CBD ‘free trial’ scams a growing concern in Canada. Here’s how to avoid falling victim

CBD oil. (Pixabay.com)

The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about CBD offers that are too good to be true amid an increase in online scams.

As cannabidiol popularity spreads across the country and across the border, the 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.

The scam works like this: An ad on social media or online will offer CBD samples for free claiming that customers will only have to pay a few dollars for shipping. After someone shares their credit card information, the scammers then charge the card $80-$100 in monthly subscriptions and it’s likely no CBD sample ever shows up in the mail.

Sadly, cancelling the “subscription” isn’t easy, according to those who have fallen victim to the ploy. The scammers claim 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 cancelled their subscription.

One victim said it took three weeks after signing up for the fake free sample to find out they were charged $99.

“They will not refund your money. They say you had 14 days to cancel (when you call them to complain) but there is no description of that on the website.”

The BBB has a number of tips to avoiding these scams:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Report losses to credit card companies. If you pay with a credit card, you can dispute fraudulent charges. Keep an eye on your monthly statements and notify your credit card company of any suspicious charges.

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