The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about “tricky” free trial offers on CBD products.
In an email notification, BBB Central Virginia said the BBB Scam Tracker received dozens of reports from frustrated people who thought they were going to order a free trial of CBD, but instead, that free offer cost some people hundreds of dollars.
How consumers are tricked
What happens is when someone sees an ad from a company offering samples of CBD either on social media or through an online search, BBB Central Virginia explained. The offer claims all you have to do is spend a few bucks on shipping and handling.
But after ordering the supposedly free product, the scammers have your credit card number. If you ever get the pattern soon after, you’ll be billed $80-$100 for an ongoing monthly subscription. “Cancelling this subscription isn’t easy,” the BBB email notification warns.
The companies behind these systems apologize as to why you cannot cancel. These can range from allegations of problems with the company’s computer system to claims that the notice period has expired, BBB explained.
And some people who canceled or made believe they had continued to face charges, the BBB noted.
Consumers share experiences
“They don’t find out until 3 weeks later that you signed up for a subscription and they charge you $99,” BBB said, a victim reported in its scam tracker. “They will not refund your money. They say you have 14 days to cancel (if you call them to complain) but there is no description of this on the website.”
“I thought I could get a free CBD oil trial for just the $4.95 shipping cost,” another victim in York County reported via BBB’s scam tracker. “I received the oil and my credit/debit card was charged. Two weeks later, on 9/15/2020, I was billed an additional $89.99. Apparently I signed up for a subscription that I didn’t know I was signing up for,” the person continued.
“Despite the fact that I was scammed out of $89.99, I never received any product other than the ‘free’ trial. I could certainly use that money back because I’m retired with a steady income. If I’m not mistaken, American Pickers used Mike as spokesman,” the victim added in the report.
According to BBB Central Virginia, these programs often focus on products allegedly endorsed by celebrities. The names of two celebrities appearing in these reports are Ministers Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen, the organization said.
To avoid this scam, BBB Central Virginia offers four tips:
- · Be wary of celebrities and don’t let a household name influence your decisions.
- · Find out about companies before placing orders. This can include checking reviews and a company’s BBB rating.
- · Always read the terms of the offer and make sure you understand them. Numerous victims of the CBD free trial scam said they had never seen the terms and conditions. This is a huge red flag, said BBB Central Virginia.
- · Keep track of your monthly bank statements and report losses to your credit card company. If you pay with a credit card, you can dispute fraudulent charges.
You can also sign up to receive BBB scam alert emails to keep you up to date on the crooks’ games.
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