Some 37,000 people who lost money on fake dating sites will share €9m in compensation agreed by the company behind the sites, Dutch consumer authority ACM said on Tuesday.
The sites operated by The Right Link allowed users to exchange messages with potential dates, costing between 60 cents and €1 a time. But many of the people posing as dates worked for the company and had been told to keep people in conversation for as long as possible.
Some users lost thousands of euros through the scam.
The ACM raided the company’s premises last year and a number of sites with names such as flirten.nl, sexdating.nl and bedmaatjes.nl were taken off air.
The company now says it will inform punters that they are chatting with employees, rather than dates.
‘These websites used fake profiles to lure punters into long conversations,’ said ACM spokeswoman Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh. ‘They never got a date and it is only right that users get their money back.’
The ACM says it will monitor The Right Link carefully to make sure it now keeps to the letter of the law and that other companies offering similar services will clean up their acts as well.
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