it doesn't falsely advertise the price of its product. Federal Judge Margaret M. Morrow dismissed Warner's claims July 31 on the merits of his argument. "He has not adequately alleged that Tinder engaged in any
unlawful conduct," Morrow writes in her dismissal.

But while she dismissed the case, Morrow also gave Warner leave to amend his lawsuit; instead, Warner voluntarily dismissed that case and filed his new, amended complaint in Florida.

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