- CBD Lifestyle
Beware of FREE CBD Samples: Here’s Why
The list of US states where CBD is legal seems to be continuously growing. As a result, so too is the CBD industry. In fact, CBD is one of the fastest-growing markets in America at the moment. The last few years have seen a significant focus on research and the medical benefits of CBD.
More and more people are becoming interested in trying out different CBD products for themselves. However, the problem for a lot of people is that CBD products can often appear expensive. This is especially true when compared to more traditional drug store medication that customers have decades of experience with.
As with any expensive purchase, it can feel daunting to pay out a large sum of your hard-earned cash. Often this is for something you have not even been able to try out. CBD brands have spotted this weakness in the market.
There are a number of companies that are offering customers free samples of their CBD products. They claim that you can give their ‘incredible’ CBD a try for as little as the postage costs. After all, you would not purchase a car without taking it for a test drive. Nor would you buy a bottle of cologne without giving it a spray and seeing how you like the smell.
What kind of things do you need to watch out for with free CBD samples?
CBD Samples Subscription Scams
There are a number of free CBD scams currently circulating their way around the internet. But the biggest and perhaps most damaging is the subscription scam. The general idea behind this type of fraud is to lock you into a subscription service. This service could cost you several hundred dollars a month without you even knowing.
Companies hook you in by offering a free CBD sample. This could be anything from a sample bottle of oil to a snack-sized packet of edibles. The catch is that while the actual CBD product is free, the postage is not.
You must fill out an online form giving your personal details and some form of payment information. The problem is that at this point, there is nothing glaringly obvious that would cause you to suspect this could be a scam.
So, you part with your personal details and wait patiently for your free sample to appear in the post. When it does arrive, you enjoy trying out your ‘free’ product and do not think anything more of the transaction. It is not until a few weeks later that you notice a large payment appear on your credit card. Payment from the very same company that sent you your free sample.
A few days later, you are likely to receive a CBD subscription package in the post that you have no knowledge of ordering. It is only after a little digging and investigation that you discover you signed up to a CBD subscription service unknowingly.
Why Is This Subscription Scam Such A Big Problem?
The exact details of what you were signing up for were, in fact, hidden in the long list of terms and conditions that you were asked to tick when ordering your free sample. Included within those terms and conditions were the details of how to cancel your subscription after the trial period in order to prevent your card from being charged.
These companies are relying on the fact that very few people actually bother to read the terms and conditions. Discovering that you have been scammed is a horrible feeling, especially when you were excited about trying out a new product.
Scams of this type are not new and have affected many different industries over the years. Industries including trials for apps, health food subscription services, and even digital content. Companies earn a considerable amount of money each year for people unknowingly signing themselves up for a subscription service in an attempt to get a free trial.
Most people figure out what is going on after the first month’s payment disappears from their account. But by this point, you are already down a substantial amount of money.
Questionable CBD Oil Quality in Free CBD Samples
Another common scam associated with CBD samples is receiving products of dubious quality. These scams are not intended to hook you in the long term. They are more focused on targeting a large number of people and earning a few dollars from each person.
Just like subscription scams, these companies will offer you the chance to try their latest CBD products for free. The shipping costs for their products will generally be on the higher side. But when being offered something for free, you are happy to pay for it.
The genius behind these scams is that you will not notice you have been scammed until you receive your free sample. If you ever do at all.
What Happens with This Expensive Shipping?
The odds are that your free sample will be a lot smaller than you had expected. You might have thought you were going to be sent a 5ml or 10ml bottle of CBD oil. Instead, you receive a small packet that you can just about squeeze a few drops out of.
Even if you are lucky enough to receive something that actually warranted the postage costs in terms of size, the quality of the product leaves a lot to be desired.
These companies know that you are never going to order from them again. And that you will not be satisfied with your free sample. They are relying on the fact that most people will not go to all of the effort required to claim a refund for a few dollars’ worth of postage.
