eBayUK quietly cracked the CBD door open last month adding gated sub-categories under Health & Beauty for approved sellers. If Amazon and eBay prohibit the sale of CBD, why is it that you can find it on their platforms? For the most part, these products are scams. Customers speak up. British Cannabis has broken new ground by being one of the first permitted sellers of CBD food supplements and CBD cosmetics on the leading e-commerce platform, eBay.
eBay Launches CBD Cannabidiol Pilot Program In UK
CBD and cannabis products have long existed in a grey area on the eBay marketplace but as regulations ease, so does the path for legitimate businesses to sell these products online.
It didn’t make many waves here in the US, but eBayUK quietly cracked the CBD door open last month with the addition of gated sub-categories under Health & Beauty specifically for CBD products.
CBD products from a raft of sellers are now set to be sold on Ebay UK ‘permanently’, marking a dramatic shift in sentiments from one of the world’s largest retailers and an ‘important moment for the industry’. Ebay, which has historically enforced a strict ban on the sale of CBD products on its pla…
eBay told BusinessCann that while this is a pilot program, they intend for compliant CBD products to be available permanently on the platform and that it has ‘approved 20 CBD brands for launch across 15 individual Ebay stores’, including Love Hemp, Yooma Wellness, British Cannabis and Blossom.
“The regulatory framework around CBD products has evolved, enabling businesses to sell CBD food and cosmetic products in compliance with applicable regulations.”
“Ebay has therefore decided to open up this category so that approved sellers, in compliance with applicable regulations, can offer CBD products that are already available for purchase through both online and high street retailers.”
While vendors are able to apply to become approved CBD sellers, a process it says can take ‘several weeks’, Ebay says all products must be in the process of being validated by the FSA.
“Sellers comply with the UK regulations applicable to the sale of CBD food products and follow the authorization process set up by the FSA before placing the product in the market. If a validated application is not authorised by the FSA, the seller will remove the product as per the FSA guidelines.”
How do CBD sales on eBayUK work?
Sellers who wish to sell CBD products must fill out an application and once approved, those products must be listed in special CBD sub-categories.
The eBayUK policy pages have been updated as well.
CBD products that comply with all applicable legal requirements may only be sold by permitted sellers only. See the Food policy regarding CBD food products and the Cosmetics policy regarding CBD cosmetic products that are permitted for sale on eBay.
Activity that doesn’t follow eBay policy could result in a range of actions including for example: administratively ending or cancelling listings, hiding or demoting all listings from search results, lowering seller rating, buying or selling restrictions, and account suspension. All fees paid or payable in relation to listings or accounts on which we take any action will not be refunded or otherwise credited to your account.
Just from a quick search, it does appear eBay is doing a decent job of enforcing this new policy – all of the CBD products I checked were listed only in the CBD specific categories.
What does this mean for eBay.com and other countries?
CBD policy on the US site in particular has long been a point of confusion and frustration for sellers. Back in 2018, eBay disclosed shoppers purchased 39,000 cannabidiol (CBD) oils and supplements and conducted 284,000 related searches. However, at the same time, many sellers complained of having their accounts shut down for selling CBD products.
I have read through the prohibited items list but can’t find mention of it. They removed my item before but I saw on Yahoo how ebay was in an article commenting about CBD sales yet I cant sell it.
I have been selling products on Ebay’s platform for 18 years with a 100% positive feedback rating through my personal account. I recently read an article where one of Ebay’s executives stated that searches and sales of CBD oil products have greatly increased throughout 2018. Link to Yahoo article…
Back in 2019, an eBay rep on Twitter stated CBD products had been prohibited globally due to various regulations and difficulty of enforcement – while that is obviously changing for the UK, I wouldn’t expect it to change for US or other locations any time soon.
The sale of CBD products is highly regulated in many countries. While they may be legal to buy and sell in some countries, they are regulated by the FDA and enforced by some law enforcement agencies. For this reason, we have decided to prohibit the items globally. Mary
— Ask eBay (@AskeBay) May 24, 2019
Also in 2019, when asked for clarification on eBay’s policies regarding CBD, community staff member Trinton said:
At this time, we do not allow for the sale of pure CBD oil, consumable products containing CBD, or any product containing CBD that advertises any sort of legal high or drug effect. Hemp products such as paper, roper, clothing, and cosmetics are generally acceptable. Topical creams that include CBD oil as one of the ingredients and hemp oil/fiber are allowed as long as the previous guidelines are followed.
