For a few years now, scam techniques have been perpetrated by shady individuals selling generic kits and disposable e-cigs over the web. These scams are easily spotted by looking past their “Free Trial Offer” disguise and offer what seems to be a good deal. Usually offering you a free e-cigarette and often asking you to cover a small shipping and handling fee. What they try to hide, is the fine print agreement that comes with the so-called free trial offer. Beware of any of these offers you might encounter online or from spam emails. Let us go over exactly how they work, so you can avoid potentially losing hundreds of dollars.
The free e-cig trial offer scam
The scam first presents you with a nice looking advertisement offering you an electronic cigarette starter kit at 0$ but charge you the S&H (Shipping & Handling) and this is a key factor which we will expose shortly. They often advertise the product being worth $100+ and being offered at 0$ in favor if misleading the public to believe it is completely free, however if you we’re to read the fine print Membership Agreement Terms & Conditions that is usually found somewhere at the bottom of the sales funnel, you can quickly see how short your free trial really is.
Get charged full price 15 days later
Those unsuspecting buyers that skipped over the agreement end up with a very bad surprise just 15 days past signing up. The membership terms specify that those who enroll in the free-trial offer, agree to be charged the full cost of usually $99.99 for the starter kit and to add to the damage, it also specifies the agreement to sign-up for a monthly recurring cartridge replacement shipment. The scams we saw we’re charging as high as $80 for only 10 cartridges! That is 8$ for a cartridge that would normally cost less than $2 or $3.
What a rip-off!
Not only is the starter kit overpriced for what you get, which is usually a battery, one cartridge and a charger, the quality is shameful. These scammers use re-branded no-name china made e-cigarettes along with questionable e-liquid sources. Without any oversight of production, one should never buy or use e-liquid or cartridges from an unknown or trusted source. Instead, always buy directly from the manufacturers online, ensuring you get a safe and top shelf quality product.
Be suspicious of any offer that charges only for shipping & handling
All of these free trial scams are able to function because of the careless decision to give them your credit card payment details. These scams are not limited to e-cigarettes and you can often spot the same techniques used for other free trials that end up charging you full cost half-way through the month. Free things are hard to come by, and while some reputable brands have given away free disposable e-cigs in the past, one must always be skeptical of these offers. Instead, opt for reading some reviews online and make an informed choice.
What to do if you have been scammed
If you are recognizing having been taken into one of these scams, you can fight back, but these sites make it difficult for you to return the product. If it has been less than 14-15 days, you can still contact them and advise them to cancel the order and that you wish to return your free trial. They will provide you an RMA number and you will have to ship it back as instructed and they should not be charging your card. If they do, contact your credit card provider and advise them of what happened, they will initiate a chargeback. Ensure that your membership has been fully cancelled to avoid any recurring refill packages form being charged and shipped.
They usually have an agreement to accept returns within the 30 first days only, so if it has been past the first 15 days and you have been charged you can still usually return it but with for small re-stocking fee. Past 30 days they may refuse to provide you an RMA number and your only recourse of action is to ask your credit card provider to help you initiate a chargeback. Advise them you feel like you we’re scammed by a misleading ad and they may take your side and force the seller to take back the product.
Smart online shopping
Making just about any type of purchase online can present some pitfalls. The key is to always do a minimum amount of research, here we present you with detailed reviews of all the best electronic cigarettes available to be purchased directly from them on their websites. This helps you pick not only the safest but also the best performing products at competitive prices. These other scams or shady brands usually have overpriced knockoffs, while opting for shopping directly for the best e-cig companies, you can get the lowest prices while gaining nothing but the best vaping experience.