Even if you do try and complain, the company has done everything they said they would. And have, in fact, sent you a free sample of their CBD product.
These companies are also preying on those who have very little knowledge of the CBD industry. And hope you will not be able to tell a high-quality product from a bad one. The placebo effect from even the lowest quality bottle of oil can go a long way. Some people might feel the impact of the CBD they have been apparently sent without it actually having an impact on your body.
For those who have no previous experience of CBD, these placebo effects might just be enough for them to place an order or sign up to a subscription service, despite the poor quality of their free sample.
The Hemp Seed Oil Scam
Being sent low-quality CBD product that has little effect on your body might sound like a bad enough scam. Some companies rely on their customers having little to no knowledge of CBD.
This is known as the hemp scam because what customers actually receive is a free sample of hemp seed oil. while CBD and hemp might come from the same plant, they have a very different impact on your body. They cannot be substituted for one another.
Hemp seed oil is cheaper to produce and is actually closer to sunflower seed oil and jojoba oil than it is CBD.
When sending out free samples, many companies are not even interested in keeping you as a long term customer. They simply what to make quick money. Sending out hemp seed oil as opposed to CBD oil saves them a large sum of money. And, most importantly, still gets your valuable card details.
Not all companies are out to scam you, and you should not be put off trusting CBD brands altogether. The majority of the well-known and respected brands want their customers to be satisfied with the products they receive. They want you to return time and time again and to be a company you can trust.
Companies that are looking for your long term customers are more likely to send you free samples for free, with no hidden postage costs. They know that doing so will most likely lead to future sales. And after all, a free sample really should be free.
How to Spot a Scam
There are a few simple things that you can do when shopping for CBD online to ensure that you do not fall victim to free sample scams. A good rule is that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
If a brand claim that they are going to send you a ton of free samples and all you have to do is pay a few dollars for postage, the odds are there is more to the deal than they are letting on. You have to use your own judgment when doing anything online. And if it does not feel right, do not feel pressured to continue.
Make sure actually to check, as well. Just a couple of minutes reading the terms and conditions could save you hours of stress down the line. It is within the requirements that you will discover whether or not you are signing up for a subscription service. And, if so, what you have to do after receiving your free sample to avoid being charged.
You can do research on the brand, such as reading reviews from other customers; if there are hundreds of people saying it is a scam, then it most likely is. When reading reviews, try to stay away from studies on the brand’s website. This means that the company has control over the reviews you can see. And can quickly delete those that are less than favorable.
If after doing these things you are still not 100% confident, do not share your bank or card details. It is better to miss out on a free sample than risk losing large sums of money and your time to a scam.
What to Do if You Think You Have Been Scammed
If you do find yourself as the victim of a CBD free sample scam, there are a number of things you can do. Your first step is going to be to contact the company; unfortunately, this is not always possible with dead phone lines and email addresses that do not reply.
Even if you are lucky enough to get through to their customer service team, your chances of getting a refund are slim, but it is always worth a try. With some companies, a robust, no-nonsense approach does seem to work, and the threat of bad publicity is enough to get your money back.
Your last option is to contact your bank or credit card company. Some credit card companies are great when it comes to dealing with online scams and will issue you a refund and investigate the company in question on your behalf.
Banks are less likely to do this, but they usually do have a system in place for customers who have lost large sums of money to a scam. The critical thing to remember is your bank or credit card company is on your side and will do their best to get your money back, and they tend to have more power when it comes to dealing with online scammers than individuals.
Final Thoughts on Free CBD Samples
Online scams are not limited to the CBD industry, and the most important thing to remember when shopping online is to trust your judgment and be vigilant. The internet provides scammers with access to a broad audience and the ability to make a lot of money fast while disappearing just as quickly.
There is no reason that you should be put off from shopping for CBD products online and even taking advantage of promotions and free samples on offer, but just that you have to be careful and fully trust a company before parting with your bank details. And remember when a deal sounds too good to be true, that’s because it most likely is.