With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Resolver reveals today that problems with dating apps and websites were the fastest growing area of complaint across all business sectors in the UK.
Complaints leapt by 722% to 4,346 complaints in 2020, up from 529 the previous year. By far the most complained-about issue was the app or site’s premium services, with people either not realising they were paying for them, struggling to get refunds or experiencing difficulty cancelling the services.
The problem with premium services
Premium options vary considerably across dating apps and ‘unlock’ a range of services for a variety of prices, including allowing direct messages (or a greater number of messages), a wider range of search or filter options (height, age, interest, etc) or additional features, like allowing sharing of photos.
The biggest driver of complaints in the last year came from people checking their bank accounts and realising they were being hit with often considerable charges for these premium services. With lockdown preventing meeting up in the real world, many people have paused online dating, only to find they were still paying a very real price on their apps.
Dating app premiums are usually debited from bank accounts, credit cards or (potentially) phone bills through ‘continuous payment authorities’ which can be cancelled by your card or service provider straight away. However, many of Resolver’s users told us how hard it is to contact some dating apps, adding they couldn’t speak to a human or directly interact with customer services – or even find a way to get in touch and cancel. Many others are deeply concerned about being debited hundreds of pounds for services they neither wanted or requested.
Other issues include prices being debited in six-month chunks rather than by the month, difficulties in reporting fake profiles or unpleasant people on site and limitations on promised premium services in practice.
Dating apps, charges and getting in touch
Premium services on dating apps aren’t cheap and can add up significantly over the course of the year. This is not helped by the fact that many services are not transparent about their charges – often you only get a price when you sign up. This also makes it easier to commit without realising you’ll be charged.
Our users have reported charges ranging from £10 to £49.99 a month, with some more traditional ‘tailored match’ services catering for wealthy professionals charging much more. If you’re paying by the month you could end up paying £200 to £300 or more.
If you’re signed up to a dating app or thinking about doing so – take a look at all the terms you can on their sites, particularly those relating to cancelling services. It’s worth putting a reminder in your calendar if you’re, for example, signing up to a free trial to make sure you can cancel when you want, and if you’re worried that you’re paying more than you should be or were expecting, check your account statements going back at least a year to see if there were any price hikes.
Had a problem with your online dating service? Resolver can help. Use Resolver and its resources for free to submit a complaint.