Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Buying Pet Medicine Online

We were looking for places to buy arthritis medication online for our eight-year-old Queensland Heeler/Border Collie mix, and I was surprised to find how sleazy many of them are--hiding the true identity of the companies or individuals behind them with private domain registrations, postal mailboxes, etc. For example, discountpetmedicines.com had a great price, but turned out to actually be a directory service operated by a company called OnTrack Professionals, Inc. (an Oklahoma corporation whose registered agent is John M. Gerkin, an attorney who was just named as a Special Judge for Washington and Nowata counties in September). The directory service points to a Yahoo store called entirelypets.com. Entirelypets.com has a Network Solutions private registration:
Domain Name: ENTIRELYPETS.COM

Administrative Contact:
EntirelyPets.com, EntirelyPets.com rm3xt7yr2ra@networksolutionsprivateregistration.com
ATTN: ENTIRELYPETS.COM
c/o Network Solutions
P.O. Box 447
Herndon, VA 20172-0447
570-708-8780
Its website gives a mailing address in Norfolk, Nebraska that's a private mailbox service:
710 South 13th Street Suite 900
PMB# 384
Norfolk, NE 68701
I went into the site's online chat:
Please wait for a site operator to respond.
Chat Information
You are now chatting with 'Herman'
Herman: Welcome to EntirelyPets.com! How can I assist you?

Jim: Hello, Herman. I'm trying to find out if there is a legitimate corporation behind entirelypets.com before I do business with you.

Jim: How can I verify that?

Herman: That's an excellent question sir. We have been in business for over 6 years now. The name of our corporation is HealthyPets, Inc. We are certainly legitimate. If you would like to speak with one of our reps you can call us at 1-800-889-8967.

Jim: Is that a Nebraska corporation?

Herman: That is both a Nebraska and California Corporation. All of our shipments are made from CA, but our main branch is here in Nebraska.

Jim: OK, thank you very much!
I looked up information on HealthyPets, Inc., and found that there is no Nebraska corporate registration for a company with that name, but there is one in California:
HEALTHYPETS, INC.
Number: C2133197 Date Filed: 2/5/1999 Status: active
Jurisdiction: California
Address
43450 MINTWOOD ST
FREMONT, CA 94538
Agent for Service of Process
M GHUMMAN
43450 MINTWOOD ST
FREMONT, CA 94538
M. Ghumman turns out to be Mandeep Ghumman, DVM, and it turns out that HealthyPets, Inc. has a long history of registering domains in the names of other online pet stores and vets, and then losing them to those other pet stores and vets in WIPO arbitration hearings:

petsuppliesforless.com and lambiarvet.com (awarded to the owners of petsupplies4less.com and lambriarvet.com in 2003).

kvvetsupply.com (awarded to KV Vet Supply in 2001)

drfostersmith.com (awarded to Dr. Foster & Smith in 2000)

The site at the HealthyPets.com domain--which includes references to HealthyPets, Inc.--does not sell any prescription medications, so far as I can see, though clearly at least the entirelypets.com site, which contains no references to a real company, does.

I also found a record of complaints about HealthyPets, Inc. at ripoffreport.com, which points out that they use other domains like naturalpets.com, petmedications.com, and toppetmed.com, as well as reports on a number of consumer complaints about the company.

I decided to go instead with 1800petmeds.com, which is a publicly traded company whose CEO is named and pictured on the site, figuring that I'd rather pay more than do business with a sleazy company. As it turns out, 1800petmeds.com has a price-matching policy, and actually offered us a better price than entirelypets.com was offering.

2 comments:

Einzige said...

I tried going there this morning to see if I could buy some Milbemax (de-wormer) for my cats, but the site seems to be down.

In their defense, it is December 24th, so some slacking is forgivable, I suppose.

Twinkle said...
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