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BBB Scam Alert: How To Spot A Phony Discount When Buying CBD Online

Cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient of cannabis, is now legal in many US states. BBB warns consumers to do their research before purchasing these products. BBB Scam Tracker received dozens of reports from frustrated consumers who thought they bought discounted CBD online but ended up with hundreds of dollars in credit card charges.

How the scam works:

You see an ad for CBD on social media or in an online search. A company is offering new customers a significant discount on CBD gummies. For example, one common scam offers a buy-one-get-one free deal. Unfortunately, if you order the discounted gummies, the scammers now have your credit card number. 

Victims report being charged for extra products or an on-going monthly subscription to which they never agreed. One Indianapolis person reported losing more than $130 after attempting to purchase CBD gummies from a fake website. 

Other victims experienced being charged random amounts for products they never received.

Once scammers have your credit card information, cancelling is not easy! Consumers report that scammers used numerous excuses to avoid issuing refunds. They claimed everything from trouble with the computer system to it being outside the cancellation window. Many victims also told BBB Scam Tracker that the charges continued even after they cancelled their subscription.

Tips for avoiding this scam:

  • 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 seeing the terms and conditions. This is a huge red flag. If you can’t find them or can’t understand to what you’re agreeing, 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.

For more information:

Read BBB’s special report on free trial offer scams. Learn more about scams on social media advertising.

Stay one step ahead of scammers by subscribing to BBB’s weekly Scam Alert emails.

If you’ve been a victim of free trial offer scam, please report your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker. By doing so you can help others to avoid falling prey to scammers.

The Better Business Bureau has empowered people to find businesses, brands and charities they can trust for over 110 years. In 2021, people turned to BBB more than 200 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 25,000 charities, free at BBB.org. Local, independent BBBs can be found across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Indiana, which was founded in 1916 and serves 46 counties.