eHarmony, one of the largest and oldest dating websites in the United States, has agreed to pay $1.2 million in penalties and up to $1 million in restitution to customers whose subscriptions automatically renewed and who were denied refunds when requested, according to the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.
The terms are part of a final court judgment negotiated with a task force of local prosecutors that included the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office and the district attorneys of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Napa, and Shasta counties. The judgment was filed Monday in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.
An eHarmony representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
The task force determined that eHarmony was charging its customers for renewals of memberships, without their express prior consent as required by law, according to the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office. The action also alleged that eHarmony engaged in false advertising and violated California dating-service laws, by failing to provide copies of contracts to consumers and to disclose their right to cancel.
“Automatic renewal is one of the critical areas in consumer protection today,” said Santa Monica Chief Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky. “Consumers always have the right to know where their money is going.”
The judgment requires eHarmony to have full transparency with consumers about automatically renewing memberships, according to the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.
–City News Service