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Monday, November 18, 2019

Tinder 'likes' class action reinstated by 11th Circuit

By Dawn Geske | Feb 8, 2017

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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 through Tinder. 

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 service.

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.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida