Consumer Group Backtracks on Tinder LGBTQ+ Discrimination Accusation

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday January 21, 2022

A consumer group claimed to have found that Tinder is charging gay and lesbian users more than it charges heterosexual and cisgender users — as much as almost 50% more, but has since backtracked on that allegation, UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported.

The company says it's not engaging in LGBTQ+ discrimination; rather, Tinder claims to be charging some more than others based on age.

"Having initially chosen not to provide further information, Tinder has since revealed that it offers discounts to users aged 28 and under in the UK and claimed that by including 29-year-olds in our analysis of the relationship between price with age and sexual orientation, 'the results would be skewed to make it appear that LGBTQAI+ members paid more based upon orientation, when in fact, it was based upon age,'" the consumer group said in a release.

Politico, covering the story, boiled it down this way: "People over the age of 30, have to cough up significantly more to use the premium features of dating app Tinder, according to a study by British consumer group Which?"

"The consumer group used almost 200 mystery shoppers to create profiles on the dating app," Politico detailed.

Tinder called the group's findings "categorically untrue" and explained that the "price difference was 'a discount for younger users,' but Which? found that this is not made clear to people using the app," Politico added.

The Daily Mail detailed that the app charges "different prices for its Tinder Plus service, rather than just a blanket fee," and said that the company declined to explain its reasons for this — but, the article added, Tinder "did admit that older people have to pay more in some countries."

"Which? accuses Tinder of using opaque and unpredictable algorithms, and not letting users provide explicit consent to their data being processed in this way," the article went on to add.

This is not the app's first skirmish with consumer groups. Politico recalled that "In 2019 it settled a class-action lawsuit in California for charging users aged 30 and over double the standard premium fee." In Australia last year, a consumer group called Choice determined "that over-30s were charged more than double that of younger users" by the app.

Which? relayed its findings to two UK government agencies: The Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and also the Information Commissioner's Office. The Commissioner's Office has said it is looking into the matter.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.