Screw You!: Chemist Direct UK

UPDATE: Cancelled order – couldn’t wait any longer, will pop down to Boots instead. They didn’t care of course and offered no explanation why an order that was supposed to dispatched in 24-48 hours was still ‘processing’ after 10 days. If they had only said something, like X item is out of stock, or X will be due back in on X day, I could have lived with it. Very unprofessional.

Also now I have to wait 5 days for the refund! How dare they take the funds when they clearly don’t even have the items in stock! Avoid, avoid, avoid


Review of

It’s been a while since we did a Screw You post – hey I don’t make these things up!  They have to be Screw You! worthy before I write about them!

There have been quite a few of these discounted online pharmacy shops but I’ve avoided them so far – they do actually remind me real life discount stores, Home Bargains and BodyCare (discount shops in the UK – actually not bad at all if you can deal with the hoards of bizarre customers…

…actually this reminds me. Last time I was in Body Care, there were a gaggle of young-albeit-haggard looking women, a few kids in tow naturally.  One of them was buying 50p condoms.  Presumably if she had bought them on a regular basis, she wouldn’t be wheeling bambino one, dragging toddler 2, letting little type run amok (no. 3).   

Her mate spots her purchase – Furex Condoms, 50p

“‘ ‘ere! You don’t need them! Me mam works in the sex clinic, innit, you can get rubbers for free!’ (in front of a queue of about 20 people.  Most rolling their eyes considering the group of 3 friends had about 8 kids in total with them).

“Why din’ you say earlier!” she replies, begrudgingly handing over her 50p.

 Yes.  About 9 months earlier, 18 months earlier and 2 years earlier.

But I digress.

I am not happy with Chemist Direct (!

Made an order quite a few days ago.  Delivery/dispatch time is 24-48 hours.  Things are marked in stock or out of stock – fair enough.  I was in desperate need of my pharmacy item – certainly much cheaper than the high street, I filled the basket up til it got to the £40 free shipping limit.  Hurrah I thought, quick easy efficent.

It’s such a BIG website, with so many products, what seems like lots of contact info and lots of reader testimonials that I didn’t even hesitate.  I guess I have been spoilt with companies that lately, have been doing what they say they will do.

Chemist Direct also takes the money at the time of processing, unlike other companies that take at the point of dispatch – so they get your money and sit on it for as long as they so like.

So I started to get tetchy.  Bear in mind I browsed a few similar shops before choosing Chemist Direct.  I emailed them politely to ask if everything was ok, were there any payment issues. 

No response.  So I used the the LIVE CHAT function.  Its difficult with these kind of companies to know how genuinely big they are – anyone can build an impressive looking site, but it could be run by 2 people, ya know? 

Anyway I have a conversation with Customer Service Rep No. 2 (it says) and ask if there has been a problem with my order and when it will be shipped as its kind of urgent.  No problems, they said, we are just delayed.  I’ll rush the warehouse along and that will be that.

But how will I know, I said, when the order has been sped through?

‘Thanks for visiting us today’ they replied.

Another 2 days and I’m getting irritated.  It’s a week now and there were loads of  other retailers I could have gone for selling the same thing at the same price.

I use Live Chat again as they don’t respond to emails.

Give them the order number and ask if they have any progress. I am feeling shifty because I have Customer Representative No.2 again – could it be the same one?!

This time a quick response – The items is being processed (I know that already, it says so on my account) and sorry for any delays.

Can you give me a rough time estimate?  end of the week? three more days? 5 more days?

I will email you as soon as I know, says CSR2.

Ok, I say.  But how do you know my…

Thanks for visiting us today.

This feels like the internet version of being passed on when the staff don’t actually have a clue of what’s going on.  Not happy at all!  Will it ever arrive? I’ll let you know if it does!

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  1. says

    Be careful with those online pharmacies, btw… not all of them are that great =( and some are just plain awful.

    • Row says

      Hey Abby

      This is my first experience with one and I won’t be going back! I had to cancel the order!

  2. Mark says

    Chemist Direct are a fraud.

    I filled the basket to a hefty sum (Stg180!) ..would have thought I would be treated like royalty with such an order . uh oh, NO! they promised 3-6 days max in their Faqs section (these are facts!) so I order much needed medication. Days pass and all I get is the usual “Order is being processed”. I email them, most of the time, no reply. So I choose their on-line chat.

    Their on-line personnel (is it 1 person or robot?) repeat the same thing ALL the time … “I can only apologise… I will inform the warehouse or we will speed it up for you or we will mark it as urgent or we I will escalate to supervisor” But nothing happens. Then I email them some poison discors and demand compensation, because they were forewarned that I was in dire need of a medication following a ripped off toe nail! They just did not give a damn! They ignored me.
    Then back to their online chat and a supposedly lady promises that the order is going to be shipped TODAY! and that she has the blessing of her supervisor….
    Surprise Surprise, they did not. So I contacted the bank and told them to retract the credit card payment. Let’s see how it goes.

