A man who paid premiums to access A-list dating prospects, only to find out most were dead ends, is suing the company behind OkCupid in a $5 million class action complaint, accusing the company of setting him and other users up to get stiffed.
Chad Perkins, of west suburban North Aurora, filed his complaint April 20 in federal court in Chicago. He said Match Group, Inc., charges its premiums, between $10 and $20 per month, to connect with “A-List” OkCupid customers who “liked” a user’s profile. After coughing up the cash, though, the users “routinely learn that most if not all of the users who like them have inactive accounts or “dead” accounts and, thus, are not viable dating options.”
Perkins said dishonesty about whether the potential fish in the sea are actively swimming violates the Illinois Dating Referral Services Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, and also constitutes breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
Match Group, based in Dallas, operates more than 45 brands, including Match,
Tinder, PlentyOfFish, Meetic, OkCupid, Pairs, Twoo, OurTime, BlackPeopleMeet and LoveScout24. Perkins is an OkCupid user, and the class would include others who used that service’s premium options.
Perkins said he created his free OkCupid profile on Dec. 11 and immediately received message through the service’s smartphone app, which stated numerous other users — up to 25 — liked his profile and offered to reveal their identities to him for a fee. His complaint included screenshots advertising the number of likes and enticing him to purchase access, including $19.99 for one month, $14.99 per month for three months and $9.99 per month for six months.
On Feb. 2, Perkins purchased A-List access for $44.99. He soon learned most of the names were linked to inactive accounts — “making interaction or dating impossible” — and on Feb. 18 complained via email. Match Group responded and said the bad profiles were the result of a software bug:
“It does look like the reported Likes number was a bug on our end, that included Likes from accounts that have subsequently been removed from OkCupid,” the email stated. “Our developers are aware of the issue, and are working on a fix so this doesn’t happen going forward. It’s definitely not something we did on purpose, and I’m sorry to hear that this bug affected you at all.”
Perkins said the response “was not so much an explanation as an effort to conceal the fraud.” He argued if the company knew of the purported software “bug,” it should not have allowed customers to pay for extra services — or that customers should at least have been made aware of the bug before choosing to pay extra.
Further, Perkins said Match Group did not inform him or other customers of their DRSA rights to cancel their contract within seven days for a full refund. Also, the premium access is sold as an indefinite contract — it automatically renews unless the customer cancels — which violates the act’s initial two-year limit on such contracts.
Perkins said he and class members are entitled under the act to an award of three times actual damages. He is seeking a jury trial.
Representing Perkins in the matter, and seeking to serve as putative plaintiffs class attorneys, is the Chicago firm of Sweetnam LLC.