However, thousands of people buy supplements online every day and in many cases, it is the same as any other online purchase.
Buying supplements online does not have to be bad news but you do need to be careful because it can be a minefield out there.
Here are some tips to keep you safe when buying supplements online.
1/ The ingredients list
Read the ingredients list of the supplement you are interested in and not just the advertising. Make sure that the full ingredients list is provided with the quantities of the ingredients included so you know exactly in advance just what you are going to be taking.
Many supplement companies mask their ingredients under a “proprietary blend” classification. It may look convincing but you should always avoid supplements that do not provide adequate ingredients information especially when it is as basic as how much of each ingredient is contained in each capsule.
Before you buy, rather than afterwards. Check out the ingredients and find out a little about what they do and whether they are actually safe. Some ingredients come with side effects that won’t suit everyone. Ask your doctor for advice if you have any doubts about whether a supplement is going to be suitable for you.
3/ Directions and side effects
A reputable company will provide full details and advice about taking the supplement, including a list of potential side effects and health warnings. If you have any questions, you should be able to ask the company for advice via a contact telephone number, live chat or email.
4/ False claims
Stay away from supplements that seem to offer miraculous weight loss in a limited time period.
You cannot lose 10lbs in a week. You cannot cut a dress side in two days.
Many dodgy companies claim the impossible and if the weight loss promised seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Medical advice is to lose no more than around two pounds a week. Likewise with the claims that you can lose vast amounts of weight without changing your diet and exercise. Diet supplements are not magic pills and any company that says otherwise is simply after your money.
5/ Contact Details
Does the company selling the supplement provide clear information about their physical location? Do they have a phone number? A PO Box or a mailbox address is often a sign that a supplement company is trying to remain anonymous. There may be a reason for not wanting to be found.
6/ Free Samples
This is a major red flag. Sometimes a diet supplement company will offer you a free sample so you can try “risk free”. Do not do it. A reputable company will never offer you so called free samples and thousands of unwary customers have been suckered into signing up to regular billing contacts.
It is a very common scam – check out our Watchdog report into the Free trials scam to find out more.
7/ Read the Terms and Conditions
When you are keen to buy, it can be tempting to click on pay now and worry about it later. However do this for diet supplements and you may get caught in to signing up for auto billing whereby the company will continue to take money from your account and keep sending you further supplies. These agreements can be very hard to cancel as many customers have found to their cost.
Most diet supplement companies, even dodgy scam sites, provide a list of their terms and conditions because they know that hardly anybody bothers to read them.
Don’t play their game. Take some time to read through the terms and conditions hosted on the product website to ensure you understand just what you are agreeing to when you buy.
If there are no terms and conditions, do not buy the supplement.
Remember buying from a third party site such as Amazon may be safer than buying from an unknown company.
8/ Check out our Watchdog supplement reviews before you buy
Find positive and negative reviews that bring you all the information about the supplements and scams. Also, see genuine customer feedback comments left by our readers.
If you are interested in a supplement, simply write to us and we will do our utmost to review it.
Or checkout out our Watchdog Approved diet pills here.