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Nancy Burgoyne of the Family Institute at Northwestern University.Burgoyne, a licensed psychologist, said she believes people are using these types of sites to solve their problems, economic or psychological."You're in these relationships where there is a huge power differential," Burgoyne said.“JDI Dating used fake profiles to make people think they were hearing from real love interests and to trick them into upgrading to paid memberships,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.“Adding insult to injury, users were charged automatically to renew their subscriptions – often without their consent.” According to a complaint filed by the FTC, JDI Dating and William Mark Thomas operate a worldwide dating service via 18 websites, including cupidswand.com, and The Commission’s complaint charges JDI Dating and Thomas with violating the FTC Act by misrepresenting the source of the communications from fake profiles and by failing to disclose the automatic renewal terms.The complaint also charges the defendants with violating the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) by failing to: disclose clearly the terms of the negative-option plan, obtain express informed consent before charging consumers, and provide a simple way to stop recurring charges.The order also bars the defendants from using consumers’ billing information to obtain payment without their informed consent.

The order also prohibits JDI Dating and Thomas from violating the ROSCA and selling or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information, and requires them to pay 6,165 in redress.Information about the automatic renewal feature was buried in multiple pages of densely worded text that consumers could see only by clicking a “Terms and Conditions” hyperlink.Consumers were not required to access this hyperlink as part of the enrollment process.In its first law enforcement action against an online dating service, the Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement that prohibits JDI Dating Ltd., an England-based company, from using fake, computer-generated profiles to trick users into upgrading to paid memberships and charging these members a recurring monthly fee without their consent.The settlement also requires the defendants to pay 6,165 in redress.

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