Is PlantATreeCo Fake or Real?
Why Is PlantATreeCo Likely Fake?
PlantATreeCo is an ecommerce website that sells plastic bracelets and claims to plant a tree for every purchase made. On their Instagram page, they also claim to support other environmental and social causes like the Australian bushfires and Black Lives Matter. The website and Instagram pages both state that 6,500 trees have been planted already.
A domain name lookup of the site shows that it has been registered on 25th May 2019 in Florida which means the site is just over a year old.
It is mentioned on the website that they plant a tree through partners for every completed purchase. There is no information on who these partners are and neither is there any proof that they have donated towards this cause. There is also no evidence that they have donated to organizations that do charity work for the Australian bushfires or the African-American community, as claimed on their Instagram page
The main website shows that there is only one product available, which is a plastic bracelet selling for $20.
PlanATreeCo’s website seems to be inspired by 4Ocean, which is a similar and much more successful ecommerce charity website. The bracelets they sell resemble the ones sold by 4Ocean too. The wholesale price of these bracelets is apparently $0.50 apiece.
4Ocean has been heavily criticised for giving the impression that it is a charitable organization, when it actually only donates 0.25% – 3% of the proceeds from sales to charity.
In their Instagram stories, PlantATreeCo does ‘free’ giveaways for necklaces. There is no mention of the proceeds from these sales going towards charity. Yes, they do generate revenue from these necklaces, because even though the giveaway is supposedly free, there is an $8.95 shipping fee which is added at checkout.
The website states that PlantATreeCo. has a 30-day refund policy for defective, damaged or missing products. However, the only contact information provided is a gmail id. There is no phone number or address given in the website. Florida is not mentioned anywhere and there is no name mentioned of anyone from the organization.
There are also allegations of scam being made against them on Instagram. One post says that they provided doctored proof of donation for the Australian bushfires. The proof seems to have been shared via Instagram stories and is no longer available to view as PlantATreeCo have not saved it as a highlight. ‘Zack’ from PlantATreeCo. has apparently threatened to take legal action against a user unless their ‘defamatory’ posts are taken down.
After considering the information available, my conclusion is that PlantATreeCo is not a trustworthy website. They provide absolutely no validation for their claims that they donate to charity. There is scant information given about the organization and its partners and the Instagram page seems to latch on to every trending movement to gain Instagram followers. They try to increase their reach by doing ‘free’ giveaways only to charge money at checkout. The whole operation is quite shady and I would genuinely be surprised if anyone actually receives the products which they have ordered.
PlantATreeCo seems to have two objectives – fleece people out of money by falsely claiming to donate towards charity and grow their Instagram account by the same means.
If you really want to donate for causes like afforestation, Australian bushfires or Black Lives Matter, please donate directly to verified organizations so that your money actually goes towards creating change. Even if PlantATreeCo’s claims are true, 100% of your money will never go towards the causes you wish to support.
If you have been the victim of a charity scam, you can take the following steps:
- File a complaint with the payment portal and ask whether the payment can be reversed.
- Leave a negative review on review portals such as Scamadviser and TrustPilot
- Report the website to Google using the Suspicious Site Reporter extension for Chrome
- Give a low rating to the website on Web of Trust. You can also install their extension for the same.
Remember: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are presented as an educated opinion based on facts and evidence. There is no malicious intent or attempt to defame any individual/s or organization/s. If you are a website owner and would like to provide clarifications regarding your business and/or website, please get in touch using the Contact Form.