CBD on Shark Tank: Be Careful of ‘As Seen on TV’ CBD Oil Product Claims
The CBD industry is exploding with growth, and with that growth inevitably comes scams. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a surge of sleazy CBD product manufacturers claiming to have been featured on the popular ABC show “Shark Tank.”
One prominently-advertised CBD product claims it was featured on “the most watched episode in Shark Tank history” when two sisters “won over the Shark Tank panel”, earning a $2.5 million total investment from all six Sharks.
Unfortunately, this is a complete scam and a blatant lie. As of September 2019, no CBD product has ever been featured on Shark Tank. As one of the CBD industry’s leading online authorities, we wanted to warn you about the surge of CBD scams making their way around the internet.
How the Scam Works
Here’s the basic version of how these CBD scams work in 2019:
- Step 1) You click on a link or advertisement for CBD
- Step 2) The page dazzles you with information, claiming that a miraculous CBD product was featured on Shark Tank
- Step 3) The webpage claims all six Sharks invested millions of dollars into the company
- Step 4) The webpage also features real-looking Facebook comments, celebrity endorsements, and even quotes from doctors
- Step 5) Impressed, you decide to buy one or more bottles of the CBD product
Once you’ve entered your contact information or credit card information, you’ve officially been scammed. At this point, you’re going to experience one of several different consequences.
What’s the Catch?
There are a number of potential “catches” behind this scam. If you’re lucky, you’re only going to lose some money. If you’re unlucky, you could quite literally die from a bad CBD product. Consequences include:
You Get an Overpriced CBD Product
When scammers advertise CBD products with ridiculous claims, they’re typically just exaggerating the claims of a separate CBD product. The scammers might just send you a rebranded package from another company at a 200% markup, for example. You just paid 2x or 3x more than you needed to for a product.
You Get an Underdosed CBD Product
Many scammy CBD products don’t disclose their dosage. You may end up paying $250 for a product made from 99% water. All legitimate CBD products will disclose their CBD dosage upfront. After all, that’s what you’re paying for.
You Pay Exorbitant Hidden Costs
Some companies legitimately sell you a good CBD product, but they overwhelm you with hidden costs. A company might claim you can get a bottle of CBD for just $7, for example. In reality, the company will quietly charge your credit card hundreds of dollars 14 days later because that bottle was just a “trial bottle”.
Look for hidden costs in the terms and conditions. Sometimes, scammers will disclose these costs in an attempt to avoid legal trouble; in other cases, they’re not disclosed till your final invoice.
Your Personal or Financial Information Gets Stolen
Some CBD product websites will never ship you any type of CBD product. They just lure you in with whatever CBD story they want to tell you, then steal your credit card or personal information as soon as you input it. If the website does not use HTTPS, then never input your credit card information. And of course, no CBD company is ever going to need your Social Security Number or similar information.
You’re Lured in by Fake or Exaggerated Health Benefits
Some CBD scammers lure in the most vulnerable people: people seeking relief from chronic pain, PTSD, and other symptoms. To lure in these people, they’ll promise huge health benefits. Some CBD scams feature fake quotes from fake doctors, for example, claiming their CBD is a miracle cure. Other CBD products claim to be cure-alls for everything from weight loss to cancer to diabetes.
Your CBD Product Contains Unlabeled or Dangerous Ingredients
At worst, the CBD scammers could sell you cheap, dangerous CBD products. Your oil might contain heavy metals, pesticides, toxins, or other dangerous compounds, for example. Some contain synthetic THC to trick you into thinking CBD is working as intended, for example.
How Do Free CBD Sample Scams Work?
You may think: “I’m not being scammed. The company promised me a free trial. I signed up for the free trial and only paid $7. How is that a scam?”
Some legitimate CBD companies do offer free scams. You may only pay the shipping costs and receive a trial bottle in the mail, for example.
In many cases, however, CBD scammers use free trials to lure you in. Here’s what may happen when you sign up for a free CBD product trial:
14 Day Free Trial: Some free trials only last 14 days. If you don’t return your CBD product to a specific address (often located halfway across the country or around the world) within that 14 day period, your credit card will automatically be charged hundreds of dollars.
