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Your dating app might be discriminating against you. And no, we're not talking about the people who swiped left on you. A recent ruling from the California Court of Appeal concludes that the dating app Tinder unlawfully discriminated against users on the basis of age, swiping right on a class action lawsuit against the company.
Tinder is a free app that utilizes geolocation and a user's preferences to offer up potential matches. Originally known as a "dating app", it's increasingly become an actual dating app. As potential matches are offered up on their phone, users swipe right to "like" someone and swipe left to pass.
Tinder itself is free, but like with many free apps users can shell out for "added features." And that's where Tinder went wrong, at least under California civil rights law. The company charged users under thirty as little as $9.99 a month for "Tinder Plus," a premium version. But users thirty and over were charged $19.99 for the same thing. Uh oh!
Allen Candelore filed a class action against Tinder alleging arbitrary age discrimination in violation of California's Unruh Civil Rights Act and Unfair Competition Law.
The trial court dismissed his case, but the state appeals court reversed, concluding that Tinder's discriminatory pricing model violated state law "to the extent it employs an arbitrary, class-based, generalization." Which is lawyer-speak for saying it didn't have a good enough reason for doing it.
Tinder argued that its price structure wasn't arbitrary, that its market research found younger users didn't have as much income as older users and were less willing to purchase Tinder Plus at a higher price. That's probably true, but missed the point. The court noted that there was no strong public policy reason for the company's price discrimination on the basis of age. And that's what 'arbitrary' means under the law.
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