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Beware of Free Electronic Cigarettes Being Offered Online

Posted August 12th, 2013 in News by Steve

If you have spent any period of time on the internet searching for an electronic cigarette, you have probably come across websites offering you a free trial electronic cigarette. Usually, all you need to pay for is the postage and handling, although sometimes this is included for free as well. Unfortunately, there are no such things as free e-cigarettes on the internet or anywhere else for that matter. These websites are actually scam websites that take your money and you may find it very difficult to get your money back down the track.

How the scam works

The scam works by tempting people with a free electric cigarette. This is admittedly a very tempting offer and it is not very surprising that people get taken in by this scam. Who doesn’t like free stuff? You are usually charged for postage, which seems fair enough considering that you are getting something for free. You proceed to provide your name, address, contact details and credit card number. The postage amount is then deducted from your card account and you are sent your electronic cigarette. So far, so good. After a short period – usually a month – another amount of money is deducted from your account by the same company. The amount is anywhere between $50 and $100. This is the ongoing cost for the re-fill cartridges required for your ‘free’ e-cigarette, which are posted to you on a regular basis and for which you are regularly charged. At this stage, you will probably try to contact the company that sent you the trial electric cigarette, but this will often be impossible as they will not have a contact number and emails will go unanswered. The next step will be to contact your bank or other financial institution and tell them to stop all debits by the electronic cigarette company. This, of course, is if you even notice that the money was debited from your account; most of these scam companies rely on people not noticing that the monthly amount is being withdrawn from their account.

How to avoid the scam

Our advice is to avoid these ‘free’ e-cigarette websites like the plague. There is very little in life that is truly free, and electric cigarettes most certainly do not fall into this category. Don’t let your desire to get something for free allow you to be tricked by this scam. If, however, you do decide to get a ‘free’ trial electronic cigarette, first ensure that the company has a telephone number on which it can be contacted. Then, do an online search of the company and try to find other people who have had dealings with the company in the past to see what their experiences were like. It is also a good idea to pay close attention to your monthly credit card statements to ensure that you know how much you are being charged and to whom the money is going. Make sure that the monthly re-fills are value for money and that you are not being over-charged.

If you have been the victim of this scam

Contact your bank immediately and tell them to stop the company from taking any more money out of your card account. Keep contacting the company as your persistence might eventually pay off and you will get your money back. Finally, it is also a good idea to report these scam companies to your state or territory consumer protection body.

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