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Drugstore.Com tries to treat people with free shipping, instead treats them to frustration.

a personal experience

I placed an order with after receiving an offer from them for free shipping on a minimum $10 order. I had intended this to be shipped to my sister in Virginia, but when I received the confirmation, the shipping address indicated it would be shipped to my home in California.

This had apparently happened because I had used the "back" button after I submitted the order. Evidently it erased the shipping address I had typed in when that happened, and I didn't notice it.

I contacted them, asking that they correct the shipping address. Here's the wonderful response I received:

This message is to confirm that we have successfully canceled your order at your request. We have included the following order details for your review. Rest assured, your credit card has not been charged for this order.

I tried to re-enter the order, but it refused to honor the promotional link that offered the free shipping. So I wrote back to They responded as follows, offering a credit equal to the shipping charges:

Thank you for shopping at This e-mail confirms that we have issued a credit to your account in the amount of $5.49.

To use this credit, simply shop at and place your order. The credit amount will automatically be deducted from your order total. If the order total is less than the credit amount, a credit will remain on your account. This credit is good toward any non-prescription item in the store, but does not cover shipping charges or taxes.

Fine. I was ready to re-enter the order, but then I realized that they had re-entered the order. Unfortunately, it still had the wrong shipping address.

I wrote them back to point out the error, and a few minutes later, I got another confirmation, finally with the correct shipping address. But as far as I can tell, the second order (i.e. the one they entered with the wrong shipping address) was never canceled.

Here's the explanation I ultimately got from them:

I apologize for any inconvenience that you've experienced as a result of your recent order

Unfortunately, due to the volume and rapid processing of the orders we receive, it is not possible to modify the shipping address for an order after it has been placed. Therefore, I have successfully canceled your order number 99999999999999. Please be assured that your credit card will not be charged for this canceled order.

For your convenience I have replaced this with order number 99999999999999. I've added [your sister's address in Virginia] as the shipping address for this order.

For future reference, please verify your shipping address when placing your order on the final "place order" screen. There you will have the option to change the shipping address if necessary. To do this, click on the purple "change" button below the shipping address shown.

Again, please accept our apologies. We take pride in the convenience and reliability of the service we provide at and it disappoints us anytime a customer is inconvenienced. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. A member of our Customer Care staff will be happy to assist you.

It's just great to be chastized by customer service after suffering through this.

I'm not sure I accept their excuse that their system is too fast to correct orders. After all, one major value of an order confirmation would be to provide an opportunity to correct errors before shipment. Obviously, significantly delaying the order isn't in anybody's best interest, but it might make sense to allow a small amount of time (an hour?) in the event that somebody does check their confirmation in that period and notices a problem.

Anyway, I've learned my lesson: I'm not perfect enough to order from
Martha Mantel web search for Martha Mantel - 10 Dec 2003

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Revision r1.1 - 11 Dec 2003 - 06:55 by EliMantel web search for EliMantel
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