BetterHelp – an Elaborate and Therefore Quite Dangerous Scam

BetterHelp masquerades as an online therapy provider, offering services for which it charges clients quite arbitrarily and often: fraudulently.

All this goes on against the backdrop of a total lack of accountability, with no one willing to assume any responsibility for anything.

To understand how the people behind BetterHelp make their money and (occasionally?) scam some of their clients, you need to take a closer look at the operation. With that in mind, let us start with:

What is BetterHelp and what type of services does it offer?

BetterHelp is an online therapy/counseling portal, the main function of which is to put people into contact with licensed and experienced therapists, ready to provide top-quality services online.

How does it all work though?

People in need of counseling find the website and through it, they register for the services peddled there. They then get scammed out of a certain sum of money, depending on their luck and on how quickly they catch on that they are being swindled.

According to BetterHelp, the operation offers access to some 1,200 licensed and board-accredited counselors, who are all ready to communicate with people needing help, through PC, mobile, or tablet, at the touch of a button.

Apparently, everyone working for BetterHelp is super-qualified. The counselors are either licensed psychologists with PhD, Marriage and Family Therapists, clinical social workers or professional counselors. They are all experienced too and each of them possesses a Doctorate or a Master’s degree at least.

Frankly, all this sounds a bit too good to be true, especially in light of the problems we are about to discuss below. Granted, the operation builds a more than decent case through its website and through the sponsored reviews available out there.

The sign-up process starts with a questionnaire, that apparently attempts to create a profile on the user, which can then be used to better match him/her up with a counselor. The process may seem lengthy, but it actually makes sense…

After getting matched up with a counselor, the user will apparently gain access to a chat room, where communication with the assigned counselor is available on a 24/7 basis.

Those who- for whatever reason – do not like the counselor assigned to them, are free to request a new one.

Payment for the service happens on a weekly basis, though it seems like people are charged in the beginning for the “free trial” option offered by the operator too. Users are charged in a reoccurring manner, meaning that they need to cancel their subscriptions manually if they want to put an end to their relationship with BetterHelp.

All this sounds pretty good though…you may say. Where exactly is the scam in this setup?

While at first glance everything is indeed A-OK with BetterHelp, at a closer look several problems pop into sight.

The first of these problems is the disclaimer-happy nature of the whole setup. Long story short in this regard: the operator does not accept any kind of responsibility for anything.

Let us cut to the chase though and call this thing the way we see it. Despite being advertised as a more cost-effective alternative to face-to-face therapy, BetterHelp does not replace a therapist and it will not act as any kind of a therapy.

To call a spade a spade: with BetterHelp, you’re not getting therapy. You are getting half-hearted feedback/possible advice, from a bunch of random folks, who are not in any way qualified to give you such advice. Also, they’re not particularly eager to provide their sophomoric takes on your issues either…

BetterHelp are quick to take your money, but they do not actually render a service for it. In fact, they expressly state that they do not accept any responsibility for the advice handed out by their “counselors.” If one such “therapist” suddenly decides to go rogue, and bombard you with insanity, there is absolutely no one to take the blame.

In fact, the operation does not even guarantee that the advice it delivers is relevant at all…The Terms and Conditions section should be considered the main mission statement of the operation, as it clearly states that BetterHelp is in fact not looking to help anyone, or to provide any kind of therapy.

Better Help Reviews

Further red flags are raised by the multitude of complaints available through various review portals. Talking about user feedback: what’s truly amazing about this shoddy operation is how much positive feedback it seems to garner.

It would indeed be interesting to run a proper analysis on this feedback, because we suspect much of it is artificially generated.

Why do we think so? Well, given the overall quality of the service, this is indeed a very common-sense conclusion to draw.

On a more analytic level though: at Yelp, among the scores of positive reviews that have earned but a few “likes”, a negative one has garnered close to 70 “helpful” ratings from other users.

