Published on November 4th, 20132
Vapex E-cigarette Freestarter Kit
TINA.org came across this e-mail advertising Vapex e-cigarettes.
From: Vapex e-cig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: November 4, 2013 12:32:14 PM EST
Subject: Vapex e-Cigarette freestarter Kit
Vapex electronic cigarette free starter kit
- Spelling. (What’s a “freestarter?”)
- virus software blocked the links on our computer.
- If you do a web search for Vapex and find the terms and conditions of its “free” starter kit, you will learn that it is only free with a $4.95 shipping and handling charge. After a 12-day evaluation period, you will be charged $99 a month for automatic shipments. In other words, it’s a negative-option offer. And not free.
- There is a lot of fine print in the company’s terms and conditions regarding refunds and returns. If you want to return the starter kit and get a refund, you have to return it in its “original unopened package” (so, say, if you want to open the package to try it . . . guess what, you bought it — so much for free). You also have to get a special Return Merchandise Authorization number by calling a customer-service agent. You will be also be charged a $17.50 restocking fee, and shipping and handling fees are not refundable.
- Once you purchase Vapex, the company offers you a risk-free trial for JJuice. But check the terms and conditions for that too because you are also enrolled in an automatic monthly shipping program and will be charged $79.95 or $99.95 depending on which paragraph of the terms and conditions you read. And, you have to return it — unopened in its “original packaging”- within 16 days to cancel.
Since posting our Ad Alert on Vapex, TINA.org has received complaints from readers about the company. Readers said that they never received the product after ordering it, that it came without packaging and that it arrived so late the 12-day return period expired before the product arrived. The FTC has received more than two dozen complaints about Vapex and Utah state officials have also received complaints. Consumers detailed similar problems in the complaints, including that their credit cards were charged $99 before they received the product, that it was difficult to get a refund because often the product arrived after the 12-day return window, they couldn’t stop the monthly credit-card charges for new shipments and that details about restocking fees and other costs were hidden.
One consumer wrote:
On 1/8/14 my checking account was debited $99.50 from this company and resulted in an overdraft in my account. As of this date the trial product had not been received. I attempted to contact the company and was given a run around by the call center operator. On 1/9/14 the product was received. I called the company again and was told that the $99.95 was for another ‘auto-shipment’ that could not be cancelled as it had already shipped…I believe this company is engaging in unfair business practices by encouraging consumers to ‘try before they buy’ yet not getting the product to them in a timely manner to actually try the product and cancel before the 12 day period has expired. This is equal to a ‘bait and switch.’
A follow up investigation by TINA.org found several deceptive practices. Vapex did not respond to TINA.org’s letter to cease and desist the misleading tactics and TINA.org filed a complaint with the FTC and Utah Attorney General. See the full investigation here.
If e-cigarettes are your thing (and we’re not saying they should be), there are many options out there. Maybe this isn’t the best one. For more information, see Is the New Cool a Smokeless Smoke?
This story was updated multiple times including most recently on 8/28/2014.
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