by Jeff Sovern
One of my students told me about Tinder's new retroactive arbitration clause which, of course, includes a class action waiver. As with many such contracts, consumers accept it by using the service, regardless of whether they have read it or not--and we know few consumers actually read such things. The arbitration clause, in paragraph 16, provides that it applies to past claims against Tinder, including those which are the subject of pending class actions. The clause refers by name and docket number to four class actions already brought against Tinder, charging various forms of discrimination, and states that Tinder users who accept the contract will lose the ability to participate in those class actions. It does give existing Tinder users the right to opt out of the arbitration clause, but only if they email Tinder within thirty days, something that we know few consumers have bothered to do in the past, to the extent that consumer opt-out rates have become public (new users apparently don't have a right to opt out). No doubt Tinder concluded that there was no downside in the specificity because consumers won't read or understand the terms anyway. I wonder how the judges before whom the class actions are pending will react to this. If you will forgive the expression, Tinder is screwing its customers.