In summary, some products that contain CBD are allowed with certain restrictions. Pure CBD oil or products claiming a drug-like effect are not allowed.
wrote: Can one of the mods please clarify Ebays rules regarding the sale of products such as cbd oil? Thank you. [email protected] [email protected] Hi , happy to clarify our stance on CBD products. At this time, we do not allow for the sale of pure CBD oil, consumable products containing CBD, or any produ…
For now, the UK site is the only eBay market where it is explicitly allowed for approved sellers – sellers in other countries should be warned that just because they may see other sellers doing it, doesn’t mean it’s not a violation or couldn’t be cause for having their accounts shut down.
What do you think of eBay’s new CBD policies for the UK? Do you trust eBay’s application and vetting process for restricted categories? Let us know in the comments below!
Beware of CBD scams on Amazon and eBay
Amazon and eBay both explicitly prohibit the sale of CBD because they are governed by American Federal Law. Why is it then, that we can find so many CBD products listed on their platforms? We’ve found that the majority of these are scams via third-party sellers and that customers who are not naive are figuring this out quickly and speaking up.
Amazon and eBay: the ideal environment for a CBD scam
In the UK, buying CBD has never been easier. Every day there are new products, new brands and more choice. It also appears to be a great time to start selling it too. The news is full of stories of hemp businesses being started by celebrities, sports stars, budding entrepreneurs, working parents and even teenagers.
While this has been mostly successful in supporting customers to find high-quality, it has also driven the scammers to a new home; forum selling sites like Amazon and eBay.
By implementing strict ‘no CBD’ policies, both Amazon and eBay have unwittingly created the perfect environment for them to thrive. While working in different ways, both Amazon and eBay allow third-party sellers to list their items on their sites. To do this, the seller must comply with the rules or risk having their listings removed.
On Amazon.co.uk CBD products are completely prohibited, their terms state:
Any product labelled as one of the items listed or claiming to contain CBD, is promptly removed. The same is true of eBay. Their guidelines are less specific but the result is still the same:
The following items are not allowed to be listed on eBay:
While the legislation referred to in their guidelines doesn’t represent the government’s most recent stance, eBay appears to remain unclear as to the current status of CBD. Any products labelled as ‘CBD’ are removed citing legal issues. One seller received a response from eBay when they enquired as to why they had removed his listing:
Unexpectedly this resulted in crooked sellers filling both sites with hemp oil products made to look like they contain CBD. These fakes can be very convincing to those who haven’t tried the genuine item. They are often priced at a similar level to CBD and have amounts in mg on the label but often just contain hemp oil.
Hemp oil, while a great source of fatty acids and some minerals is not as sought after, nor as expensive as CBD. Many health food shops stock 500ml bottles of hemp oil or hemp seed oil for less than £10.
How CBD scams work on eBay and Amazon
On both sites, if you search for ‘CBD oil’, you will see hundreds of products referring to themselves as ‘hemp extract oil’ or ‘hemp oil extract’. Some are priced between £25 and £45, which is precisely the kind of price you would expect for a good quality CBD oil, except they aren’t. They are in small bottles of between 10ml and 30ml with a dropper but don’t contain any CBD and most probably don’t have anything more than traces of cannabinoids if at all.
Others also look like CBD but are priced between £4 and £8, giving the impression that you are getting a bargain. In fact, they are just overpriced hemp oil. While they aren’t as much of a rip-off as the others, they still make sales by misleading their customers. Hemp oil is more appropriately sold in larger bottles and used in food, a glug or two at a time.
Both approaches rely on using packaging that looks like those used for CBD oil. The labels use phrases like ‘full-spectrum’, ‘high-strength’ and ‘CO2 extracted’ alongside an amount in milligrams. Most often it is 500mg, 1000mg or 3000mg. This looks as if it is the amount of CBD but is either the amount of hemp oil added to other ingredients or nothing at all.
This unsavoury marketing ploy aims to make you believe that you are getting a £30 bottle of CBD oil. What you actually get is worth closer to £1.
What do hemp scams look like on eBay or Amazon?
