Norah Hart on ABC

Sean McGinn Claims Dating Site Makes Canceled Members Seem Available

By BRANDY ZADROZNY
June 19, 2009

When Barry, a Brooklyn man signed up for Match.com, he was optimistic, he perused profiles, wrote and sent messages and winks, and then he waited…and waited.

When replies failed to come, Barry who asked we not use his last name, thought something was fishy. After all, he is young, arguably handsome, and gainfully employed.

“It was really depressing,” Barry told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

He came to believe that the Web site itself might be to blame for making him feel “undesirable and rejected” and that there might not be real people on the other end of all those messages.

He is not alone.

Barry is considering being part of a proposed class action lawsuit filed by another Brooklyn man Sean McGuinn who is claiming fraud against the online dating site.

In McGinn’s complaint, he alleges Match.com perpetrates fraud by returning inactive or canceled members in search results of seemingly dateable people.

He believes he was actually sending e-mails to ghosts of Match.com’s past.

Barry understands McGinn’s pain.

“I put a lot of time and effort into these subscribers, I feel they never existed,” Barry said. “You can find yourself staying up late at night waiting for e-mails that never come… its really sad.”

“With all due respect,” ABC’s Andrea Canning asked McGinn, “Do you think it could have been you? They just weren’t interested?

“Sure it’s possible,” Barry admitted.

But the lawsuit claims Match keeps profiles of canceled or inactive members on the site, creating false hope.

And McGinn’s attorney, Norah Hart, says she knows of other former Match members who were contacted after cancelling their subscriptions.

“They cancelled their subscriptions and then they still get e-mails from Match.”

She hopes to petition to have the suit raised to class-action status.

Match.com in a statement denied any wrongdoing. “The allegation that we would deceive our subscribers by encouraging them to connect with inactive members does not make sense and is contradicted by our 14-year record. ”

McGinn’s suit is not the first against Match.com. In 2005, the site was accused of having their own employees reply to e-mails to keep members subscribed. That case was thrown out.

In addition to a $39.99-a-month membership fee, McGinn bemoans in his suit the loss of his “time, labor, and emotional investment,” according to the complaint.

Time he says he spent writing lengthy, witty messages, sifting through profiles, sending winks at what he thought were potential matches, and time waiting for responses, which never came.

Barry in the meantime has found true love and is now married he says it happened the old fashioned way. “I ran into her on the sidewalk…and we started talking and it’s happily ever after.”