Tinder has been accused of age discrimination after an investigation found it charges older Australians more for premium services.
In fact, in some cases the dating app charges older people five times as much as younger users.
Industrial advocates believe the price differences amount to unlawful age discrimination.
Consumer watchdog Choice has asked the ACCC to investigate if Tinder is also breaching consumer laws.
Tinder accused of age discrimination
Tinder allows users to swipe another user’s photo left or right depending on whether they want to connect or not.
Choice used 60 mystery shoppers to sign up to the dating app to conduct the research.
While the basic service is free, members can pay for ‘Tinder Plus’ which offers more features.
The results of the research found Tinder charges queer females aged under 30 the least – just $6.99 per month.
In comparison, the dating app charges city-based straight men over 50 the most – $34.37 a month.
Choice also found the price range for people under 30 is generally lower than for people over 30.
The under-30s are charged between $6.99 and $16.71 while the over-30s paid between $14.99 and $34.37.
Erin Turner from Choice said:
“Based on our mystery shop, we know that Tinder is using age to set different prices.
A Tinder spokesperson said most members use the app without paying.
However, they also said pricing for ‘Tinder Plus’ can vary due to a number of factors.
“We do offer a variety of subscription options and paid a la carte features designed to help our members stand out and match with new people more efficiently.”
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Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan said it is unlawful for a company to discriminate based on someone’s age.
“Age discrimination happens when someone is treated differently, or unfairly, because they are too old or too young,” he said.
“Tinder is clearly discriminating based on a user’s age, which is unlawful.
“This company has no excuse for charging someone over 30 more for the same service.”
Last year, Tinder agreed to pay a $US17.3 million class action settlement for age discrimination in California.
Tinder user Lisa Kim filed the claim, accusing Tinder of charging her and other users twice as much because they were over the age of 29.
UPDATE TO STORY
The findings by Choice led to a global investigation by Consumers International and online rights group the Mozilla Foundation.
It found Tinder quoted different prices to different users in India, South Korea, the US, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
The investigation found Tinder quoted up to 31 different prices within a single country.
On average, Tinder charges users aged 30 to 49 65.3 percent more than users aged 18 to 29.
Mozilla’s VP of advocacy Ashley Boyd called Tinder’s pricing algorithm “unfair, irresponsible, and opaque”.
However, a Tinder spokesperson disputed the findings:
“Tinder has never factored in sexual orientation, gender identity or any other demographic characteristic to our pricing.
“Any reporting or inference that we do this is patently false and outrageous.”
Meanwhile, in February 2022, Choice once again found Tinder charging users of different ages different prices.
The most obvious difference in the data showed people under 30 paying less than people over 30 without any explicit reason.
The company continues to categorically deny that it uses discriminatory pricing.
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