Merchant and Website Classifications Guide

LegitScript assigns a legitimacy classification to websites and merchants selling supplements, pharmaceuticals, and other products or services. The core principle: the merchant should comply with laws and regulations where it is located, as well as the laws and regulations in each jurisdiction where it serves customers.

In the interests of public health, LegitScript’s legitimacy classifications for Internet pharmacies and eyewear retailer websites are searchable from LegitScript’s home page. For other merchant types, the legitimacy classifications are a component of our monitoring services for payment processors, e-commerce websites, and other platforms.

As a general matter, we put merchants and websites in four main categories:

Rogue. This means that the merchant’s primary purpose is to engage in some sort of illegal, unsafe, or misleading activity, like selling prescription drugs or contact lenses without requiring a prescription, defrauding customers, or selling counterfeit goods. We recommend that payment processors, search engines, registrars, and e-commerce platforms terminate services to these entities.

Unapproved. This denotes some problem with regulatory compliance or risk, but is typically less egregious than “rogue.” These sometimes include merchants who are operating legally in one jurisdiction but not in others. Most unapproved healthcare merchants are disallowed from search engine advertising, major e-commerce platforms, and payment processing until they address the regulatory problem.

Unverified (or, for some merchants, “Inapplicable”). These are neutral descriptors and usually denote the absence of an obvious problem. Many “unverified” merchants are those that, at first blush, appear eligible for certification, but have not been subjected to our certification or voluntary monitoring programs.

Legitimate. This is available only to merchants and websites eligible for one of LegitScript’s certification programs (currently online pharmacies and eyewear), and verifies that the merchant or website has passed LegitScript certification criteria.

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