TINA.org or Truth IN Advertising has analyzed the misleading ecig marketing strategies. Consumers are curious about electronic cigarettes and they want to try using the products despite the warnings from public health officials that the safety of vaping is yet to b verified.

There are about 600 consumer complaints received by the FTC against ecigs. TINA was able to review these complaints via Freedom of Information request and found that the majority of consumers said that they signed up for free products at discounted price, but the company repetitively charged their cards that sometimes wiped out their accounts.

Consumer Complaints

Consumers have several concerns and they commonly complained about hidden conditions in fine prints that enroll them in automatic shipping programs. They also complained about the difficulty in contacting the company for canceling orders and returning items.

Some products were also defective but the company would not replace it. The anomalous website would also disappear just weeks after they placed their orders. Sometimes, products are delivered to customers sans the accessories shown on the website.

There were also complaints saying that the product was delivered later than the free trial period so they have ran out of time to return the product to avoid getting charged. Customers also complained about not being able unsubscribe or cancel from the auto-shipments since they have already opened the package.

Proliferation And Marketing

The ecig market expands at a rapid rate in the US. University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center’s study found that there are at least 10 new brands of ecigs that are introduced online each month. It showed 86% increase in 2012-2014. About one third to one half of sales is largely made from unregulated online frontier. Brands proliferate online, according to the study, because of the very little costs involved in setting up a website to promote and sell the products.

TINA.org found that companies aggressively market their products and use aggressive tactics like pop up ad on national websites. Consumers also reported about receiving texts, harassing calls and spam emails after taking an online survey. Several sites even offer consumers the opportunity to make money in order to make the deal more enticing.

Some site use health issues and claim that ecigarettes are healthier options. Over 50 companies were named in the FTC complaints and TINA found that many of them are marketing products in names that slightly differ from other websites so it becomes difficult for consumers to contact the right company. One address in Florida is even linked to roughly 20 ecigarette websites and another Florida address is linked to 25 websites.

Many consumers become interested since they want to give up smoking and would like to try ecigs. In the end, they realize that the brand they were enticed to purchase was not healthy for their wallets.

One company based in Florida, NoFlame, has been complained for 100 times or more. In BBB, there are 426 complaints against it and the websites was rated F in BBB. The website changed its offers slightly, but remains enrolling customers in the monthly payment program. One consumer had a difficult time returning a free product.

Another company based in Utah, Vapex, was complained to TINA.org by several consumers. Vapex is linked to various websites. The company had more than 24 FTC complaints and has F rating on BBB where it got over 80 complaints.

Misleading ecig marketing strategies of Vapex includes promising free trials. These offers are neither free nor true. One consumer ordered the free kit, but was charged $99.95. After calling the company, this consumer was told that there was nothing that could be done because it was sent by Vapor Ultra. The number given for Vapor Ultra was not working.

Reality Check

The Wild Wild West setting of the vaping industry has both scrupulous and unscrupulous vendors the opportunity to freely capitalize on the growing market. Thus, every consumer must practice vigilance in making any ecigarette purchase.

Lay down your money on the line once you have thoroughly researched about a brand/company and have verified that it is trustworthy.