Bumble User Resists Dismissal in Freemium Feature False Advertising Suit

The plaintiff driving the suit against dating app operator Bumble has pressed the Northern District of California court overseeing the case not to grant Bumble’s motion to dismiss. Tuesday’s opposition argues that the complaint alleges actionable misrepresentations and that it meets the Federal Rules’ heightened pleading requirements for fraud.

The suit commenced in January when a California man and Bumble user alleged that it employed false advertising in connection with two “freemium” features. The plaintiff argued that Bumble exaggerated the degree to which users could enjoy dating success by advertising that the features would provide “Up to 10x more matches” and “Up to 10x more conversations.”

Bumble called for the case’s dismissal last month, contending that it qualified statements about user success in connection with the “Spotlights” and “Superswipes” features, and as such, no reasonable user could have been deceived. Further, the Austin, Tex.-based company said that the complaint falls short of meeting Rule 9(b)’s fraud-based claim pleading requirements.

The user now argues that Bumble cannot genuinely defend its “up to” qualifier in the context of the contested advertisements. The opposition cites Ninth Circuit case law finding advertisements bearing such qualifiers misleading nonetheless.

The filing also accuses Bumble of misreading the plaintiffs’ interpretation argument in an attempt to twist its meaning. “Plaintiff never alleged he thought an outcome of 10x was ‘guaranteed.’ Plaintiff did expect, however, the 10x figure would be based on actual data, and he did not expect to later learn that Bumble previously claimed only a 1x increase—a claim which itself is dubious,” the opposition clarifies.

As to the heightened pleading requirement, the plaintiff asserts he sufficiently explains “the who, what, where, and how of the misconduct charged.” The opposition points to allegations explaining how dating hopefuls use the app, the advertisements in question, including screenshots thereof, and that he relied on and was ultimately deceived by Bumble’s assertions after receiving no discernible benefit.

The dismissal hearing is scheduled for June 30 before Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton.

The plaintiff and putative class are represented by Edge, A Professional Law Corporation and Capstone Law APC. Bumble is represented by Cooley LLP.