Tinder’s Diabolical RETROACTIVE Arbitration Clause

by Jeff Sovern

One of my students told me about Tinder's new retroactive arbitration clause which, of course, includes a class action waiver. As with many such contracts, consumers accept it by using the service, regardless of whether they have read it or not–and we know few consumers actually read such things.  The arbitration clause, in paragraph 16, provides that it applies to past claims against Tinder, including those which are the subject of pending class actions. The clause refers by name and docket number to four class actions already brought against Tinder, charging various forms of discrimination, and states that Tinder users who accept the contract will lose the ability to participate in those class actions.   It does give existing Tinder users the right to opt out of the arbitration clause, but only if they email Tinder within thirty days, something that we know few consumers have bothered to do in the past, to the extent that consumer opt-out rates have become public (new users apparently don't have a right to opt out). No doubt Tinder concluded that there was no downside in the specificity because consumers won't read or understand the terms anyway.  I wonder how the judges before whom the class actions are pending will react to this. If you will forgive the expression, Tinder is screwing its customers.

0 thoughts on “Tinder’s Diabolical RETROACTIVE Arbitration Clause

  1. Skip Bogard says:

    It’s even more diabolical than it first appears. I sent Tinder the required email to NOT waive my right to litigate vs arbitrate.
    However, every single time you use Tinder, you get hammered with the selection box to use Tinder with the new terms.
    Today Tinder mixed up the text and the selection boxes a bit. And out of habit I thought I was checking the box I normally would use to opt out of their policy changes. But, in the last millisecond I realized I chose the box where I accept arbitration. So, I think I nullified my opt-out email I sent days before.
    I am so angry with Tinder I will never buy Tinder Gold again.
    So, even if you send Tinder an opt-out of arbitration email, be prepared to experience relentless Tinder tricks that try to trip you up and get you to waive your rights every chance Tinder gets, which happens to be every time you log on.
    The only bright side is, I don’t get hammered with the pop up 15 times per day.
    Skip Bogard

  2. Jeff Sovern says:

    In answer to the question of what type of discrimination is alleged, I believe the plaintiffs accuse Tinder of charging different prices to different groups, such as charging higher prices to older customers, in violation of state laws.

  3. Dan says:

    I am no attorney so I see things as they pertain to me and only me.
    What type of discrimination is alleged? This is a dating website, and each person controls there own destiny!! You create a profile and then start swiping left or right based on your own personal feelings and wants. Pretty simple. You either do or dont like a person no different then any other site or reality dating situation.
    Unless they being told “you can’t be on them s site specifically” in which case, is there other pending variables as well? Otherwise those participating in this might be “butt hurt” millenials with a victimized mindset. Grow a pair, be a man or a woman and move to the next profile. 7 billion people in the world and 1000s of websites as well as real life situations, dont get stuck on the dot !!!!
    Good Day

  4. Deepak Gupta says:

    This is a bold move–and an even bolder move if these class actions have already been certified. Courts have largely rejected the notion that “a party with the unilateral right to modify a contract” has “carte blanche to make any kind of change whatsoever as long as a specified procedure is followed.” Badie v. Bank of Am., 79 Cal. Rptr. 2d 273, 281 (Cal. App. 1998); see Long v. Fidelity Water Sys., Inc., 2000 WL 989914, at *3 (N.D. Cal. 2000) (refusing to apply purported contract modification that postdated the litigation in part because the consumer was “a putative class member at the time of defendants’ communication with him,” which “weakens any argument that he knowingly and voluntarily” agreed to the provision). The attempted unilateral modification of a consumer contract in the context of a pending class action may also run afoul of Rule 23. See In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litig., 224 F.R.D. 555, 569-70 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (attempted contract modification constituted prohibited communication to parties without court supervision).

  5. Jeff Sovern says:

    I have issues with class action notices too. But as few consumers pay attention to those, I suspect even fewer (my student is probably one of very few) pay attention to notices of changes in terms of service.

  6. Ted F says:

    You mean individualized notice of opt-out rights aren’t sufficient to protect consumers? Doesn’t that damn all Rule 23 class actions? And if so, then Tinder customers aren’t any more screwed than consumers with class-action rights in general–most of whom don’t get individualized notice when class action attorneys seek to waive their rights.

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