How to Tell if a Subscription Box Company is Legit
While most subscription box companies that launch are legitimate, I sometimes see some new subscription boxes that launch and look a little suspect. Even those usually turn out to be fine. (Remember when BoxyCharm first launched and used GlossyBox’s website template?) But occasionally there are some companies that are just not prepared for all that is involved with running a subscription. Once in a while a reader reaches out to ask if I think a new company looks legit, and I use the following set of questions to give the best answer I can. (This isn’t a 100% fool proof check list – WhimseyBox would have passed the test a few months ago – but hopefully it is helpful.)
Does the website look legit?
Is it well-designed and look professional? I’ve seen some very legit subscription boxes that have spent no money on their website and it is unfortunate because their websites often make them look amateur. This isn’t a deal breaker rule for me, but in general I think if a company has enough money to invest in a proper website, then they also hopefully should have enough money to handle any issues that might come up.
Another thing to look for is if they are using their own images or stock images. I’ve actually seen a few new box companies launch their site with images taken from other subscription box companies. (And they photoshop out the name of the box). Whenever a company requests to be listed in our directory and they are using an image from another subscription, I let them know we won’t list them if they are using stolen images. (This is a major pet-peeve of mine – especially because every company that has done this has told me they didn’t know it was from another box company…)
Is the checkout secure?
Always look for a secure https URL.
Do they have a presence on Social Media?
This isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but it does show how dedicated the company is to starting their subscription. If they don’t have the time to dedicate to social media, they may not have the time for customer care, etc.
Do they have a phone number listed? Are they easy to contact?
If you want to see how a company will respond if an issue comes up once you are a subscriber, try reaching out to them before you sign up to see what their response time is like. If you can’t find an easy way to contact them via their site, that’s a red flag.
Do they have all the FAQ and info you need on their site?
Again, not a deal breaker, but it shows how much time, thought and research they’ve put into their site and how helpful they want to be.
And if you’re still on the fence but really want to try the box – only sign up if they offer PayPal payments.
This is my general rule of thumb when I’m looking at trying a new subscription box but not sure how easy it would be to cancel a subscription if I’m disappointed with the service. They great thing about recurring payments in PayPal for subscription boxes is that you don’t have to contact the company to cancel. You just login to your PayPal account and cancel the recurring payment to that company. So worst case scenario you might be out one payment, but you don’t have to worry about calling your credit card company to refute the charges and possibly having to get a new credit card if your credit card company deems that the subscription company is fraudulent.