PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Millions of people have put their hearts into online profiles hoping to find love, but there are many whose search has only ended in heartbreak – and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down.
In the agency’s first law enforcement action against an online dating service, the FTC has reached a settlement with a company that they claim used computer-generated profiles to trick users into pricey upgrades.
According to the FTC complaint, England-based JDI dating “used fake profiles to make people think they were hearing from real live love interests and to trick them into upgrading to paid memberships.”
Adding insult to injury, the FTC said users were charged automatically to renew their subscriptions, often without their consent.
JDI Dating operates a worldwide dating service, including sites such as cupidswand.com, flirtcrowd.com, and findmelove.com. Call 12 for Action reached out to JDI Dating for comment, but have yet to hear back from the company.
As part of the settlement, the online dating service is prohibited from misrepresenting refund and cancellation policies, and has been ordered to pay $616,000 in damages.
According to the FTC, the fake profiles and messages caused many people to upgrade to paid subscriptions to the tune of $30 per month.