As interest in CBD and cannabinoids continues to grow many ‘companies’ are springing up to take advantage of this newfound interest in cannabis derivatives; using the ‘Free Trial CBD Oil’ scam to generate thousands from unsuspecting consumers. We use the term ‘company’ very light. In reality, these businesses are only interested in making a quick quid and are completely disinterested in providing a decent product or providing any kind of support.
Their products are typically of very low quality, use gaudy imagery and as the title of this piece suggests, use a ‘free trial’ as a means to lure you into an expensive subscription you knew nothing about. The free trial is only a means to obtain your debit/credit card details at which point you can be charged upwards of £100 PER MONTH for a rubbish product. These subscriptions can be incredibly hard to cancel and often require an urgent call to your bank and sometimes a new bank card altogether. We’ve put together a quick post so that you can spot the early warning signs of the CBD Free Trial Scam.
How the ‘Free Trial CBD Oil’ scam works
“Get A Free Trial Bottle of CBD Oil’’ is typically how this scam starts. This phrase can be followed up with some sort of medical claim such as ‘’This will cure your anxiety’’.
The email or website will then go on to say that you just have to pay a small shipping charge on your credit or debit card before you receive this AMAZING product. Sounds too good to be true? Well it is and you have good reason to avoid this common CBD oil scam.
Hidden in the terms and conditions (if they even have any!) of these “free trial bottle” offers, it is revealed that they will start charging the payment card you already given them for £50-£100 each month if you don’t call to cancel your “subscription” within a few days; usually around 7 -14.
The product is very low quality (typically only 100mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle) and customer service is non-existent. Worryingly, the CBD used to make these products often comes from China where regulation is practically non-existent meaning pesticides and heavy metal contamination is rife in CBD oils. Not only is the concentration of CBD very low but the content of your oil could also be dangerous!
Victims often have problems cancelling their subscriptions and most people end up having to contact their bank or credit card company to cancel their card and get a new one issued. Contact numbers often don’t work at all or do not respond on the scam website in question. You may be able to claim a refund but expect strong pushback from the scam company in question. Often the best thing is to get a new card and learn the lesson. There are also reports from users who have unknowingly been charged for other products on the credit card that they provided for the “free trial’’; some of these products are related to CBD, others are not.
Summary: the brand names change but any offer of a “free trial bottle of CBD oil” where you just pay shipping is typically a scam.
Have you been scammed?
Here’s how to try and recover if you have been scammed:
- Call the company that charged you and cancel your subscription with them. Firmly ask for a refund of any charges that have been made which you were unaware of. Be firm with them and tell them that you will be filing a “chargeback” with your credit card company if they don’t refund your money. These people are bullies so stand your ground.
2. If you successfully get a refund from the company, you should still contact your bank or credit card company as the scammers still have your card details! It’s always the safest option to have them cancel your existing card and issue you a new one. That is the only sure-fire way you’ll know that the scammers won’t be able to charge your card again.
3. Inform your card company know that you did not authorise charges other than the small shipping fee. Ask them to file a “chargeback” against the company so that you can get a refund.
4. Don’t get in a rut about being scammed online. I’ve been scammed, people you know have been scammed as well as countless thousands of others. The best thing is to take this as a hard lesson learned. If possible, try to help others avoid this scam! Leaving a comment below is a good place to start.
There are hundreds of these shady schemes in operation including: Miracle CBD, Pure CBD, Sky CBD, True CBD, Assure CBD, Pure Med CBD, Divine CBD, Isolate Direct CBD, Organix CBD, Serenity CBD, and Optimal Choice CBD.
We’ve included a few links above so you can see how similar these sites are – in fact, they are likely operated by one large group of people as the websites are close to identical. Our ‘warning’ checklist below applies to all the known scam sites listed above and many more online.
This image below is practically synonymous with how these scams appear in your email inbox or online:
SCAM WARNING CHECKLIST:
- The brand name almost always contains the word ‘CBD’.
- The strength of the oil is incredibly low e.g. 100mg in 30 ml (close to useless).
- Marketing ploys and phrases such as ‘Only 100 Bottles left!’
- A random image of a stock doctor to pathetically add ‘credence’ to the scam.
- General shoddy design of the advert.
- Nonsense phrases like ‘Validated Cannabidiol’.
Hidden Terms and Conditions
Some of the shadiest companies won’t even write a legitimate Terms and Conditions but those that do, reveal the scam through their Ts & Cs. Here’s an example below from ‘Miracle CBD’. They tell you clearly what they plan to do the absolute devils!
Are any samples legitimate?
It’s a good rule of thumb to always be wary of anything free in this world. With that in mind, reputable CBD companies, Dr. Ed included, do offer low-cost sample packs so that you can try before you fully commit. If you are unsure about a company, there are a few things you can do to help determine if they are real and to be trusted:
- Do they have a decent website with working contact details and addresses?
- Do they have an active social media presence?
- Do they respond professionally to email, telephone and web enquiries?
- Do they have any 3rd party reviews on places like Google or Trustpilot?
- Do they have lab reports on their website describing the contents of their products?
- Do stories, blogs and reviews pop-up if you type the brand name in Google?
If the answer is mainly no then you should avoid that company – there are plenty of good, established CBD companies out there that will treat your fairly and with respect as a customer.
Not all subscriptions are scams
Subscriptions from reputable companies are a safe and cost-effective way to receive products that work for you at regular intervals. If you already trust a company, like their products and use them regularly, then subscriptions are ideal for you. Dr. Ed is launching our own subscription service this year – for our growing number of repeat purchasers this means you can save a substantial amount on every bottle and receive a fresh bottle at the same time every month without having to remember to order. The difference here is that YOU make the decision to sign up to a subscription, you aren’t tricked in to it!
The internet is a place chock-full of scams and scammers are naturally drawn to growing industries where there is still a lot of misinformation flying around. CBD is the perfect area where they can target people who are ready to try anything to fix a health issue. It’s a really horrible tactic but one which you can avoid by always being sceptical when it comes to online deals, especially when it comes to health/wellness products. If you are going to give someone your hard-earned money, feel free to put them on the back foot first – ask them questions, do some searchers, query things with them that don’t add up in your mind. Good companies do everything they can to earn your trust and with a bit of digging you can separate the good from the bad like a professional and avoid online CBD scams.
If you are ever concerned about using CBD or purchasing CBD online from a company you aren’t sure about, even if it is nothing to do with Dr. Ed, feel free to reach out to our support team to lend a hand. Head to our Contact page to speak to us.