Specifically, the court says that, although he cancelled and did not receive a refund, the complaint lacks details about the cancellation. Grindr argued that the statute was prompted by high-pressure in-person sales tactics and vendors’ potential to take undue advantage of consumers. Citing to a California Supreme Court looking at applicability of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act and applicability to download transactions (answer: no), the court says that it should employ a practical, flexible approach: [i]n construing statutes that predate their possible applicability to new technology, courts have not relied on wooden construction of their terms. Grindr also argued that there was an element of the consumer being able to take advantage of the site by using the services and then requesting a full refund, but the court says that the legislature already considered this issue.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and everyone realized than an online auction service like e Bay is unquestionably different than a statutorily regulated “auctionhouse.” It’s a good cautionary tale for the regulation of any online marketplace seeking to disrupt traditional offline intermediaries governed by different rules because the laws of physics applicable to the offline world are, in fact, different online. Men’s Journal Bad Idea: Overdisclosing People’s Positive STD Status–Doe v.
I understand why the court was less charitable to Grindr here. Successfulmatch 9th Circuit Says Plaintiff Had Standing to Sue Spokeo for Fair Credit Reporting Violations Is Sacramento The World’s Capital of Internet Privacy Regulation?
More generally, if you’re an online vendor hoping to usurp an industry that has extensive offline regulations, you would be well-served to bone up on that regulatory scheme and, if you’re not going to comply with it, develop a clear explanation of why you think it doesn’t apply to you.
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As in the STL cases, perhaps the court got its radar up when it sensed a lawsuit that was driven by a technical violation of the statute, rather than real economic harm.
It also punts on the Article III standing issue, given that it dismissed for failure to allege statutory standing. __ Wow, the California legislature gets in the weeds.
That California regulates dating service contracts specifically came as news to me, as well as I’m guessing to others.
The court cites to cases under California’s “Shine the Light” statute and says that there’s no cause of action for a mere failure to comply with the statute. Fidelity to legislative intent does not ‘make it impossible to apply a legal text to technologies that did not exist when the text was created. By providing a full, rather than a pro rata refund, the legislature evinced its intent to place the costs from cooling off/cancellation on the business rather than the consumer.
The court dismisses the UCL claim as the plaintiff did not offer substantive arguments in response to Grindr’s arguments.