False Advertising Suit Says Bumble Deceives Users with Exaggerated Premium Feature Claims

A lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California over the weekend and modified on Monday asserts that Bumble, the popular online dating app company, inflates the success dating hopefuls are likely to have when they purchase either the company’s Spotlights” or “SuperSwipes” features.

The putative class actions explains that Bumble has a ‘freemium’ business model, whereby participants can use basic features for free but must pay for upgraded ones. The filing further explains how the app works: users create a profile with photographs and information about themselves which Bumble then presents to other users who can ‘swipe’ left or right to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ the other user. When two users both ‘like’ one another, they ‘match.’ 

Thereafter, and unique to Bumble and in heterosexual matches, only the woman may initiate a conversation. According to the filing, Bumble advertises that users will receive up to 10 times more matches if they purchase Spotlights, a feature which shows a user to a potential match ahead of other candidates, and up to 10 times more conversations if they purchase Superswipes, a feature which eliminates the element of surprise for a female user by letting her know that a male user has already liked her.

The filing claims that this is a gross exaggeration that has been undercut by Bumble’s own advertising which says that users may receive up to two times the amount of matches or conversations when they purchase the features. Even this representation is a stretch because “[i]ronically, under some circumstances, SuperSwipes may actually harm a man’s chances at matching with a woman,” the filing claims. In support of this contention, the complaint reprints purported feedback from female Bumble users suggesting that Superswipes lessen their interest in a potential male match.

The plaintiff, a Daly City, California man “received no discernible benefit whatsoever” after purchasing both premium features and now seeks to represent a class of similarly situated individuals. The complaint states five claims for relief under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, and Unfair Competition Law. It seeks injunctive relief halting the allegedly deceptive practices and actual and punitive damages, or in the alternative, equitable monetary relief.

The plaintiff and putative class are represented by Edge, A Professional Law Corporation.

Edge’s Daniel Rozenblatt commented on the matter. “It’s unfortunate that in the midst of a pandemic, Bumble is taking advantage of people’s desire to make meaningful connections with others and selling them worthless features based on the false promise they will receive ten times more matches,” he said in a statement.

Bumble has not yet responded to our request for comment.