    I would never recommend chemist direct to anyone, they are a fraud and nothing else. They make you believe that they are a serious compnay – they are not. With such an order one would’ve thought my order would have glided without any hitches and the sad thing about it, is that when I ordered, all the items were “in stock”. I bet they were!! (tongue in cheek)

    Is there no authority in the UK that can shut this con company down ?

    Avoid like it was the plague unless you want to risk it. Doing a quick search for “Chemist direct reviews” on google, you get a shock with the amount of people writing in to complain ! Why didn’t I check before I made the order ? Because I am an idiot, but something I will not repeat again.

    • Row says

      Hi Mark

      I’m afraid my experience with them was very negative too – they are still running, I guess they have happy customers too but thanks for sharing your experiences! Personally I wouldn’t buy from them again because I can’t stand faffing over internet purchases – i think you have to be exemplary if you are an internet business.

  3. alan says

    after 2 weeks i cancelled my order went to (express beauty)
    turns out to be the same shop and same crap

  4. PD says

    I ordered an item, they sent the wrong item, I contacted them and they said they would send an SAE as they wanted me to send the item back before they sent the correct item, I have now been waiting for 4 weeks for this envelope and I am getting the run around from their cusgtomer support. Apparently my envelope has now been “sent” 5 times….

    I would NEVER use them if you actually want the right goods.

  5. Sarah says

    Uh oh! Same experience here.

    Order delayed for a month. Countless e-mails and telephone calls and still nothing happens (say the same thing to me about making my order a priority with warehouse). Excuse on the occasions I have spoken to someone is their warehouse has moved premises, so orders are delayed. Ummm, why is there not a notice on their website saying orders will currently be delayed for this reason or orders not being taken at present for this reason? No e-mail sent at the time of order saying this either and now I have read all the complaints here, it’s obviously just a made up excuse.

    Anyway, a box finally arrived from them yesterday (after placing order a month ago and complaining like hell) but my relief was short lived as half my order was missing! Wrote yet another e-mail last night (to the director’s address as well, not that I think it will make any difference) as I was absolutely fuming by this point. There was nothing on the delivery note to say that the rest of the order would be sent to me.

    Seeing all the complaints on the net about them, I don’t know how they stay in business! This is the second online company I have had trouble with (I shop a lot online and thankfully, those 2 companies are the only ones I’ve had any trouble with). Security Direct is another one you should avoid like the plague – I bought some disposable gloves for catering from them (wonder if they’re the same people as Chemist Direct). Had to get Trading Standards on to them in the end but they’re still operating, as I check from time to time. My bank reimbursed me that time. You’ll find complainst about Security Direct from other people as well.

    Back to Pharmacies online though. Apart from the high street names, I find Allcures very good. Have used them a lot and the only reason I tried Chemist Direct was to save money. Allcures is very reliable and customer service excellent. The only problem I ever have with them, is occasionally, they send something that’s out of date (like some special mouthwash I buy from them). They always send a replacement though when you tell them. Hope this helps if you’re looking for a reliable online pharmacy.

    • Row says

      Hi Sarah

      Thanks for adding your comment! There seems to be a lot of people who have had bad experiences with them lately!

  6. Mark says

    Dear Sarah,

    I am very sorry to hear you were made to pass from the same ordeal most of us have had to. As a follow up to my story (further up this page):

    It took around 1 month or so for the order to arrive and this only after countless mails etc. to solicit them to do so. Since I read on many websites that they have a frequent tendency to shut you up by sending a box over with “things” in side (not necessarily what you’ve ordered), I refused the package outright and sent it as, return to sender.

    It turns out, it was a God send, since from what I keep on reading here and many other websites, Chemist Direct, send half orders, wrong items, wrong sized products, etc.. and this on top of a very long wait.

    In my case I could not wait beyond 4-5 days more than their own advertised delivery times. (It took them over a month more + constant angry mails and contact fom me).

    To put more salt in the wound, their customer service, gives you the impression that they are taking you for a very very long ride. They promise they are going to do something, and when you hold them on to their words and ask for a date by which they will do that something, they tell you by tomorrow. It just never happens.
    Their defence to their hypocrisy? “I can only apologise” Grrrrrrrr so irritating – the culture I come from (Mediterranean boiling blood) does away with useless apologies, we’re so more into actions, walk your WORDS, deliver! Put right what you’ve screwed up, words don’t fix, actions do! (Only with them it is no actions and full of words)

    It is unfortunate that people will again fall for them. However from what I understand some are lucky, but to be so, you probably have to order one or 2 items at max, and ensure that, the items you’re going to order are not needed before the next millenium. This is a sort of lucky dip, you throw money inside and hope for the best, only here, somebody takes your money and gets rich on you, and in return, treats you like you were dirt. This apart from contending with wrong items, sending them back, the hassle, the lost time, etc.. Doesn’t it make more sense to buy at a higher price than go through this kind of mess?

    They knew that they messed up big time with me and tried to even offer me compensation (a discount on the package price) in order to accept their order (they knew I was not going to accept delivery of the package as I had warned them after the last straw). Something, as I already stated, I did not accept, reason being that :

    (1) I knew the package was going to arrive with messed up items
    (2) I could not wait for them any longer, I needed the items – some of them for medication and therefore ordered them from somewhere else (they arrived within a week from other online places)
    (3) I do not accept to deal with companies who trick you with flashy WE DELIVER WITHIN X, but fail to do so – evidenced by a mass of people complaining about them on line.

