It’s a bumble, or rather Bumble, Inc., a Texas-based internet dating service provider, will have to pay a hefty $315,000 to settle allegations it violated New Jersey’s consumer protection and internet safety laws by failing to disclose its criminal background screening policies to New Jersey users.

According to New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, the company agreed to the settlement to resolve a state investigation that found the dating platforms Bumble and its affiliate Badoo – you have to love those names – inaccurately represented their background screening policies or failed to disclose them at all, in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), the Internet Dating Safety Act (IDSA), and consumer regulations.

In addition to the fine, Bumble has agreed to make changes to its business practices to comply with the state’s laws and regulations.

“New Jersey residents using internet dating services have a right to know if convicted sex offenders and other violent criminals may be among the pool of potential suitors reaching out to them,” Platkin said. “Our internet dating safety law requires companies to tell New Jersey members exactly what they’re doing – or not doing – to identify dangerous offenders and prevent them from accessing the online profiles of our residents. Compliance with that law is not optional.”

Bumble and Badoo changes will include:

The company will also send an email and issue pop-up notifications to all New Jersey users informing them of these updates.

IDSA requires internet dating services to clearly disclose whether they conduct criminal background checks on users, with the Act applying to any company that provides internet dating services to New Jersey residents.

The state said it launched its investigation into Bumble in 2020 due to growing concerns of sexual assault occurring through dating platforms. While the investigation revealed Bumble and Badoo have historically screened at least some of their users against state and national sex offender registries, there has been no consistent policy. In addition, Badoo failed to include any criminal background screening disclosures for consumers.

The lesson here? Be aware of state laws because they vary. Accurately disclose background screening procedures and be consistent with those policies. Otherwise, you may have a hefty fine on your hands.