I read the fine print of Tinder, it changed my perspective of Texas forever.

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. 

This article will focus mostly on Tinder’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, dipping only a toe into the privacy policy and safety tips. Here are some of the highlights: 

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.  

Like cauliflower sneaking its way into pretzels, Tinder’s privacy policy also bends over backwards to prove they’re lovable. There’s some Dr. Seuss stylings within the copy and a Mike Pence joke. Spoiler alert: the joke is mother approved. 

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. 

Thanks, Tinder. 

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.

Plague City Demos

📷 in collaboration with Flatchestedmama

Listen on Bandcamp

Excerpt from the record release event :

In March 2020, Secret Caves paused for hiatus out of respect for each other’s and our loved ones’ health and safety.

Around August, Carrie and Scotty tentatively re-entered the music cave – masked and distant – and began composing songs together. Those early songs were born desperately and entirely from a desire to create while navigating a terrifying and increasingly uncertain world – and while therapeutic, it became quickly evident that additional contributors would allow these songs to realize their full potential.

Contributors, in no particular order:
Chad, Simon Strand, Peder Nelson, Carlynn Nelson, Hugh J. Noble, Flores, David Ramm, Myrh, Greg Connors, Scott Fragala, Dark Number 9, Timbertoe, Nina, Andy, Slayanne

Car Insurance Fine Print

A policy agreement booklet came with my recent auto insurance renewal. Here are some of the highlights: 

Insurrections (listed under War) and car racing are excluded. No part of my coverage covers them. Previous to Jan 6th, I would have had to look up the word insurrection but now I have an iconic image to draw from! 

A phantom vehicle is the vehicle that ‘ran’ in a hit & run. That got me thinking. Next time I come out from the grocery store to find a new dent in my car, I have to realize, maybe I was parked in Doc Brown’s entry point. Maybe he dented my car while crashing in or out of time travel. Or… maybe it was Wonder Woman who needed a quick getaway in the invisible jet. She had bad people to lasso and didn’t have time to leave a note or insurance card.

They still have me covered if I go bankrupt (when you prepay a policy period before bankruptcy) but they can audit my books and inspect my property up to three years after an incident “as far as they relate to the subject matter of this insurance.” 

I learned the difference between tort and torte. You want the latter! It’s the difference between a police baton and a tasty dessert.

Surprise (to me) benefits that come with collision coverage is pet injury coverage. It provides a one time, $1000 (cap, no matter how many fur babies you were transporting) benefit for vet fees or loss. Surprise (to me) benefit with additional personal injury protection is $2000 for funeral expenses. I would not have previously thought to inquire about these items. That’s the benefit of reading the fine print!

I’m available to read and creatively summarize your fine print, no font too small! You receive a digital sketch and a written summary. Join my three happy customers so far! Go HERE for more information and rates.