The billing practices of the operation are oft-derided in user comments. Apparently, some people are charged some $260 for the “free trial” and it happens that they are indeed denied the service during that same period.

Many have complained about BetterHelp helping themselves to their credit cards quite regularly. Apparently, once they grab a credit card number, they will charge it repeatedly in a clearly predatory manner.

BetterHelp Review Conclusion

BetterHelp does not deliver a proper service and it charges its users random sums, without permission.

DO NOT give these people your credit card information. Do not be blinded by the general hype surrounding the service either. We have reasons to believe that most of the user reviews available online (and yes, that includes the BBB page of the company too), are artificial and manipulated.

While there are scores of customer complaints posted on the above said BBB page, for some reason, they are all “unavailable.”

As already said above, this operation is little more than a pretty elaborate scam, masquerading as a Psychologist Referral Service


  1. Anonymous

    Betterhelp is absolutely a scam that should be shut down.

  2. Anon

    Thank you for posting. I wish this piece would have been available when I was deciding whether to do a “free trial.” I did and was immediately billed for the period that was supposed to be free and then some in advance. I had to get my bank to help recover funds BetterHelp helped themselves to during my “free trial” too. They really fought the bank, but fortunately I had screenshots for proof.

    Something strikes me as unethical/unlawful and retraumatizing about their intake process. You’re asked to spill your guys three times, separately before you ever hear from a live human. When I heard back, the person wrote like a ‘bot. You are also supposed to be able to switch therapists, but they drag their feet with making a match so that you lose out on at least one week you’re paying for. One of the “therapists” they matched me with also appeared to be a real estate agent of ill repute. It’s like an expensive referral service that seems more geared toward drumming up business referrals to bottom-of-the-barrel therapists than it is a service geared toward helping the paying consumer.

    One thing I found disturbing is when I was going through all of this, Y-lp showed some poor reviews but then they took BetterHelp down entirely. It’s like if they couldn’t get unalloyed praise, they weren’t going to let people share their experiences at all.

    An acquaintance shared with me that after alllll she did to subscribe, do the questionnaires, wait to get matched, do more writing to her matched counselor, and figure out how she was going to use up her one contact she would be able to make for that period, she got a message that, essentially, she was too f.cked up to be taken on as a client. How utterly traumatizing, unprofessional, and low.

    Another thing that concerns me is they collected highly personal, psychologically painful things from me in their questionnaires when I initially regarded them as mental health professionals; with the presumption of confidentiality and “do no harm.” It pains me to know my data sits with this outfit, waiting for God-knows-what kind of breach, abuse, or acquisition. That they add to people’s misery when people are in need of mental health help us reprehensible and should be a crime. Shame on social media influencers who obviously parrot the sales pitch instead of actually using the service and seeing for themselves the company’s claims are not true.

  3. Holly

    My experience with Better Help has been very bad. But your review is not accurate at all. Their counselors are all licensed. My complaint is that the counselors are flaky and cancel a lot, meanwhile you are paying a flat rate for the service. So you are paying for a service you’re not getting. If you complain to customer service they will not give a straight answer about their rules for how often a counselor can cancel or what the consequence is. They will also defend charging you by saying that you are still getting the other services their website offers, like group classes and worksheets (in no way worth the money). So what is the point of paying for a counseling service when the counselor does not show up?!

  4. Keith

    I hope you are trolling with this awful review. Do you even know anything about therapy or therapists? If they are licensed, this is in no way a fraud.

  5. DM20s

    BetterHealth is a scam that practices bait and switch tactics, horrendous “therapists” and capitalizes on individuals suffering with mental health disorders. I’ve filed complaints w/ the FTC and FCC regarding my experiences with this company and I strongly urge others whom have been victims of BetterHealth’s unethical business practices to do the same.
    There are FREE mental health resources out there to find help, including hotlines and chat services that people can use that won’t cost a penny.and are significantly better than Betterhelp’s paid services. Here’s a link with dozens of resources:

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