Every so often, a subscription service pops up that really isn’t. In some cases it was simply a poorly thought out and executed business plan. In other cases however, it was an out and out scam intended to defraud subscribers of recurring payments for little if nothing in exchange. Here are a few tips for avoiding potential subscription box scams.
There has been several new boxes pop up lately that I haven’t passed along simply because I wasn’t comfortable with the website. If a subscription service is setting up shop on a blogspot.com address, I have real concerns. Same goes for those operating strictly on Facebook. You can honest to goodness buy a domain name for $1 these days. If a “business” isn’t ready to invest $1 in a domain (and possibly another $3.95 per month if they want to be self-hosted), I have a sneaking suspicion they don’t have much funding to start with. That can spell trouble when it comes to the real costs of operations in this industry – shipping.
A business does not need a million dollar web design to be legit. But, they should not ever, EVER resort to copying another’s content or images. This is a totally shady practice and probably copyright infringement as well, though that part really isn’t your concern. There are legitimate, inexpensive ways to create a website. If someone is in such a hurry to start collecting your payment they don’t take the time to do so, it is a big red flag.
Lack of Reviews
I’m not talking about announcements (ex. “Here’s a new subscription service…” I am talking about real reviews with real pictures from real bloggers or vloggers. If there are no reviews available and no chit chat in the beauty forums, wait a few months and keep an eye out for feedback.
Take a gander at the social profiles of the subscription service in question. (They do have social profiles, right?!) If it is just links to their website with no interaction and no personalization, perhaps you should hold off for a bit. That isn’t to say every Facebook Page is going to be hopping. They aren’t, especially if they are new. But if there are 10,000 Likes and it is crickets over there, I am questioning the legitimacy of those followers. If the company never shares anything other than their own links, I have to wonder if there is really anyone behind the profile.
These words of wisdom are not the end all and be all of legit subscriptions. There are some awesome small indie boxes out there. And there are legitimate services that simply go out of business. The moral of this story is to trust your gut. If things don’t look on the up-and-up maybe they aren’t. Pay attention to those red flags. You do not need to be a charter member of every startup. It’s okay to wait.
Looking for a reputable company? Check out the subscription box list for recommendations, reviews and available discounts.