February 27, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

SM Attorney’s Office Leads Case Against Dating Sites

Christian Mingle, Jdate forced to pay over $1,000,000 in penalties to customers.

By Staff Writer

The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office recently acted as lead counsel for the People of the State of California in a case against Los Angeles-based company Spark Networks USA, LLC, the parent company of niche dating sites Jdate and Christian Mingle.

“The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting consumers from unfair and unlawful business practices,” said City Attorney Lane Dilg. “This joint effort is an important victory to ensure that consumers will not be subject to recurring charges without their clear consent.”

The case ended in a settlement, with the company agreeing to change its website and sales practices to better protect California consumers, in addition to paying  $500,000 in penalties and up to $985,000 in restitution to customers whose subscriptions automatically renewed or who were denied refunds when requested. The terms are part of a final court judgment negotiated with a task force of local prosecutors that also included the district attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

The task force learned that Spark’s dating sites were automatically renewing customer payments, without their express prior consent as required by federal and state law, among other alleged violations of law. Online “subscriptions” and other automatically recurring charges have proliferated in the U.S. in recent years. Some renewals come after “free trials,” where consumers need to cancel in time to avoid the charges. 

The judgment requires Jdate, Christian Mingle and all of Spark’s other dating sites to have full transparency with consumers about automatically-renewing memberships. The company now must do the following. Clearly and conspicuously disclose the renewal terms. Get consumers’ consent, through a separate check-box (or similar mechanism) that does not include other terms and conditions. Send a clear summary of the renewal terms after consumers pay and allow consumers to cancel easily.

“Automatic renewal is one of the critical areas in consumer protection today,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky, head of Santa Monica’s Consumer Protection Division. “Consumers always have the right to know where their money is going.”

Spark Networks cooperated with the task force to reach the resolution.

The judgment was filed in Santa Monica Superior Court on October 15.

in News
Related Posts

Iconic Venice Beach Sculpture and Landmark to be Removed, Returned to Artist’s Property

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Since the Money, Effort or Desire to Purchase the Piece Appears to Not Be There, the Artist Wants It Back...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...

Real Estate Giant Funds LAPD Union Fund to Sway L.A. City Council Election in March

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

Santa Monica Company Responsible for LA’s Largest Mass Eviction Gives $400,000 Santa Monica-based Real estate investment trust company Douglas Emmett...

Santa Monica College Unveils 2024 Spring Jazz Series Lineup

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

Tickets for each concert are priced at $10 and can be purchased in advance The Santa Monica College Music Department...

Downtown Wellness Center Bridges Gap Between Psychedelics and Meditation

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

The Center Has Partnered With Local Agencies and Gave Free Sessions to Around 500 Veterans in Two Years By Zach...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Calls Special Board of Education Meeting

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

SMMUSD Gathers to Address Time-Sensitive Resolutions In a press release sent on Saturday, February 24, The Santa Monica-Malibu School District...

 39th Independent Spirit Awards Celebrates Independent Cinema in Santa Monica

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

Santa Monica Pier Hosts Annual Awards Ceremony Amid Pro-Palestinian Protest The 39th Independent Spirit Awards ceremony, another precursor to the...

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Consider Landlords’ Challenge to Rent-Control Laws

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

New York Landlords’ Bid to Challenge Rent-Control Laws Fails The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a significant property rights...

Ocean Park Triplex Hits Market Again After 36 Years at $1.6M

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

The property presents an enticing opportunity for owner-users or developers For the first time in over 36 years, this triplex,...

Cher Drops Price of Her Seven-Bedroom Malibu Mansion by $10M

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

The legendary singer bought the parcel for $2.95 million over 30 years ago By Zach Armstrong Music icon Cher has...

(Video) Baltaire’s DJ Brunch is Ready to Make Your Weekend Fabulous

February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024

Baltaire is America’s Favorite Neighborhood Steakhouse. A Contemporary Restaurant in Brentwood With Classic Genes, Baltaire Is Where to Enjoy Brunch...

During Lean Times for the City, Certain Staff Members Slated to Get Hefty Raises

February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024

Proposed Equity Adjustments Raise Questions Amid Budgetary Concerns The next Santa Monica City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday,...

Blue Bus Seeks Input on How to Improve Service

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Through Brighter Blue, Big Blue Bus Aims to Develop a Strategic Plan for Implementing System Enhancements Over Five Years Santa...