The isolation of quarantines and social distancing had this single person feeling like a bored again virgin. Late at night I would gravitate to the New Jersey of dating apps, also known as Tinder. One night, after making it to the end of Tinder (an oddly rewarding Sisyphean task, potential matches are populated again in a few hours or days providing a second chance to be less discerning), I found myself reading Tinder’s fine print. Like the Seinfeld episode where George got smarter when sex was off the table, I became a voracious reader… of fine print. Reliable as lasagne, with layers upon layers of cheese, like clauses and addendums, covering everything.
Tinder is owned by Match Group, Inc. which is based in Dallas, Texas. Match Group also owns OKCupid, Match.com, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, etc. a whopping 21 dating sites in total. Wikipedia says they own 40+ dating sites globally. As an anxious attachment style ‘Legacy Member’ (described in one lawsuit as someone who has been using the service prior to Spring, 2018) who keeps returning to the bathwater of Tinder swiping hot water with one hand and cold with the other, rotating the same cast of characters to a lukewarm reception, that gives new meaning to the song, “All my exes live in Texas.”
A good thing about all of these dating apps being overseen by one company is that if there is a proverbial bad apple in the bath water where we are all just trying to get a secure bite from the plethora of slippery and elusive bobbing fruits, that bad apple could be pulled from play entirely.
Let’s get back to that mention of that lawsuit. There may or may not be at least two current lawsuits against Tinder for charging people over 30 more money for the same service. I forgot to craft an ageist joke here, there were too many targeted bladder leak panties and anti wrinkle cream ads in my timeline to click on.
Tinder exists on an “as is” basis. To that I say, “same, Tinder, same.”
You waive all rights to class action lawsuits and trial by jury should you have any issue with Tinder. They use an arbitration company called JAMS. It actually says that you have to abide by “the JAMS Rules.” If you’re a Gen X like me you may remember the Jams shorts and swim trunks that were brightly colored and patterned. I loved my Jams, they ruled! Well, this JAMS company will assign you an arbitrary arbitrator. They’ve gone virtual so sporting your Jams while writing your case may help the matter but I’m no lawyer.
The sandwich shop Subway wouldn’t clear Tinder’s Community Guidelines. Subway recently catfished the public with their tuna sandwich which ALLEGEDLY does not contain any tuna. Their bread was found to be too sugary to be classified as bread and their footlong sandwiches come in one inch shy of that advertised mark. That last one may sound familiar to hetero women. While it is not a crime to lie about one’s height, Tinder does want you to be who you say you are and specifically does not allow catfishing. Asking for money in any form and of course any illegal, violent or abusive actions on or off the platform would allow Tinder to suspend or delete your account without a refund. So, if the profile of someone you were talking to suddenly goes up in smoke, you may have dodged a bullet.
The word nefarious makes an appearance in the fine print. It means wicked or evil. You’ve probably heard it referenced in comic books or on a Scooby Doo episode to describe the plots of the villains. That is where Tinder wants you to leave it. Don’t use the platform for anything nefarious! While they state that you are not allowed to have a felony or be a registered sex offender to have an account, they do not perform background checks, until a complaint or reason arises. Then they can do one without further consent.
There’s a LOT of safety resources and tips. Possibly because Tinder is in no way liable for anything that happens ON or OFF the platform. So, out of guilt for all of the horrific things people do to one another in pursuit of shall we say ‘connection’, their conscience made them put up some pretty extensive resources. Check ‘em out.
What about all the other dating sites Match Group owns? I looked into a handful of them. OKCupid states that it is operated (in the European Union) by Humor Rainbow, Inc. and I’ve never wanted to work for a company more. Our Time, match.com and Black People Meet seem to share the same Terms. One being that you be single or separated from your spouse. That was not a term listed on Tinder or OKCupid. All sites want you to have just one account.
While working on this article, Tinder started exhibiting signs of separation anxiety. They sent notifications on three consecutive evenings (leading up to Valentine’s Day) with progressively more direct language ‘shoulding’ me and pulling at my FOMO heartstrings to get back on the platform. Even though they don’t allow bullying or stalking. I held out after the second day just to see how things would progress. If nothing else, I knew I had a notification from Tinder to look forward to around 9:00pm.
Thank you for reading! Like what you read? I am available to creatively summarize any fine print, no font too small! Visit flatchestedmama.com for more information.
The FUN PRINT of Reading the Fine Print: This is an art project, I am NOT a lawyer. My name is Amy-Ellen Flatchestedmama Trefsger. The story with my middle name is that I married my art in 2004 and legally merged my birth name with my artist name. You can call me Amy-Ellen or Flat. Seventeen years later I’m holding on to the moniker like a pair of leg warmers from the 80’s, patiently waiting for self deprecating humor to circle back around into style. Love and unicorns, Flatchestedmama
*Originally written in Jan/Feb 2021.
Updates: It appears even more safety measures have been added like a Crisis text line and Noonlight (an app that allows you to share when, where and who you are meeting IRL). There was rumor in the late Spring of 2021 of a partnership with Garbo to allow paid background checks on people but I don’t see that linked anywhere. Subway’s tuna sandwiches are still making news for catfishing the public.