    What I finally did was open up a fraud compalint with my bank and I got my money back – Chemist Direct did not contest my complaint with the bank. How could they? I kept all evidence (from mails to even copies of the chat with their customer service) I even pasted a copy of their advertised delivery dates on my complaint letter to the bank.

    Treat messed up business people with a hard hand – they should not be allowed to take you for a ride. Stick up for your rights and do not fall into their trap for discounted prices. Yes, good deals lure you into going for it – but think before you put your money in. Even if the money is pittance, you’ve worked hard for it – so why should rouge people take it from you and give you a hard time on top of that?

    Apologies for the long comment – if it helps other people from falling into the Chemist (next millenium) Direct – than at least it would’ve served some purpose.

    • Row says

      Hi Mark

      I do hope Chemist Direct see the comments on this post one day and it makes them wake up! I haven’t been tempted to shop with them at all since!

  7. PD says

    I have now given up contacting them, like Sarah all I get is “I can only apologise” and nothing gets done.

    So rather than wasting my time emailing/phoning them I have contacted The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain’s Legal and Ethical Advisory Service (to make a complaint mail them –> complaintsaboutpharmacists at rpsgb .org)

    I am considered setting up a website (something like to allow people log complaints against them.

  8. Albie says

    I didn’t know this kind of online chemist existed. It’s great!! I live quite far from my nearest chemist so it’s perfect for me. They have a really good array of health product and they often have very good offers on. They even have an embarrassing problems section which I would imagine would be great for a lot of people as there are certain things you would just prefer to buy online than in a chemist. It’s very easy to use and easy to find things on the site. They also have an excellent selection of products. So many of their products are on offer at reduced prices and it’s so convenient and easy to use, I shall be recommending Chemist Direct to all of my friends!

  9. George says

    Why does Albie’s contribution sound so rehearsed? All online pharmacies offer all the things mentioned – the difference is in the lies.

  10. Albie says

    I have never experience others so cannot comment on others. And the difference is in your personal experience George.

  11. George says

    Could very well be my personal experience. You just have to read the comments on this site alone (amongst many others) to gauge the value of your “personal experience” statement.

    But I don’t deny you’ve had a super experience with this incompetant organisation.

  12. PD says

    I actually just gave up chasing them in the end. I’ll never ever use them again. They’re a shower of liars, I have instead started using Boots for my online pharmacy needs, they cost a little bit more but they deliver on time and I have had no problem with returns.

    Maybe Albie was very lucky? Maybe, just maybe Chemist Direct got it right this time, I suppose even a broken clock is right twice a day…

  13. Cherry says

    I ordered from ChemistDirectUK for first time last year, it was great, except the box arrived quite beaten up, with hair shampoo spilled all over.
    I spent an hour last week filling my cart for another order, to be then told right at end check-out, that they are no longer shipping to the USA.
    Well cheers a bunch. They could say so up front on their website, couldn’t they, to save wasting folks’ time?
    Interesting to read everyones’ comments on here. Thanks for letting each other know of our experiences.

  14. Kurt says

    My tablets were very old. 1 year and 4 month, leaving them 1 year and 8 month to expire date. Not the best service.

  15. Dee Dee says

    What can I say. Wish I’d read this (and all the other reviews) earlier. 5 days now from placing my order, and nothing seems to be happening. At all! Guess that brings me back to square one when it comes to picking my suppliers online. 5 years of internet shopping and no such experience. The website design and pretty much everything looks professional – it’s just the actual service that is shite.

  16. virgiliu says

    Hi everybody,
    There are 11 days since I have ordered and paid some medicines at Chemist Direct UK and nothing happens, despite that the products were “on stock”. I have mailed them my claim but, I didn’t receive an answer.
    Could be a fraud? What shell I do? Please advise me, many thanks in advance.

  17. virgiliu says

    Thanks Row, I didn’t call them, I just e-mailed them.
    The medicines have arrived in good conditions but, after 19 days (8 days Royal Mail+11 days Chemist Direct), perhaps because of the end year holydays.
    I also received a polite answer to my claim, so the case is closed.

  18. ZB says

    I got my money back, thank goodness, but they’re probably still ‘selling’ the out of stock product. The sales rep had the nerve to blame my bank – she says they withhold money for 21 days – so I reminded her of the people I’d be calling for help (police, pharmaceutical society, trading standards, etc). My money was refunded the next day. Ridiculous!

    If they’re dragging out your refund, don’t give in! Keep fighting back. Mine was only £13, but it’s the principle. It took three days of emailing, but my promises got my money back. Make sure you leave honest reviews online, but watch how fast it gets pushed down by positive, glowing reviews by people who have only reviewed once.

    STAY AWAY FROM CHEMIST DIRECT and DIRECT CHEMIST!!! Signing up for one website signs you up for the other. Those newspapers and Martin Lewis should be ashamed for sending so much business this way!