Following a complaint from the Norwegian Consumer Council on the popular dating app Tinder, The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman this spring asked Tinder to make several changes in the contract terms, so the terms are in accordance with Norwegian law. As a consequence, Tinder has made some changes. But the contract terms are still too long, difficult and unclear. So the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman further demands Tinder to make significant changes, so that Norwegian consumers can understand what they in reality are accepting when they start using the app.
– Tinder now has the possibility to be one of the first, international apps who takes Norwegian consumers seriously by giving them terms and conditions they can understand and accept, says Consumer Ombudsman Gry Nergård.
In a press release, the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman demands:
•That the terms are made easier to understand
•That they are translated into Norwegian
•That Tinder makes clear what the company means by giving themselves the right to reuse content that the users have produced in the app (pictures, text etc).
•That Norwegian consumers can solve unresolved issues with Tinder by the Norwegian court, so they do not have to travel to Texas for this purpose.
•That it is made clear that Norwegian law, not Texan law, is applicable.
•That users are appropriate informed when Tinder makes significant changes in terms and conditions.
•That they give users information about what happens with their content if they terminate the contract
•That Tinder has clear rules for when the company can terminate an account, and that users are informed about the cause of the termination if they are kicked out of the app.
Long, complicated and unclear user terms in apps are a widespread problem. Since many of the companies are international, it is important that consumer authorities cooperate across national borders, writes the ombudsman.
– We will contribute to lifting this problem up on the international agenda for consumer authorities, and hope we can develop a common European standard for how app terms shall be designed, says Nergård.
The Consumer Ombudsman is also in dialog with The Norwegian Data Protection Authority concerning the obtaining and use of personal information in app terms.
– It is important that we do something about this problem now, before it grows in scope. We hope the Tinder-case can contribute by putting into place contract terms that can be used as an industry standard, where app terms are designed in an easy and understandable way, so consumers easily can understand what they accept when they take the app in use. This is for the best, both for the consumers and for the companies behind the apps, says Nergård.
About The Consumer Ombudsman of Norway
The Consumer Ombudsman (CO) is an independent administrative body with the responsibility of supervising measures in the market and seek to exert influence on traders to observe the regulatory framework.
The CO considers cases upon complaints from consumers and traders, but also at its own initiative look at marketing measures.
Through negotiations with traders it is sought to arrive at voluntary arrangements for consumers.
The Consumer Ombudsman carries out supervision of the Marketing Control Act as well as with certain parts of the regulatory framework governing advertising in broadcasting. The CO and the Market Council have authority to issue decisions banning unlawful marketing and contract terms and conditions in standard contracts when deemed necessary in the interests of consumers.
The current Consumer Ombudsman is Gry Nergård, who took office 5 November 2010.