While these fake products can vary the majority look remarkably similar. This is a product listed as ‘hemp oil extract’ on Amazon.co.uk. There is lots of information supplied and pages of text and explanation, this is the most informative section of the product description:
Sold for £24.99 this is 10mls of hemp oil with no evidence that it contains any CBD. Hemp oil is sold at Holland & Barrett for £6.79 for 500ml, which works out as 13p for 10ml. The description of their product highlights benefits and content that are remarkably like those in the Amazon listing:
The only significant difference between this and the previous oil is the price. If you want a good-quality hemp oil visit a health food store, but if you want a CBD-rich food supplement look for brands with a record of providing quality products with easily verified product information.
Found on Amazon today:
When searching for ‘CBD Oil’ on Amazon today, this is what I found on the first page of results:
- 48 products in total.
- 39 displayed an amount in mg that didn’t relate to anything. These products were between 10 and 30ml bottles and appeared to be imitating the appearance of a CBD oil. None of these listed CBD anywhere and were labelled ‘hemp extract’, ‘hemp oil’ or ‘hemp oil extract’. Of these, 5 cost more than £30, 14 were between £20 and £30 and a further 15 were between £10 and £20.
- Only one of the 48 total products included any mention of CBD. This was a face serum that claimed to contain full-spectrum CBD but didn’t list any hemp or CBD in the ingredients.
- 20 products mentioned a specific medical condition in the item title visible on the search page. While they didn’t make any claims of a cure, they implied that the oil was ‘for’ that condition. For example, ‘for anxiety’, ‘for chronic pain’.
- Of the 11 products that didn’t appear to be imitating CBD oil 6 were correctly labelled hemp seed oil capsules. These did have a mg amount, but it was clear that this referred to the amount of oil contained in each capsule.
Found on eBay Today:
I used the same search term on eBay. The first results page displayed 46 products, of those, 8 were from UK sellers, 4 were international and 34 were found using similar search terms:
- 42 displayed an amount in mg that didn’t relate to anything. As with Amazon, most products were bottles holding between 10 and 30ml of oil. They looked like CBD oil and were called ‘hemp extract’, ‘hemp oil’ or ‘hemp oil extract’. A few were labelled as ‘CBD’. One referred to itself as ‘full-spectrum hemp extract’.
- Of the 42, 1 cost over £350 (this was a 3000mg paste), 7 were priced at more than £30, 3 were between £20 and £30 and 4 cost between £10 and £20.
- The 3000mg paste appeared to be a genuine product from a known brand but at a much higher price than available elsewhere. On eBay, it was listed at £363, and on the brand’s own site it was £263.
- 5 items mentioned CBD; most were topical creams or lotions. Oddly, these were mainly products that didn’t display any mg amount or percentage to show how much CBD. 5 mentioned CBD or showed it on its label.
- 7 products mentioned a specific medical condition in the item title visible on the search page. Most just included a list of medical conditions with no further explanation; others included phrases like ‘for pain anxiety heart’.
- Of the 5 products that didn’t appear to be CBD oil or imitating CBD oil, 1 was a pen vaporiser, 1 was the CBD paste and 3 three were hemp topicals.
You’re more likely to find a genuine CBD product on eBay, but the item descriptions can be misleading. They often include lists of unproven medical claims or have massively increased prices.
What do real customers think of these scams?
The oils sold on Amazon have several positive reviews. Amazon sellers can encourage good responses, but they can’t remove the negative ones. It’s these that reveal the true nature of the products:
What you don’t get on Amazon and eBay
Many of the CBD products found on these sites are misleading, but in amongst the scams, there may be some genuine items. Both Amazon and eBay are an incredible way to get products in front of new customers, so some sellers are willing to take the risk.
Not only is it difficult to distinguish genuine items from the fakes, but there is also a lot of valuable information not present in the listings on both sites. Because of their legal frameworks and modus operandi, reputable brands that display genuine certificates are not available on these platforms. These are the key points you’d be missing out on when purchasing from Amazon or eBay:
1. A real organic certification
Any mention of organic products should be backed up by an officially recognised authority. Just saying ‘certified organic’ isn’t enough. Any accreditation is only worth anything if it can be verified on the authority’s official site. This is because ‘organic’ is a term that can only be awarded to products that have been fully inspected and met rigorous standards.
