A California Court of Appeal has asked Tinder to stop discriminating based on age. The popular dating site has so far been charging different prices based on the age groups for its premium tier – Tinder Plus.
What’s the case about?
In its ruling, the California Court of Appeal said that Tinder Plus, which costs $9.99 for under 30s and for $19.99 for others, is discriminatory. This is not the first time the dating site has been sued for its discriminatory pricing. After the company announced the differential pricing, many users voiced their concerns to boycott the app. A class-action lawsuit was also filed against the company in 2015. In the same year, Wired even ran a story commenting, “It’s total ageist bullshit.”
Tinder, however, justifies its differential pricing by saying that older Tinder Plus users are usually more financially sound than younger users. Tinder’s co-founder Sean Rad justified the Tinder Plus pricing at the TechCrunch Disrupt in 2015, the same year Tinder Plus was announced.
At the time, Rad said that the company’s “intent is to provide a discount for our younger users…. It’s not about necessarily optimizing for the dollars we bring in. It’s about optimizing for the number of people we can bring in.”
However, a man named Allan Candelore filed a lawsuit against Tinder. Candelore alleges that Tinder Plus violates California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act by discriminating based on age.
Previously, a lower court ratified Tinder’s differential pricing reasoning that it helps make the service more affordable to the younger users. However, the California appeals court has now found the pricing to be discriminatory.
Tinder Plus pricing – what the court says
Explaining the ruling, the court said that irrespective of the market research by Tinder to gather information on the income of the younger users, not everyone in one age group can be counted as the same. The court said there may be younger users who earn more than those in their 30s. And, this makes Tinder Plus pricing unfair.
“As alleged, Tinder’s pricing model discriminates against users age 30 and over, and the complaint’s allegations do not compel the finding that this discrimination is justified by a strong public policy in favor of such differential treatment,” the court said.
The Appeals Court even made a joke by concluding their statement with: “Accordingly, we swipe left, and reverse.”
For those, who are unfamiliar with how the dating app works, Tinder uses swipes for matching. A user needs to swipe right if they like someone, or swipe left if they don’t.
Candelore’s attorney Alfred Rava told SFGate that the ruling was “a significant equal-rights victory for California consumers.” Rava has separately filed more than 150 lawsuits for men claiming gender discrimination. Rava’s lawsuits include suing San Diego clubs over “ladies’ night” deals and over Mother’s Day promotions at baseball games, notes a report from Kansas.
As of now there have been no comments from Tinder over the ruling. Also it is not known if the dating app is planning to appeal against the ruling.