Online dating – how to break contracts with a dating site and regain money – Consumers

Dating sites tempt with promises of finding love. Especially during Valentine’s Day, they try to attract new customers. What does it pay attention to when concluding a contract with such a portal? On what terms can you withdraw from the contract?

In 2020, the European Consumer Center operating at UOKiK received as many as 168 inquiries about consumer problems with a dating website based outside Poland. Most often, consumers reported difficulties with withdrawing from the contract within 14 days and automatic extension of membership.

Post-cancellation fees must be adequate

The ECC reminds that by concluding a contract with a dating site via the Internet, the consumer may withdraw from it within 14 days. This right also applies to the purchase of services. Unless the consumer has started using the service before the expiry of this period. Then, in the event of cancellation, the entrepreneur may deduct a fee for the time we have used the service.

What if this fee is not proportional to the price? This question was recently answered by the EU Court of Justice (case C 641/19).

The CJEU examines the case of a German consumer who buys an annual premium membership on an Austrian dating site. He will pay 523.95 euros for them. After four days, the consumer decides to unsubscribe and asks the portal for a refund of the money paid. The fee will then be reduced to € 392.96 for four days of using the dating platform.

The consumer will not agree with such a settlement and file a suit with the court, refunding the full amount. A German judge referred the case to the CJEU.

The Court in Luxembourg explains that when the consumer uses the service during the cooling-off period, the supplier may charge a fee. The fee for the services provided must, however, be reasonable and proportionate to the paid membership. When calculating the fees, the duration of the contract and the number of days the consumer uses the service should be taken into account. The court found that the costs charged by the dating site were out of proportion to the cost the consumer would pay for an annual membership.

What it does when you don’t want dating anymore

Dating sites often use automatic contract renewals (usually for the same or longer period). Usually, you inform your customers about this procedure in several places: in the regulations, when providing payment card details and in order confirmation.

If we do not want the contract to be automatically extended, a written notice must be sent. The European Consumer Center has prepared its growth in Polish and English. The website regulations contain information about the advance notice to terminate, but most often it is 14 days before the end of the current contract.

In the event of no resignation, a membership fee will be charged on the user’s payment card for the following months. If we paid for the first membership by bank transfer or we do not have funds on the card, the portal will send an e-mail notification of the obligation to settle the payment. Lack of payment results in the transfer of the debt to the debt collection company. In this case, the amounts to be paid are much higher, they can be up to PLN 600.

The ECC emphasizes that before concluding a contract with a dating website, you should read the regulations.

– Find out for what period the next contract will be extended and what the cost will be. If you do not want the contract to be automatically renewed, set a reminder to cancel it at the portal’s allotted time, advises the ECK.

You should also be aware that deleting a profile does not mean resignation from the automatic renewal of the contract.

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