Buyer Beware: Tips for Buying Incontinence Products Online

I've talked about the difference between adult diapers and protective underwear and how to decipher the incontinence care aisle at your local supermarket or drugstore, but now I want to focus on another interesting marketplace: the virtual one. Over the next few posts, I'll discuss what the smart incontinence care product shopper should be aware of when shopping online. Let’s start with one of the most important factors...I bet you're not going to guess what it is!

Shipping Can Cost a Pretty Penny

That's right: in the business of incontinence care products, shipping is the ultimate equalizer. It costs a lot of money to send a 25-pound package of diapers from one end of the country to the other, so, when shopping online, take a careful look at the shipping policy of your online provider. Once you've found a few Web sites that carry the products you may be interested in, you should read the shipping policy before looking at the products, as this is an excellent indicator of the kind of customer service experience you’d get with this provider.

Is Free Shipping Really Free?

Online retailers often offer free shipping. If you come across this offer, be sure to read the fine print. Is there a minimum amount you must purchase before shipping is free? Are all zip codes in the contiguous United States covered by free shipping policies? (Alaska and Hawaii are usually out of luck, unfortunately.) Sometimes these retailers will only ship to the surrounding area for free, while charging customers across the country quite a bit for a longer trip on the UPS or FedEx truck.

Savvy Shopper or Clicker-Happy?

Shipping should be convenient and reasonably priced. Make sure you’re getting a good deal. Ask yourself the following about the retailer’s shipping policies:

  • Does the provider offer discreet packaging (i.e., no labels or mentions of package's contents)? If so, is it free?
  • Will the company deliver to PO boxes, nursing homes and/or apartment complexes?
  • Can you select which carrier your package is shipped by? What about the service (e.g., overnight, two-day, priority, etc.)?
  • If purchasing from a Canadian or overseas supplier, what are the charges for customs and international freight?
  • Can you see total shipping charges before checking out and/or creating an account with the online store?
  • After shipping costs, is the product any cheaper than buying it at your local supermarket or drugstore?

Be sure to read the store's shipping policy thoroughly before committing to a large purchase. It’s never fun to get to the end of a lengthy checkout process only to realize that your "free shipping" is going to cost you $30 more than you thought it would! In my next post, we'll discuss some of the other features of shopping for incontinence products online, including comparing products across Web sites. Until then, be well!

Your Partner in Comfort,



Learn everything about adult diapers by visiting Everything About Incontinence.


Gary is an adviser to online incontinence care products provider