Online dating services

The CMA is investigating suspected breaches of consumer protection law by a company in the online dating sector.

Case Closed

13 June 2018: In undertakings given to the CMA, Venntro Media Group Limited (‘Venntro’) committed to make changes to the way it presents dating services to customers.

Venntro agreed that it will be clearer with customers about how it shares their personal information. Venntro will also ensure that claims about the service provided and numbers of members made on its websites are not misleading. The undertakings also cover a variety of other commitments including:

  • removing from its terms and conditions a clause that gave Venntro the right to unilateral variation of its terms and conditions
  • clearer processes for cross-registration between websites and deletion of dating profiles
  • clear prior warnings before the auto-renewal of certain long subscriptions
  • a right to cancellation and a pro-rata refund for certain members as a result of changes to be brought about by the undertakings

The CMA carried out a review of online dating services terms and conditions as part of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network Annual Websweep. ICPEN is a network of more than 60 consumer protection agencies worldwide, who co-operate to help protect consumers worldwide. This year, the websweep focused on terms and conditions for digital goods and services. As a result, the CMA has also sent warning letters to 14 other leading dating websites and app providers.

Case launch

31 October 2017: The CMA has opened an investigation into suspected breaches of consumer protection law by an online dating operator. The CMA is concerned about potential unfair contract terms and unfair commercial practices including:

  • how online dating services are advertised and described to consumers
  • privacy and use of consumers’ data
  • subscription, cancellation and variation contract terms

The investigation is being carried out under the Enterprise Act 2002 in respect of potential breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013, and the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The CMA has not reached a final view on whether the practices it is concerned about breach consumer protection law, and will listen to the company’s response to its concerns. If necessary, the CMA will take action through the courts to enforce that law under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002. Ultimately, only a court can rule that a particular term or practice infringes the law.

Published 31 October 2017
Last updated 13 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Case closed: summary of undertakings published, link to press release ('online giant vows clearer path to love') published and links to advice for consumers and advice for businesses published.
  2. First published.