Automatic Shipment Programs: Automatic shipment programs, or autoship programs, will lure you in with a free trial bottle. Then, 14 or 30 days after receiving the free trial bottle, you receive a full-size CBD bottle in the mail – and your credit card has already been charged hundreds of dollars.
Hidden Costs: Nobody gives anything away for free on the internet. Everyone expects something in return. With CBD product free trials, there may be hidden costs bundled in, including extra charges for shipping, “convenience fees”, “service fees”, and more.
In many cases, all of these fees are disclosed in the terms and conditions of the CBD product. You know when you check a box claiming you’ve read the terms and conditions? 95% of people never read those terms and conditions. Scammers take advantage of this to trick you into legally signing up for absurd terms and conditions.
“Angela and Yoojin Kim” Have Never Been on Shark Tank, Nor Do They Sell CBD Products
In 2017, we started seeing advertisements featuring two Korean women named Angela and Yoojin Kim. These two women reportedly received the biggest deal in Shark Tank history.
Not only did every single Shark invest in Angela and Yoojin Kim’s company, but the episode also became the most-watched episode in Shark Tank history.
There’s just one problem: Angela and Yoojin Kim do not exist. They have never been featured on Shark Tank.
The two women you see in the advertisements are, in reality, are Sara Lee and Christie Chang from New York City. The two appeared on Shark Tank in 2016 advertising Korean beauty products under the brand “Glow Recipe”. Sara was wearing a red dress, while Christie was wearing a blue dress.
You can watch a YouTube clip of Sara and Christie’s episode as featured on Korean news here.
Since that episode aired, scammers have used images from the episode to advertise all sorts of different products.
In 2017, scammers claimed the pair were selling testosterone pills under bizarre names like “Alpha Monster Advanced”.
In 2019, a new version of the scam shows the pair advertising a CBD product called TerraBiovita CBD. Scammers have even photoshopped a pot leaf on the television screen behind the pair to make it look like they were advertising CBD products. But be mindful this is just one example of many out there.
Most Shark Tank Marketed CBD Products Are Scams
In September 2019, scammers started to prominently advertise a variety of products, and started seeing this trend spread out between multiple brands and oils.
Scammers have created multiple sales pages with varying stories. Inevitably, the product name will be changed to prevent people like you from reading articles like this.
The scammers behind most of these CBD claim that two sisters, MIT chemists Angela and Yoojin Kim, received the biggest deal in Shark Tank history when all six Sharks teamed up to invest $2.5 million in XXX CBD oil product.
The scammers also describe CBD as “Nature’s oxycontin”, claiming that product users can experience similar health benefits and pain relief to the popular prescription medication.
The scammers have also fabricated a fake study, claiming that this newly-branded CBD cured arthritis and joint pain in 97% of American adults. The scammers claim people can experience similar health benefits when taking CBD for knee pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, psoriatic arthritis, neck pain, and back pain.
Jennifer suffers from pain, stress, and anxiety owing to her busy lifestyle. She pegged this to her high workloads and sleep deprivation. Jennifer has been using this CBD for the last 5 months.”
There’s even a fake quote from Aniston herself, who claims the product cured her joint pain and insomnia overnight.
The page is filled with fake testimonials, fake Facebook comments, and other information designed to convince you that XXX-CBD is the best CBD product on the planet.
All of this, however, is completely fake, and all of these CBD-branded products should be a complete scam unless proven othwerise. When you go to pay for your “Shark Tank CBD oil” purchase, you’re greeted with a fake free trial.
Most of these CBD-focused Shark Tank free trials require you to pay a $4.95 or $7 “shipping fee” today. In small, barely-readable text at the bottom of the page, you’ll see one small problem: your credit card will automatically be charged between $80-$90 plus shipping 15 days after your trial bottle ships. Then, your credit card will continue to be charged $80-$90 every month until you cancel.
In other words, your “$7 free trial” will end up costing you over $200 just 45 days after you order. Unless you call the company to cancel, your credit card will continue being charged every month.
You can call the company to cancel your subscription. The company does not, however, offer any refunds.
The sales page is also filled with information designed to convince you to buy a Shark Tank-featured CBD oil product immediately, including a countdown timer and a “Low Stock: High Sell-Out Risk” warning.
No CBD Product Has Ever Been Featured on Shark Tank
Eventually, a CBD product will be featured on Shark Tank. As CBD and hemp are now (mostly) legal nationwide, it’s inevitable that one of television’s most popular shows will feature entrepreneurs from the rapidly-growing industry.
