Online shopping is very popular these days due to convenience and the hassle-free, no queue shopping. More and more consumers are considering to purchase their needs online, and unsurprisingly, buyers have also made the online store shift when it comes to their medications.
A legitimate online pharmacy (online extension of a famous local drugstore chain)
Web pharmacies or online pharmacies as we commonly call them are web-based suppliers (usually without physical stores) that collect international buyer medicine orders and ship them to the consumers in their respective countries. Online pharmacies sell both prescription and non-prescription products and have in stock medicines for usually a plethora of medical uses, from simple muscle pains to medical conditions like erectile dysfunction, alopecia, depression and so forth.
Since online drugstores abound, the issue with these stores is not their number—the actual concern with online pharmacies is their safety for use. Yes, you can easily find an online store with your needed product in stock, but it’s a whole new story using the store for your purchase, considering the risk of running into reprehensible online operators solely motivated by money. That being said, consumers should take great care when shopping for their medications online to decrease the perils of encountering scam shops.
What Do I Look for in a Legitimate Online Drugstore?
To be able to weed out the bad shops from the good ones, one must know what to look for in legitimately operating web pharmacies. Here are some of the excellent qualities you should look for in nonthreatening online shops:
- Long service record. One significant characteristic of legitimate online pharmacies is the length of service. Most of the time, the most trustworthy ones have the longest service histories and are therefore seasoned in the craft. Scam pharmacies nowadays are always young and are typically aged below a year.
- Third-party reviews. When you’re still suspicious of a store claiming to have operated for decades online, you may always confirm this truth by searching for external references to the shop in question. Take native or on-site reviews with a grain of salt since most on-site comments are fabricated by the shops to encourage buyer trust. The best reviews to base your judgment on are those from unbiased review sites and forum websites.
- Available contact information. Shops with nothing to hide are usually transparent with their contact details. Stores with complete addresses and fully functional phone numbers (or chat support systems) may be trustworthy, given they also satisfy the other conditions when it comes to legitimacy.
- Responsive customer support. Having contact details is one thing and having fully responsive customer support is another story. Another gauge of an excellent online pharmacy is having a responsive customer support team. You need a real-time check of an online pharmacy in question to see how well would the store handle conversations with new consumers and also reflect their future responses to inquiries and claims.
- Fair refund policies. Legitimate online pharmacies have clear-cut provisions for the buyers when it comes to claims (refunds or reshipments) for order losses, wrong orders, incomplete orders, or wrong orders. Valid online drugstores usually do not accept product returns due to international regulations prohibiting the return of meds, but in some cases, legitimate drugstores allow the returns of the wrong medicines and merely dispose of or destroy the products.
- Prescription requirement. Online drugstores should oblige their consumers to submit the correct Rx for their medicines. Although some benevolent web drugstores may not require the Rx from their patients, they do so because all of the medicines in their shops are safe to use and also because they did not include narcotic medicines in their line-up.
- Memberships and certifications. Good online stores have verifiable endorsements from various pharmacy-related organizations. Make sure to double check if the memberships or the seals of approval featured on the website are real.
Legitimate and safe to use online pharmacies may not always look pretty—surprisingly, most legal online stores I’ve visited looked mediocre and backward, but have uncompromising dedication to serving their consumers excellently.
What are the Warning Signs for Unlawfully Operating Web Drugstores?
Since it is almost impossible for illegal web pharmacies to desist scamming consumers, buyers should be vigilant when it comes to dealing with online sellers, since apart from being scammed, buyers are also at risk of losing their good health if they received fake or contaminated goods.
Warning signs related to scam stores you should be aware of:
- Poorly constructed content. Poor English and consistent errors all throughout the website raise red flags—scammers often do not pay attention to the content of the website, while legitimate suppliers recognize the importance of correct grammar.
- Borderline impossible deals. Watch out for impossibly low deals like “buy one get 10 free”—you get the idea. Although excellent online pharmacies can offer cut-rate deals for their products, they would never offer deals that would seemingly bankrupt them.
- No reviews. Beware of shops without reviews or with only on-site comments for their service.
- Unreachable support team and those without contact information. You should also be wary of stores with support teams that are unresponsive or shops without available contact information.
- Young age. Scam stores usually last only for a year since their operators just allow their domains to expire (domains are valid for a year). That said, beware of stores with less than a year of age.
If you want to know if your online pharmacy is legitimate, make sure to remember the characteristics attributable to validly operating online pharmacies—check if a store has sufficient reviews, long years of experience, a responsive customer support team, and existing contact information. Likewise, learn to identify the warning signs for scam shops and deliberately try to avoid the stores with these signs.