Cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient of cannabis, is now legal in many US states and Canadian provinces. If you want to try the drug, watch out for scams. BBB Scam Tracker has received dozens of reports from frustrated consumers who thought they signed up for a free trial offer but ended up getting billed for hundreds of dollars.
How the Scam Works:
You see an ad for CBD on social media or in an online search. A company is offering samples of CBD oil. All you need to do is pay a couple of dollars for shipping and handling, and you can try it for free. In some cases, the product is even endorsed by a celebrity. For example, recent Scam Tracker reports mention popular ministers Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, if you order the “free” sample, the scammers now have your credit card number. As soon as you receive your sample – if you receive it at all – you are charged $80 to $100 for an ongoing monthly subscription. Canceling this subscription is not easy! Consumers report that scammers used numerous excuses to avoid issuing refunds. They claimed everything from trouble with the computer system to it being outside the cancellation window. Many victims also told Scam Tracker that the charges continued even after they canceled their subscription.
Protect yourself from this scam:
Research the company online. See what other people are saying about the company’s free trials. Complaints from other customers can tip you off to “catches” that might come with the trial. Check the business's BBB Rating and see if there are any alerts. If the product has full-spectrum or an isolate CBD in its product, by law it must have "Certificates of Analysis" listed showing that their product is in compliance with the Farm Bill.
Understand what happens after the free trial ends. Always read the terms of the offer before signing up. Numerous victims of the CBD free trial con reported not ever seeing the terms and conditions. This is a huge red flag. If you can’t find them or can’t understand what you’re agreeing to, don’t sign up.
Be skeptical of celebrity endorsements. Resist being swayed by the use of a well-known name. Scammers often fake celebrity endorsements.
If you pay with a credit card, dispute fraudulent charges. Keep an eye on your monthly statements and notify your credit card company of any suspicious charges.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.
*Content was originally posted on the BBB's website here.
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