For some of us the course of true love was not the only thing not to run smooth! As each year our centres across Europe are contacted by large numbers of consumers who have signed up for online dating services, only to receive big bills, or who are finding the cancellation process difficult.
In some cases, dating websites seem to be free of charge, until your profile is “liked” or until you want to read or send a message through the site. Consumers also mention that they thought they only had to pay registration costs, but in the end had signed up for a subscription. Finding true love is hard enough, so we have pulled together the most important tips on navigating dating services.
Let’s start at the beginning: what should I be told before I sign up?
As is the case for any service, the business must provide you with clear information about the service they are providing and the conditions under which they are providing the service. It is just as important that you read these details before you sign up.
Information about the service should not be hidden in the small print, it should not be in a pre-ticked box and it should be presented before you sign up. The information should tell you:
- This involves a subscription
- You have a 14-day cooling-off period
- How much the subscription costs
- How long you have to pay for the subscription
- The date by which you need to cancel the subscription
If you are not provided with this information (the business has to prove that they did provide it to you) then the subscription is invalid and you do not have to pay anything.
Can I change my mind and cancel?
Under consumer law, you have a 14-day cooling-off period when you take out a subscription. This means you can cancel the subscription within 14 days. It is not necessary to tell the dating site why you do not want the subscription.
If you had access to the dating site immediately after taking out the subscription then you may have to pay for this period, even if you cancel the subscription within the 14-day cooling-off period. The dating site must inform you of these costs and request your permission to charge your card for this amount.
My trial subscription automatically extended; can they do this?
Check the terms and conditions from when you signed up. The dating site may only convert the trial subscription into a paid subscription if you have given prior permission. If you weren’t told that this would happen, and the dating site hasn’t asked you whether you want to extend the service, then they cannot do so.
It is up to the dating website to prove that you agreed to the extension. You should not have to opt out of giving consent on the registration form by unticking a box.
Send a letter or email to the dating site to let them know you did not agree to the extension. Remember to tell them you are cancelling your subscription. You can use our template letter cancelling a subscription for this.
Tips for successful online dating
Before you sign up on a dating website, you should always check the following:
- The terms and conditions from the business
- The length of the subscription
- If the subscription is automatically renewed
- How you can delete your profile or cancel the subscription
- Take screenshots of the details you enter on the website
- Save the contract terms
- Pay with your credit card and check your bank account regularly
Pay attention: some dating websites host a lot of fake profiles. Scammers are active on these websites as well!