Online dating legal issues

In general, the online dating services require their members to submit a profile, which may include personal information e. As a result, the internet dating service may be sued by its members or third parties for various legal claims. In recent years, the internet dating services have been targets of lawsuits. In some cases, the internet dating service may facilitate sexual encounters between its members, which can lead to its member being arrested for having sex with a minor. In other cases, the members defame, harass, stalk, or bully each other.

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In these cases, the courts have enforced or dismissed the civil claims against the internet dating service for various reasons. The typical claims against the internet dating service may be for breach of contract, negligence, deceptive trade practice, Lanham Act violation, failure to warn, invasion of privacy, defamation, or fraud.

It is important to note that each of the aforesaid claims requires specific elements and supporting evidence to pass muster in court. These terms and conditions usually mention that the service cannot guarantee and assume responsibility for verifying the accuracy of the information provided by users. In order to hold the online dating service liable for breach of contract, the plaintiff must allege that it has breached a promise that was actually part of the contract.

In another case, an unknown person posted a personal profile of an actress without her knowledge, consent, or permission. The actress filed a lawsuit against the online dating service for invasion of privacy, misappropriation of the right of publicity, defamation, and negligence. As mentioned above, no system and no website are ever foolproof.

Online Dating Websites, Legal Obligations and Best Practice

In that context, if a user has had a bad experience on your site, they must be able to lodge a complaint. Your site should respond promptly and refer clients where appropriate. Sites should reply to a complaint as soon as possible and no later than the next business day. The site must then have a policy of actively investigating the fake profile or other offending behaviour and warning any other users in contact with that profile to control the damage.


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Keeping comprehensive data on customer complaints about scammers can also help you improve your security and prevent future scams. Your site should also inform complainants of their entitlement to contact the ACCC Scamwatch website. If users have lost money, received threats or are subject to blackmail, you should encourage them to contact the police via the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

As a business, you must honour all your obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act Cth. If you fail to do so, the ACCC can take legal action against you. Information on your site must be upfront and transparent, and your contract terms fair. The essential goal is to make it possible for your users to make an informed consumer decision.

Love at first swipe: the legal issues around dating apps

Disclose applicable fees and charges and accept notices of termination via email. Further, personal information should not be used for other, unauthorised purposes. If a customer consents to the general Terms and Conditions of your site, that does not allow your site to use their personal information elsewhere or for any other purpose than has been stated in your Terms and Privacy Policy. Although they are not all legally binding, they provide a clear structure of how to adhere to best practice and focus on the following: Providing appropriate scam warnings and information; Implementing a robust vetting and checking system; Having clearly defined procedures to handle complaints; and Ensuring business practices protect consumers.

Scam Warnings and Information These are necessary to inform and teach your users about associated risks. Vetting and Checking System All responsible online dating sites should validate users to ensure legitimate use of the service, and prevent against scammers easily setting up fake profiles.

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Complaint Handling As mentioned above, no system and no website are ever foolproof. Consumer Protection As a business, you must honour all your obligations under the Competition and Consumer Act Cth. Was this article helpful? We appreciate your feedback — your submission has been successfully received.

1. Best Practice

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