Australia's consumer watchdog has sued dating website eHarmony over allegations it made misleading statements about pricing, renewal and duration of its memberships.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today begun proceedings in the Federal Court against eHarmony over the allegedly misleading representations.
The ACCC has alleged eHarmony claimed there was "free dating" for customers but basic memberships wouldn't allow people to message other users.
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It has also alleged eHarmony made a false impression that memberships were only six, 12 or 24 months, when in fact they would automatically renew.
eHarmony also allegedly failed to display the accurate minimum monthly prices until late in the purchase process and also allegedly misled customers on their ability to cancel subscriptions.
The allegations date back to 2019 and the ACCC has claimed they are ongoing.
"Dating apps provide important services that are used by many Australians to meet new people and make connections, and they have become an intrinsic part of many people's social lives," ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
"These are personal services, and consumers may bring a different state of mind to these interactions than a commercial one.
"In addition, some consumers who use these apps may be more at risk from misleading or manipulative selling practices than they would be in other, less personal transactions"
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The ACCC has allegedly received hundreds of complaints from consumers about eHarmony and its memberships.
"We allege that eHarmony deprived consumers of the chance to make an informed choice about whether to join this dating service and how much to spend in doing so," Cass-Gottlieb said.
eHarmony told 9news.com.au in a statement: "eharmony is aware of this matter and has fully cooperated with the ACCC throughout its investigation."
"We deeply value the experience of all our members, including our Australian members, and we take our compliance obligations seriously.
"We intend to fully respond to the ACCC's allegations in court.
"Given that this matter is currently before the court, we cannot comment further at this time."