Online Pharmacy Price Guarantees: Read the Fine Print

 Online pharmacies are like any other type of business in the sense that they do whatever is necessary to win customers. A common tactic in the online pharmacy game is the price match guarantee. Pharmacies that utilize this tool guarantee to meet or beat any other price from any other pharmacy. However, such guarantees always come with fine print.

To be fair, the fine print isn't intended to be deceptive. It exists simply to protect the online pharmacy's best interests. They have to attach certain restrictions to their price match guarantees. Otherwise, some of their customers would do everything possible to bleed them dry.

Though there are plenty of restrictions a company could attach to it a price match guarantee, here are the five you see most often in the online pharmacy industry:

Time of Sale Restrictions

Many online pharmacies Institute a time of sale restriction on price match guarantees. Canada Pharmacy, a Canadian online pharmacy with ties to a physical dispensing pharmacy in Manitoba, does it. The reason behind it is fairly simple: prescription drug prices fluctuate routinely. If Canada Pharmacy were forced to guarantee the lowest price on a volatile drug for 6 to 12 months at a time, their risk of financial damage would be significant.

License and Certification Restrictions

Another common restriction relates to licensing and certification. Online pharmacies will not meet or beat the prices of any other entity that lacks a proper license and industry certification. That makes sense. Why compete with other online pharmacy properties whose adherence to the law and industry standards is questionable?

For the record, Canada Pharmacy is Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) certified. Their price match guarantee does not apply to any products from pharmacies not certified by the CIPA.

Identical and Like Product Restrictions

Price match guarantees in the online pharmacy industry often include restrictions based on identical and like products. In other words, the identical product must be available for less at another pharmacy in order to take advantage of a price match guarantee. In terms of like products, think of brand, quantity, strength, etc.

The point of enforcing like product restrictions is to keep customers from getting a lower price by quoting a dissimilar product from another site. Online pharmacies must have an apples-to-apples comparison to effectively keep their price match policies in check.

Restrictions on Items in Stock

Pharmacy price match guarantees rarely apply to out-of-stock products. This issue is similar to price fluctuations. Because not all drugs are kept fully in stock at all times, a pharmacy property may run out of a given product. They will not guarantee the price now on a product they may not have in stock again for several weeks.

Likewise, the competing product also has to be in stock. Otherwise, online pharmacies can harm one another by purposely publishing a low-ball price on a product they no longer carry.

Other Restrictions

Other restrictions on price match guarantees vary from one online pharmacy to another. For example, Canada Pharmacy will only price match when speaking to customers over the phone. For whatever reason, you cannot submit a price match claim online. Perhaps they want to look up the competing product themselves.

Note that the pharmacy restrictions are intended to prevent customers from abusing price match guarantees. Unfortunately, some customers still attempt to do so. If it were not for the fine print, pharmacies would be locked into unreasonable demands that could really hurt them financially. The lesson for you is to read the fine print before you seek to take advantage of a price match guarantee.

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