2. A third-party certificate of analysis
These are certificates produced by independent labs following analysis of each product batch. They include useful reports on the substances contained in products, including the cannabinoid profile and the level of any contaminants. These should be available with any CBD purchase to provide proof of the contents and its safety.
3. Consumer rights
Because CBD products breach site guidelines, it is harder to invoke your customer rights. Any negative response or complaint may result in the product being removed from the site or the seller disappearing from the site. Genuine retailers often have customer service teams devoted to responding to concerns and resolving issues.
4. Trusted brands by trusted sellers
Because the sale of any CBD products is banned on Amazon and eBay, authorised retailers don’t use these platforms and trusted brands are hard to find.
A trustworthy seller should be happy to talk to their customers about their products, be easily accessible and have a range of product reviews. While several of the products I saw had positive reviews, there was very little response from the seller to either positive or negative comments.
If you do your research it may be possible to buy genuine CBD on Amazon or eBay, but is it worth the effort? There is a high chance that you will end up with a poor-quality item with a bottle that is worth more than the contents.
The same standards that we applied to these sites can be applied to buying CBD anywhere. Look for:
- The amount of CBD clearly labelled. For example, 500mg CBD.
- Third-party certificates of analysis that verify the amount of CBD and show the product to be within safe levels of contaminants.
- A retailer with a good reputation. This could be found in reviews, word of mouth or from official hemp trade authorities.
- Organic certification and other awards verified by third party official bodies.
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Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.
British Cannabis CBD products to list on eBay
British Cannabis is one of the first sellers to have its products permitted for sale on the ecommerce platform.
February 22, 2022
British Cannabis has broken new ground by being one of the first permitted sellers of CBD food supplements and CBD cosmetics on the leading e-commerce platform, eBay.
The company’s new eBay store will feature its range of over 25 CBD products – many of which have won industry awards.
The products will include CBD capsules and clinically tested cosmetics from the CBD by BRITISH CANNABIS™ range. Also available will be its range of affordable, flavoured CBD oils from ACCESS CBD™.
The eBay programme is set up with thorough policies on product compliance, safety and accuracy.
British Cannabis managing director, David Ralson, commented: “It was a privilege to be invited to become one of the very first CBD manufacturers permitted as an eBay UK seller. We have been impressed with the collaborative approach from eBay and their agency partners, as they ensure that only THC-free products with quality, authenticity and regulatory compliance enter the platform. It was our pleasure to be included in the initial discussions in 2021 that helped contribute to them navigating this exciting category safely.
“I think eBay’s excellent approach to this CBD category launch will set them apart from other e-commerce sites. We had been disappointed by the contrasting situation with Amazon UK. Whilst leaving many compliant sellers of CBD products out in the cold with their invitation-only CBD trial and proving difficult for manufacturers to contact and negotiate with, Amazon UK have still allowed uncompliant CBD products to appear on their platform, including products with test results that show quantifiable amounts of illegal cannabinoids such as CBN.
“We hope that consumers shop for CBD products, secure in knowing that eBay is a reputable marketplace that can offer better assurances on product compliance than many other UK retailers selling today, who have been seen in past years selling brands with inaccurate CBD levels and illegal THC levels. We believe that eBay can set a new standard as one of the UK’s safest places to buy CBD products.
“All food supplement products by British Cannabis are set to be included on the Food Standards Agency public list of products that have successfully submitted Novel Foods applications. They are also rigorously tested for product accuracy, purity and THC-free status. This will give consumers peace of mind that eBay is one of the most compliant platforms to buy CBD wellness products.”
Consumers in England and Wales will be able to order CBD via eBay for the first time, however, the programme is unable to sell CBD products to consumers in Scotland and Northern Ireland at this time.
Marketing director, Steve Batchelor, added: “There could hardly be a better time for eBay to start selling CBD than now, with all products debuting on the platform due to be successfully through to the next stage of the FSA Novel Foods process and the great things happening on our own brands this Spring.
“From the super-premium new look and feel of our revamped flagship brand, CBD by BRITISH CANNABIS™, to the launch of our new national TV campaign and the roll out of our 500mg CBD Dermal Patch innovation, consumers have a range of great choices, available with fast delivery and assured authenticity, directly from our UK operations.”