Verdict against Parship
Automatic contract extension
The online partner portal Parship is one of the most popular in the German speaking area. All the more surprising that it is apparently not complying with Austrian law.
The ECC is receiving several complaints from consumers about the portal every week. They report that their trial month or annual contract has automatically extended. They had not been informed beforehand that such an extension was about to happen.
No clear information
According to Austrian law, a company has to explain to its customers that their contract will extend if they don't terminate it within a given period. This explanation has to be delivered separately and in writing.
Parship submits this "notification" via mail. However, consumers have to first click on a link which leads them to the website where they have to log into their account. Only then the respective information is displayed. There is no indication whatsoever in the subject line nor in the mail itself regarding the contract extension. It only reads "News about your profile".
Claim by the VKI
The Austrian consumer protection organisation Verein für Konsumenteninformation (VKI) - on behalf of the Ministry for Social Affairs - therefore filed a claim against this policy of Parship. The Viennese Commercial Court (Handelsgericht Wien, HG) confirmed the opinion of the VKI. According to the Court, Parship is obliged to ensure that its customers actually read the information about the contract extension. This would make it necessary that the mail includes a clear subject line and information in the text. The verdict is not yet binding and can still be appealed.
Help by the ECC
More information regarding online dating services are summarised in this article. If you have any individual questions, please contact the ECC. You can reach us with the online complaint form, via mail to email@example.com or via phone at +43 1 588 77 81 (Mo-Fr, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).