ATLANTA (Legal Newsline) – A Florida man's second lawsuit over the additional charges he incurred to have more “likes” for use on the dating app Tinder was recently reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Billy Warner filed the suit on Oct. 9 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, claiming Tinder violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trades Practices Act,
Electronic Funds Transfer Act, and the California Business and Professions
Code. The violations allegedly came when Warner was charged additional fees to
gain more “likes” to use with the app.
The Florida court dismissed the lawsuit as a sanction because Warner had previously filed essentially the same lawsuit in California federal court in 2015.
That court dismissed, without prejudice, the case, allowing him to amend. Instead of amending his complaint, he voluntarily dismissed it and basically refiled it in the Florida court, which ruled he had engaged in judge-shopping.
Tinder allows users to swipe right and “like”
profiles of persons they are interested in. When both users “like” and swipe
right, a match is made and communication between the two users can ensue
Tinder changed its use policy and began charging its users additional
fees to garner more “likes," but the company claims it notified
its users of the change.
Warner claims he was never notified of the policy
change by Tinder until he ran out of “likes” and decided to purchase more at the
nominal fee of $2.99, which he believed would give him an unlimited amount of likes.
Warner was again allegedly prompted
for more money from the app for more “likes," which he paid in the amount of
$19.99. He also claimed that his bank account continued to be charged the $2.99
fee despite paying the $19.99 for the new service. He had assumed he ended his $2.99
He claims the two services he is paying for with
Tinder are identical and filed a class action suit on behalf of all others affected
by the dating app. While his initial suit was dismissed by the district court,
he filed an appeal Jan. 17 in the 11th Circuit, which reversed the dismissal.
“The 11th Circuit found that the record developed in
the trial court did not appear to support the imposition of a sanction as harsh
as dismissal with prejudice, so it remanded for reconsideration of whether a
lesser, if any, sanction against was indeed warranted against Warner,” Jeremy
Gilman, a partner with Benesch, told Legal Newsline.
Warner is determined to have the case certified as a
class-action suit, where anyone that downloaded the app prior to March 2, 2015,
which Tinder says it began notifying its users of the use changes.
“The two subclasses he also seeks to have certified
are nationwide classes, including one consisting of 'all persons in the United
States whose bank accounts were debited on a reoccurring basis by defendants
without defendants obtaining a written authorization signed or similarly
authenticated for preauthorized electronic fund transfers within the one year
prior to the filing of the complaint,' and another consisting of 'all persons
in the United States that purchased a subscription from defendant via the
defendant’s app, and who were charged a rate that exceeded the rate available
for a comparable purchase by an individual who was offered a discount based on
their reported age,'” said Gilman.