The U.S. Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning to consumers about questionable “free trial” marketing practices for CBD products. BBB said it has received dozens of reports from consumers who responded to online pitches offering CBD samples for the cost of shipping and handling through credit cards.
Consumers complained that they were unknowingly enrolled in subscription programs, and were billed for hundreds of dollars after responding to the offers.
BBB said the consumer complaints, which came through its Scam Tracker system, mention “free trial” pitches ostensibly offered up by celebrities such as popular TV ministers Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen. “Be skeptical of celebrity endorsements. Resist being swayed by the use of a well-known name. Scammers often fake celebrity endorsements,” the BBB warned.
Consumers also reported that scammers used numerous excuses to avoid issuing refunds. Some blamed computer problems while others said consumer claims were past the cancellation deadline for the offer.
How the scam works
“You don’t find out until three weeks later that you have signed up for a subscription and you are charged $99,” one victim reported to Scam Tracker. “They will not refund your money. They say you had 14 days to cancel, but there is no description of that on the website.”
BBB said some victims also reported on Scam Tracker that the charges continued even after they cancelled their subscription.
Numerous victims of the CBD free trial con reported not seeing the terms and conditions for the offers. “This is a huge red flag,” BBB said in the warning. “If you can’t find them or can’t understand what you’re agreeing to, don’t sign up.”
BBB also urged consumers to report any problems with CBD marketing scams to credit card companies, through which they can dispute fraudulent charges.