As of September 2019, however, this has not yet happened, and no CBD product has ever been featured on Shark Tank.
In addition, it’s rare for a company to receive an investment from all five or six Sharks. Cup Board Pro famously did it in October 2018 when the Sharks split an investment of $100,000 for 20% of the business.
Famous Shark Kevin O’Leary Will Never Invest in Marijuana While It’s Federally Illegal
There’s one other funny thing about CBD Shark Tank scams going around the internet: one of the best-known Sharks, Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary, claims he will never invest in cannabis as long as it’s illegal at a federal level.
In interviews with Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, and other outlets, Kevin O’Leary has repeatedly claimed that he doesn’t plan to invest in cannabis:
“Never would I touch this. Never,” said Kevin O’Leary to Yahoo Finance in October 2018, just days after Canada legalized recreational cannabis use nationwide.
O’Leary’s stance towards cannabis investing dates all the way back to 2015, when he told CTV News that he saw “spectacular” profits from cannabis investing but would never invest in the space:
“My attorneys in the U.S. have told me, should I travel to a state like Texas, or Florida, or anywhere where it’s illegal, as a shareholder of an operation that’s distributing (marijuana) over state lines … I could go to jail for 30 years,” he said.
All of this adds up to a simple conclusion: until cannabis is federally legal in the United States, it seems unlikely that Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary will invest in any type of CBD product.
So when a scammy CBD company tries to convince you that all six Sharks invested in one specific CBD product, remember that Kevin O’Leary is not investing in cannabis anytime soon.
Other Sharks May or May Not Invest in Cannabis
Other Sharks on Shark Tank have been equally as outspoken about their thoughts on cannabis investing.
Barbara Corcoran, for example, claims she has only tried cannabis twice in her life and it’s not a big deal for her personally, but she is interested in investing:
“I tried it twice. The first time At 35 and again 10 years later. It was weird and not for me, but it’s big business and I’d rather invest in it…Pot’s a big business. People know what the profits are going to be, so I think hitting it fast and early is the number-one prize.”
Robert Herjavec, meanwhile, was equally supportive, but feels the ship has already sailed for investors:
“I have no problem with it. I think anything to legitimize any kind of substance that used to be illegal is great because I think you always want to take the criminal element out of it, and I like things that are regulated…
In terms of a business trend, I think it’s already too late to invest. Like any trend, if we’re talking about it, it’s already happened. It’s the old Wayne Gretzky quote, ‘Don’t go where the puck is. Go where the puck’s about to be.”
Mark Cuban adopted a stance similar to Kevin O’Leary, however, claiming he doesn’t plan to invest in cannabis:
“Would I invest in the cannabis industry? No. Not because I have anything against pot. I don’t care. But right now it’s a gold rush. When everybody’s rushing in it’s hard to keep track of what everybody’s doing because there’s a new startup every single day. I think the oversaturation of the market creates a very difficult challenge. Plus, Snoop’s in it [laughs]. And if Snoop Dogg’s in it, it’s over for everyone else.”
Finally, Lori Greiner seems ambivalent:
“Everybody should be able to do it legally. Would I invest in it, though? I don’t know. I have so many investments as it is, I don’t need another one. I’ll let other people deal with that, because it’s not that easy of a space to navigate.”
Former Shark Tank Investor Kevin Harrington Has Endorsed a CBD Company
As far as we can tell, there’s only one legitimate connection between CBD and Shark Tank: Kevin Harrington, one of the original investors on Shark Tank, endorsed a CBD company called Wild Things Botanicals in July 2019.
Harrington is an American entrepreneur and founder of the As Seen On TV brand. Wild Things Botanicals makes CBD oils, capsules, gummies, skin creams, lotions, balms, pain creams, and more with US-grown hemp.
Harrington appeared on the first two seasons of Shark Tank from 2009 to 2011. He has not appeared on the show since, and Wild Things Botanicals has never been featured on Shark Tank.
Final Word: Be Wary of Any CBD Products that Mention Shark Tank
When the first CBD company is inevitably featured on Shark Tank, it will be a big deal for the CBD industry. You’ll hear plenty of news about it from legitimate news websites.