Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley announced today a settlement in a consumer protection action against eHarmony. The action was filed in Santa Cruz County and jointly prosecuted by the Napa, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Shasta County District Attorneys and the City Attorney of Santa Monica.
The complaint alleges that eHarmony enrolled its customers in contracts that would automatically renew for a new term without clearly and conspicuously disclosing to the customers the fact that the contracts would automatically renew, the amount of the ongoing payments, or how to cancel the contracts.
The Judgment includes injunctive provisions requiring eHarmony to make proper disclosures regarding automatically renewing charges and cancellation rights. In addition, eHarmony will pay up to $1 million in restitution to its customers whose subscriptions automatically renewed and who were denied refunds when requested. It will also pay $1.2 million in civil penalties.
Joining the FTC with its vigorous ongoing enforcement of ROSCA, California is apparently also stepping up to enforce its own law requiring companies to fully and conspicuously disclose the terms of their auto-renewing agreements and obtain consumers' affirmative consent.
Whoever said “love doesn’t cost a thing” must not have had an account on eHarmony. The online dating service has agreed to pay $1.2 million in civil penalties and up to $1 million in restitution to members who were unfairly charged, according to the Napa County District Attorney’s Office.