Fake Carts Are Everywhere: How to Protect Yourself

Fake Carts

One of the greatest benefits of buying vape carts from Hamilton Devices is that product authenticity is always guaranteed. We are one of the largest vape wholesalers and retailers in the United States, and our close relationship with top hardware manufacturers such as CCELL® ensures that we always have large quantities of cartridges and vape batteries available. Buying and filing your own cartridges is always the safest way to vape because when you’re the one filling your carts, you know exactly what’s in them.

Some people prefer the convenience of pre-filled carts, though – and if you fall into that category, safety is a major concern for you because fake carts are much more common than you might realize. They’re also extremely dangerous – so in this guide, we’re going to provide some information that can help. How common are fake carts, and why are they dangerous? Most importantly, how can you tell if a cart is fake? You’re about to learn the answers to those questions.

How Common Are Fake Carts?

Fake Vape Carts

To understand what a serious problem fake vape carts really are, all that you need to do is look at the news. You’ll see that police seizures of fake carts are actually surprisingly common. Here are just a few news reports that can help to illustrate the true scope of this problem.

  • In 2019, police in Minnesota seized nearly 77,000 fake vape carts with a value of almost $4 million. The police believed that the cartridges were produced somewhere outside the state. This is perhaps the largest seizure of fake carts to date. (Report)
  • In 2019, police in Wisconsin charged two brothers with running an operation that produced up to 5,000 fake vape carts per day. (Report)
  • In 2019, police in Wisconsin raided a home and seized more than 10,000 fake carts. (Report)
  • In 2022, police in Georgia seized 900 fake vapes containing THC oil. The vapes had an estimated value of $30,000. (Report)
  • In 2019, police in Georgia seized 2,370 fake vape carts with packaging intended to resemble a legal brand based in California. (Report)
  • In 2022, police in Florida seized more than 3,000 fake carts during a traffic stop. (Report)

As these reports clearly illustrate, many thousands of fake vape carts are produced every day and can end up almost anywhere. As a consumer, you need to spend your money extremely carefully if you don’t want to be duped into buying a counterfeit product.

Why Are Fake Carts So Common?

Fake vape carts are common because the vape oils with which carts are filled are extremely expensive. The oil costs much more than the hardware – and for any company that makes pre-filled carts, it’s the biggest expense by far.

In states that have regulated dispensary programs, the need to have well-documented provenance for the crops used to produce the oils – and to perform thorough lab testing on the oils after they’re produced – further add to the expense. Those costs are passed on to consumers, so many people turn to the black market instead. Even vape oils that are federally legal and available almost everywhere are costly, though, and that encourages unscrupulous sellers to cut corners and create knockoff products that they can sell cheaply while still maintaining high profit margins.

In short, fake carts are common because they cost less to make, and that makes them more profitable than authentic carts.

What Are Fake Carts Dangerous?

How to Tell if Cart Is Fake

To put it simply, fake carts are dangerous because you have no way of knowing what’s in them. The reason why the producers of legal vape carts send their products to labs for testing is because it’s good for safety; you deserve to know what you’re inhaling.

Fake carts, on the other hand, aren’t put through testing. Some fake vape carts could be filled with pure oils that are just as potent as what you’d get from a real dispensary or vape shop – but that’s not likely. It’s more likely that you’ll end up with a cartridge that’s either made in unsanitary conditions or diluted with dangerous additives to bulk up profits.

At best, buying a fake cart could mean you’re wasting your money on a product that won’t do anything for you at all. At worst, a fake cart could make you extremely sick. Either way, it’s not worth the risk.

How to Tell if a Cart Is Fake

Now that you understand the dangers of fake carts, we’ve come to the most important part of this article. In it, we’re going to explain how you can tell if a cart is fake. Note that none of these methods are completely foolproof because the makers of fake carts are always trying to devise new ways to evade detection.

As we explained at the top of this article, the safest way to use vape carts is by buying your own empty cartridges and filling them yourself. Beyond that, the next best bet is to buy pre-filled carts from a licensed dispensary or trusted vape shop. If you do decide to buy pre-filled cartridges, look out for these potential signs of fake carts.

  • Price seems too good to be true: As we’ve mentioned in this article, vape carts aren’t cheap. If you find a cartridge with a price that seems a bit too low, you should probably avoid it.
  • Package doesn’t look right: Fake carts are often packaged in flimsy boxes with blurry or washed-out printing.
  • Cart is the wrong color: A pure vape oil extract is usually yellow or golden in color. A fake vape cart might be red or pink if it’s diluted. If it’s brown or black, it could be contaminated with mold or bacteria.
  • Cart is the wrong thickness: A pure vape oil extract is very thick. If you invert a cartridge, it should usually take several seconds for the air bubble to travel from one end of the cart to the other.
  • Cart’s authenticity code doesn’t pass: Many of today’s vape carts have scratch-off authenticity codes that you can check online. If a cartridge’s code doesn’t pass the check or has already been entered by someone else, you shouldn’t use it.
  • Cart isn’t sold by a dispensary or vape shop: A retailer that doesn’t usually sell vaping products – such as a convenience store – may not get its vape carts from reliable distributors.
  • Cart tastes wrong or makes you feel wrong: You should always pay attention to what your body tells you when you use a vape cart. If the cartridge doesn’t taste right – or you don’t feel right when using it – you should stop using the cart immediately.