CBD scams are a new type of scam that has become quite frequent recently. Such is their popularity that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued warnings concerning them. Learn more about how these scams are carried out and what to do to avoid them.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is an active ingredient in cannabis. Nowadays, it is legal in many countries and in many states in the U.S. where it is used for medical purposes. CBD is often used as an additional treatment and pain reliever for severe diseases.
How Is CBD Used to Trick People Online?
For the past months, numerous people were tricked by con men who pretended to offer them a free trial for CBD products. Instead of signing up for a free trial, the victims discovered that scammers billed them for hundreds of dollars.
The scam was usually carried out through popular social media channels. People saw an ad that promised a great offer to try CBD products for free. Alternatively, scammers also used ads that appeared on different websites or in search results through the websites they’ve built for this purpose. No matter what method they used to grab people’s attention, the result was the same – consumers ended up losing money.
The way the trick usually unfolded was by asking people to create an account in order to join the free trial period. This was nothing out of the ordinary as most trials require an online application process that involves creating an account. However, except for their contact and personal data, people were also asked to provide their bank account information. This was the first red flag as the ad only promised to allow people to enroll in a free program. It didn’t say anything about automatically getting charged once the trial period ends. However, most consumers who have recently filed complaints about getting scammed in free CBD trials were eventually billed. And this didn’t happen long after creating an account and providing their banking details.
Most people reported being billed for sums that ranged between $80 and $100. While some of them also received products and then got charged for the subscription, others didn’t get anything at all, only lost money. According to Scam Tracker, some victims found out they signed up for a subscription that cost almost $100 per month approximately 3 weeks after they enrolled in the supposedly free trial.
Obviously, once people realized they were getting charged on a monthly basis for a subscription they’ve never wanted in the first place, they contacted the company to ask for a refund and an account cancellation. This is when the problems began as the company tried to justify in all sorts of ways their actions, and invented excuses not to issue refunds. One of the common excuses people heard was that the company’s computer system was not working, hence it was impossible to complete the refund. Others were told the company was no longer able to offer a refund simply because they asked for one outside the cancellation window. The cancellation window meant that subscribers should have cancelled their account within 14 days after subscribing. However, since it generally took more than 20 days to figure out they were being billed, people didn’t make it in time. Moreover, and what was even scarier and troubling, was that consumers continued to get charged monthly – even after they cancelled their subscription if they managed to do this in time. No matter what the case was, as different consumers reported different outcomes and got different answers from the company, one thing was common in all the reported cases. There was no information on the websites where people enrolled for the free CBD trial about any subscription or payment obligation.
BBB’s main recommendation to avoid such scams is to research the offer online before you agree to sign up for a trial. See what others have to say about the program and avoid it if it seems shady. Be skeptical if you’re being asked to provide your bank details although the trial promises to be free. And carefully read the terms and conditions to understand what will happen after the trial ends.