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Cancelling a dating service contract

More generally, if you’re an online vendor hoping to usurp an industry that has extensive offline regulations, you would be well-served to bone up on that regulatory scheme and, if you’re not going to comply with it, develop a clear explanation of why you think it doesn’t apply to you. The FTC has a “Cooling-Off Rule,” and most states have contract cancellation regulations allowing a customer to cancel certain purchase contracts within three to five days of making a purchase.Perhaps the court was influenced by the subscription in question (i.e., rather than a year or months-long subscription, the service appeared to bill monthly). Eric’s Comment: The core issue in this case is whether an online service like Grindr qualifies as a “dating service” as defined in a statute written for a different era.This is a perennial cyberlaw issue, or more accurately, a classic “old law and new technology” question. Federal Trade Commission and state consumer protection agencies offer specific consumer protections for off-site business sales.Violating contract cancellation regulations can not only lead to monetary penalties but can damage a business’s reputation.Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and everyone realized than an online auction service like e Bay is unquestionably different than a statutorily regulated “auctionhouse.” It’s a good cautionary tale for the regulation of any online marketplace seeking to disrupt traditional offline intermediaries governed by different rules because the laws of physics applicable to the offline world are, in fact, different online. Men’s Journal Bad Idea: Overdisclosing People’s Positive STD Status–Doe v.I understand why the court was less charitable to Grindr here. Successfulmatch 9th Circuit Says Plaintiff Had Standing to Sue Spokeo for Fair Credit Reporting Violations Is Sacramento The World’s Capital of Internet Privacy Regulation?

As in the STL cases, perhaps the court got its radar up when it sensed a lawsuit that was driven by a technical violation of the statute, rather than real economic harm.California has a statute applicable to dating contracts that gives consumers the right to cancel within 3 days of signing up.Companies must advise clients of this and provide a cancellation mechanism and a full refund.While plaintiff alleged a violation of the statute, he did not tie that violation to his own injury. [statutory standing] requires an injury resulting from a violation.” In the STL cases, plaintiffs alleged a failure of companies to post relevant information to request a privacy policy, but did not necessarily try to request or information or allege that they would have had they known where to direct the query. Similarly, the court says that here plaintiff fails to allege how he cancelled the contract and whether he did so in accordance with the statute. The statute was enacted in 1989 and did not envision online communities, much less smartphone apps. Drafters of every era know that technological advances will proceed apace and that the rules they create will one day apply to all sorts of circumstances they could not possibly envision.’ Under this approach, the statute applies to online sites.Specifically, the court says that, although he cancelled and did not receive a refund, the complaint lacks details about the cancellation. Grindr argued that the statute was prompted by high-pressure in-person sales tactics and vendors’ potential to take undue advantage of consumers. Citing to a California Supreme Court looking at applicability of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act and applicability to download transactions (answer: no), the court says that it should employ a practical, flexible approach: [i]n construing statutes that predate their possible applicability to new technology, courts have not relied on wooden construction of their terms. Grindr also argued that there was an element of the consumer being able to take advantage of the site by using the services and then requesting a full refund, but the court says that the legislature already considered this issue.Grindr, an online dating app, allegedly failed to address this in its terms of service.A plaintiff signed up for Grindr Xtra (the monthly fee-based version of its site), cancelled and did not receive a full refund (for the remainder of the month).In addition, the customer is required to submit a contract cancellation request in writing, either by writing a cancellation letter or submitting a contract cancellation form supplied at the time of purchase.The business must comply with FTC requirements to avoid potential legal issues.The legal regulation isn’t as niche-crushing as the auctionhouse laws would have been to e Bay, and perhaps online daters’ fears and susceptibilities are not that different online and off. (Forbes Cross-Post) Online Dating App Grindr Isn’t Liable For Underage ‘Threesome’ (Forbes Cross-Post) Online Dating Websites Aren’t Required To Warn That Some Members May Be Murderers (Forbes Cross-Post) Lovelorn Plaintiffs Strike Out Against – Robinson v.Still, the emergence of online dating sites might be a good prompt for the legislature to reconsider the law and ensure its regulatory scope tracks the modern concerns. It’s Illegal For Offline Retailers To Collect Email Addresses–Capp v.


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