Growing number of complaints about dating sites

More and more people are using online dating sites and the number of complaints that are made to the Federal Department of the Economy about such sites is also on the increase. Last year the number of complaints rose by 68%. The figures come from a replay to a written question tabled by the Flemish Christian democrat federal MP Leen Dierick to the Consumers Affairs Minister in Belgium’s caretaker federal government Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian democrat). 

Last year the number of reports of alleged malpractice by dating sites rose to 94. This compares with 56 complaints about online dating sites in 2017.   

"More and more people are using these sites and there is also less shame about using them and lodging complaints about them”, Ms Dierick told VRT News.

The main causes for complaint on the part of those using online dating sites are the extension of users’ subscriptions without their explicit agreement. Issues with terminating a subscription, the refunding of subscription fees if a subscription is terminated early, not being provided with enough information about the service when subscribing for the first time and finally not receiving replies to questions asked.    

Ms Dierick says that she feels that it is important that dating sites respect the law and don’t abuse the position of their customers. Dating sites are covered by general rules designed to protect consumers. They are not allowed to mislead their customers and must offer them the chance to revoke their contract within the first 14 days after it has been signed.

"It is good that victims know that they can even make a complaint online to the Economic Inspectorate. In the case of false accounts, a complaint can be made to the police as making a false account on social media is a criminal offence”, Ms Dierick added.  

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