As with any market there are bound to be some scams. Of course, the electronic cigarette market is no different. When it comes to buying anything online, it is important to take care so you can avoid being the victim of a scam. To do so it is crucial to be informed, do research and generally avoid getting involved with anything that does not sound right or gives you reason to feel hesitant.
While there may be a few different scams out there, it doesn’t mean you should assume all of these markets are fraudulent. As with anything else, just keep in mind it is buyer beware. In order to help you steer clear of some potential frauds online, here is an idea of what one possible scam could look like.
- Generally, the main problem has been with companies claiming to offer a free trial. Remember that when it comes to buying products, if it sounds too good it probably is. If not it should at least involve some further research to help ensure you are not being lured into a potential scam. You should never give anyone your personal information or financial data without good reason and certainly not if you aren’t sure it is trustworthy.
- Although the offer is for a free smokeless device, you must provide the company with your credit card, debit card or checking account number. Often, the fine print may even disclose that the financial information is for things such as shipping and handling. In some cases, there may even be mention of the fact that you are automatically signing up for an auto-enroll program that will regularly send you refills for your device, but promise you can cancel at any time if you should feel the need.
- Your device may even arrive, but the scam is that the quality is so lacking that almost no consumer would be willing to keep it. These electronic cigarettes are often cheap, poorly assembled and likely to have problems with leakage practically from the first day you start using it. In fact, often times if you are ordering from areas of the world that manage to bypass meeting manufacturing regulations and your e-liquid or device may even be dangerous for use.
- The trouble begins when you notice money disappearing from your bank account or charges showing up on your credit card. These are intended to be for refills, but are overpriced and happening too frequently without you even needing refills yet. Normally you would take several approaches to try to put an end to this, but none of them are quick fixes. For example, you speak to your bank about these charges and usually have to jump through hoops to try to put an end to them. Getting the charges reversed is likely to be an entirely different process and not any easier to deal with.
- You may even take it upon yourself to contact the company in an attempt to put an end to the automatic ordering. Of course this is usually when you find you cannot get a hold of anyone when you call or email the company. Even if you do get in touch with someone from the company, they usually assure you that your account will be closed or deactivated but it may take some time. Time in which a few more charges go through and you find that you are technically still enrolled and will have to deal with trying to contact them all over again.
- Usually the final result is cancelling your cards and starting fresh, all while trying to still sort out the mess already created.
So what can you do to avoid being the victim of fraud like this?
- The first thing is to be aware that a free trial could be a scam or at least come with some serious strings attached.
- Always try to research the company to look for scam alerts online. You can also check with companies through the Better Business Bureau.
- Also check popular social networking places such as Facebook to see if there is any buzz on there about whether the company’s customers are happy or doing nothing but complaining.
- Remember, the bottom line is that it is never a good idea to give out your information to anyone unless you have verified it is a trustworthy outfit. This is especially true of any data that links to your finances.
Keep in mind this certainly doesn’t mean that all e-cig companies are scam artists just out to steal your money and drain your bank account. If possible you may want to avoid even reputable companies that offer auto-enroll for refills, usually in return for free shipping. Keep control of your payments and you may be able to avoid problems.