Oz dating site owner ordered to own up to adding fake profiles

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Melbourne, July 22 (ANI): The owner of a dating has been forced to admit it added more than 1300 fake profiles to its "Uncut" section.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that Jetplace Pty Ltd had put up 1371 profiles on its dating site www.redhotpie.com.au that were said to represent actual users from cities and towns across Australia.

It said Jetplace used its own profiles to send "flirts" or customised messages to registered users of the website and those profiles also appeared in searches by visitors to the site.

The ACCC has ordered Jetplace to publicly disclose the deception.

"The ACCC will not hesitate to take swift and decisive action where consumers are exposed to misleading tactics by website operators," News.com.au quoted ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel as saying.

"Website operators such as Jetplace must accept that there is significant potential for many vulnerable people to be attracted to socialising and dating websites and that the website operators have a legal responsibility under the Trade Practices Act to ensure the information they place on the website is accurate," it stated.

The court further declared that Jetplace directors, Maxwell James McGuire and Mark Semaan were aware of and party to the deception.

As a result, anyone who registered with the site between December 2004 and November 2008 will be greeted with Jetplace's admission to deceptive conduct when they log on.

Jetplace must also offer refunds to any www.redhotpie.com.au users who could prove they were misled into paying for access to the website.

Samuels said if Jetplace had been found guilty after the introduction of the new Australian Consumer Law, it was likely the ACCC would have sought civil pecuniary penalties worth up to 1.1 million dollars for companies and 220,000 dollars for individuals. (ANI)

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