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Bumble Swipes Left, Tells Court to Toss Premium Feature False Advertising Case

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Bumble Holding Limited and Bumble Inc. (together, Bumble) have moved to dismiss a consumer complaint alleging that the dating app misrepresented the success a user could enjoy by purchasing two premium features. According to the company, the consumer’s argument unfairly takes its words out of context and his allegations fail to meet the heightened pleading standard applicable to fraud claims.

The suit was filed in January and explained that Bumble, a dating app unique among others because only the woman in a heterosexual match may initiate a conversation, has a “freemium” business model. Two of the upgrades users can purchase are “Spotlights” or “SuperSwipes” which “increase the likelihood of matching with another user.”

The consumer claimed that Bumble promotes these features by suggesting that users will receive up to 10 times more matches if they purchase Spotlights, a feature which shows users a potential match ahead of other candidates, and up to 10 times more conversations if they purchase Superswipes, a feature which eliminates the element of surprise for a woman by informing her that a man has already liked her. The plaintiff sued under various consumer protection laws arguing that he received no discernible benefit from the premium features, despite the company’s advertisements.

Bumble’s primary response is that the plaintiff’s claims ignore the qualifier that Bumble used in its advertisements, that users could receive “up to” ten times the conversations or matches. Furthermore, Bumble asserts that the representation was made alongside several purchase options offering SuperSwipes or Spotlights in various quantities. As such, the company says that it made clear that the predicted range of outcomes was related to the quantity purchased.

“Plaintiff’s arguments blithely ignore this context and in doing so strain credulity,” the filing says. Taken in context, Bumble argues that a reasonable consumer would not have been deceived.

Additionally, Bumble says that the plaintiff has not met Rule 9(b)’s heightened pleading standard, allegedly triggered because the entire complaint is premised on fraudulent statements. The pleading is devoid of allegations as to why the statements are misleading and that the plaintiff actually relied on them to his detriment, Bumble argues.

Finally, the motion asserts that the court lacks personal jurisdiction over Bumble Inc., “a holding company incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Texas that does no business in California nor owns or operates the Bumble app.”

The dismissal hearing is scheduled for June 30 before Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton in Oakland, Calif.

The plaintiff is represented by Edge, A Professional Law Corporation and Bumble by Cooley LLP.

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