The BBB encourages users to research online stores before buying

Published Sep 1, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / AlbertPego

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has had many calls from consumers concerned about issues they’ve had while trying to buy weed online. Sixty thousand consumers have contacted the bureau, and many of them have questions about the legality of a particular cannabis online business. Many have expressed concerns about delivery services when choosing to buy weed online.

This type of matter is not all the bureau is hearing. Consumers are calling in to register complaints or scams that they have fallen victim to. So let’s take a look at who is causing this concern.

New Westminster is the listed address of a cannabis online dispensary that has been of particular interest to the Mainland BC, BBB. Canadian Hemp Company has had some unhappy consumers. The BBB has received calls regarding purchasing cannabis from their online website. Complaints ranged from consumers receiving products they did not order to some not receiving any product at all.

The investigation

The BBB launched an investigation into the numerous complaints and uncovered information that would deem the business to be operating unlawfully. To operate a cannabis business in BC, one must receive a license for operating marijuana sales and services from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

What’s in an address?

After investigation, they uncovered that the registered address belonged to an unrelated business. The address belonged to a salon. The mystery continues, as the City of New Westminster has no record of any business license that is connected to the Canadian Hemp Co.

Look closely

When the website is studied, errors are abundantly clear. Punctuation and grammar issues are obvious, and Canadian consumers are encouraged to make their payments via bitcoin. The BBB is still waiting somewhat patiently for a response to the budding questions about the company's location, competency license, and business model. Consumers who call the BBB regarding Canadian Hemp Co. will now be informed of the F rating the company has attached to their business profile.

Taking responsibility

Karla Laird,  the manager for Community and Public Relations at The Better Business Burea,  which services Mainland BC is advising consumers to take extra caution and effort and to research the companies they intend to buy weed from before conducting business and parting with their hard-earned money.

Laird stresses that consumers need to caution when dealing with online retailers, and that includes cannabis retailers. Cannabis products are regulated for a reason. Karla stresses not to get distracted by some attractive deals that could be illegal, black market, or risky purchases. Engaging in these types of transactions will get you the loss of protection from the law if you find yourself in the middle of a scam.

Solutions

To protect your legal rights and your health BBB suggest that you only purchase from licensed companies. The BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch keeps records of the licensed cannabis retailers in the province. The OrgBook BC is another suggested resource for identifying legal registered non-medical marijuana retail stores, including private and legal public cannabis retail shops.

Forms of payment

For security and to avoid fraudulent transactions using a credit card provides an additional layer of protection. The charges that you dispute on the credit card are easier to solve this way. The methods of debit cards, pre-paid cards, gift cards, and cryptocurrency do not provide the same protection as a credit card.

Ending thoughts

Doing the needed research for any online business that involves you parting with your money is not an action that should give you any more stress than deciding which strain of cannabis is the best for you today.

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