The Goop-ification of wellness is on the way out (you can thank Gen Z)
Rina Raphael, Los Angeles Times
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.
Editor’s note: Since the publication of this alert, the Utah Department of Commerce has taken action against Vapex LLC, citing it for 329 counts of violations of two consumer protection acts. The company reached a settlement agreement with the state, agreeing to pay $16,450 of a $822,500 fine. But TINA.org has also filed a complaint with Utah over similar claims being made in ads by 02Pur, an e-cigarette company with ties to Vapex.
TINA.org came across this e-mail advertising Vapex e-cigarettes.
From: Vapex e-cig <[email protected]>
Date: November 4, 2013 12:32:14 PM EST
Subject: Vapex e-Cigarette freestarter Kit
Vapex electronic cigarette free starter kit
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 2/12/2016.
Rina Raphael, Los Angeles Times
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