The site we were analysing, SeniorDominatrix.com, offers an online dating service aimed at those who like to entertain themselves in a slightly wilder way. Open to everyone, singles, couples, and people looking for something new and exciting to try. They invite everyone to join this community. We didn’t stop at appearances. Just because a site looks good, doesn’t mean it is. We investigated a little further to determine if it is secure enough to trust the site or not.
In the Terms & Conditions, after reading the first few lines of general information, we found information on the site’s true purpose. Indeed, it was reported that although users can access the site for free, users must become paying members to communicate with other members or to enjoy all the offered features. We then realized that we were dealing with a scam. By reading the rest of the T&C in detail, we uncovered text that specifically talks about a subscription rip-off and the automatic renewal billing policy that comes with it.
Excerpt from the Terms & Conditions (as of 31/08/2023)
You may register as a member (Member) to use the Service for free. As a Member you will gain access to some but not all of the features and functionality of the Service. To gain more extensive access to the Service, including the ability to communicate with other Members, you must become a paying subscriber (Subscriber) and pay the relevant Subscription fee that is shown on the payment page[…]
Please note that for your convenience the Company operates an automatic renewal billing policy. This means that your Subscription will continue indefinitely until it is cancelled by you[…]
All billing cancellations must first be requested via the Cancel Automatic Billing Renewal Request Form which can also be obtained by contacting customer services by submitting a ticket via the helpdesk in the members’ area[…]
A deceptive policy that should be avoided
The automatic renewal policy is a dangerous scam because it takes advantage of the user’s forgetfulness to personally deactivate the subscription. The company will make it especially hard for users to do so. With our test profile, we were able to verify that users with a basic account cannot use the chat feature. The moment you try to send a message, the pop-up for membership upgrades appears. Packages of 1, 3, or 12 months are offered at different prices. The operating company already has a negative reputation online, so we should be careful about any subscriptions they offer here.
Regarding the cancellation request, Blue Mouse LTD located in Castletown, Isle of Man, reports that cancellation is the user’s responsibility. They will have to fill out a special form that should be sent to customer service. This type of practice is a sure way to get a bad user experience. Users will realize that this was a waste of time and that they had fallen for a rip-off. We also found mentions of “test profiles” created by the company’s staff to test the site. This implies that users could actually be texting one of them instead of a real user.