Designed to be Deleted, or Designed to be Repeated? Class Action Lawsuit against “Addictive” Dating App Company

Written By: Kaleigh Dyer

Introduction to the Suit

Match Group Inc., the company responsible for brands including Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, and more, was on the opposing end of a class action suit initiated against them on February 14th, 2024. The complaint alleged that the defendant’s apps, which are put out to the public as dating methods, are designed to actually addict users. This addictive cycle generates profit for the company, instead of initiating and building relationships like they advertise.

The plaintiffs in this case allege that the dating apps under the control of the defendant take on a “predatory” means of operation. The way the apps are designed, as plaintiffs state, are to incentivize “compulsive use” of the application. The opportunities for advancement ultimately drive the users to gamble – they put out monetary contributions to subscribe or earn more benefits on the app. The users are psychologically rewarded the more they contribute to the company. Match Group Inc. has a slogan that they tag to their applications – that they are “designed to be deleted”, but the plaintiffs feel as though the outcome of the programs are quite the opposite. The cycle ends up being repeated; not deleted.

Match responded to the complaint, suggesting it has absolutely no merit. They state that they have a true desire to connect individuals and get them on dates, and that is the main purpose of the entire industry. They coined the class action suit “ridiculous” and want the claim to be dismissed.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence as well as false advertising, and suggests that they have violated state consumer protection laws. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for the users who engaged in the addictive applications in the last four years. They want the slogan to be removed from the application to prevent further false advertising, and they desire new warnings about the addictive nature of the programs new users will be engaging with.

The Legal Elements of the Claims

The plaintiffs in this case are filing suit under the premise that the defendant, Match Group Inc., has violated several consumer protection laws.
Consumer protection laws holistically protect purchasers of goods and services against misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent sales and business practices. In this case specifically, the complaint suggests the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) was violated by the defendant. The CLRA standard states that unfair deceptive practices which result in the purchase or sale of the product to the consumer are unlawful. The subscriptions and app advancements are the “unlawful product” in the above factual scenario.

The claim of consumer protection violation and negligence must show that the defendants breached their duty of care, and such breach caused plaintiffs harm.

The defendant violated several sections of the CLRA, as plaintiffs allege, by selling the subscriptions and advancements through deception and fraud by: alluding to characteristics or benefits the app does not actually have, alluding to a particular standard when they do not meet such standard, and intentionally not selling the products as advertised. As part of this claim, plaintiffs suggest the defendant was malicious when deciding to market the apps this way, and they had knowledge of such representations. Additionally, to help state a claim, plaintiffs provide that they could not have avoided such injury; for they would not have engaged in the application download if they had known the truth about the deceptive nature of the product defendant created. The complaint alleges causation between the defendant’s actions in creating these apps and the harm plaintiffs suffered, by suggesting the challenged violations were substantial factors that are vital to consider when deciding to purchase the platform.

The plaintiffs have an additional allegation for false advertising, claiming the defendant made misleading or fraudulent statements when advertising the application to the consumers. Specifically, the plaintiffs target their slogan “designed to be deleted.” The slogan is alleged to contradict the outcome that users face, due to the additional spending and the time spent scrolling on the apps. The complaint suggests they have lost money or property as a result of purchasing the app; and the defendant’s actions are the reason for this injury in fact.

The complaint suggests injunctive relief as the damages. Injunctive relief puts an end to the current behavior under criticism, and changes the “deceptive tactics” plaintiffs believe are currently in place. The plaintiffs also seek compensation for losses in the amount of the money paid for the subscriptions plus additional interest and trial costs.

The lawsuit is assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Presently, the suit is in its beginning stages with the complaint filed, which was answered with a motion to dismiss. If defendant Match Group Inc. is found to have violated the consumer protection laws and is guilty of false advertisement, the plaintiffs could be granted several remedies. They are eligible to receive monetary damages, and the dating applications could undergo changes to append a warning for potential addiction. Additionally, their famous slogan might be altered or deleted altogether. However, if the case proceeds to trial and the Court finds Match Group Inc. has properly marketed their dating apps and exercised reasonable care in doing so, the plaintiff’s claim for a CLRA violation and false advertising will fall short, and the claim will be dismissed.


CBS News, Class-Action Lawsuit Claims Tinder, Hinge Dating Apps Designed to Addict Users (Feb. 15, 2024).

Consumer Protection Laws, Wᴇx Lᴀᴡ Dɪᴄᴛɪᴏɴᴀʀʏ (2021).

Jonathan Stempel, Tinder, Other Match Dating Apps Encourage Compulsive Use, Lawsuit Claims, Reuters (Feb. 14, 2024).

Megan Cerullo, Tinder and Hinge Dating Apps are Designed to Addict Users, Lawsuit Claims, CBSNews (Feb. 15, 2024).

Oksayan v. Match Group Inc., 3:24-cv-00888 (U.S. 2024).