Online seed banks offer seeds at better prices than physical stores. In addition, ordering your seeds from online shops is much more convenient than buying them through traditional means. You do not have to go out of your way just to drive or travel to a nearby seed shop for some starter materials to your garden.
However, there are risks when it comes to buying seeds online. To avoid these risks, it is important to buy from one of the legitimate and best Canadian seed banks online. Here are several signs to know a seed shop is legit.
Has HTTPS on the URL address
The first sign of a legit online seed bank is the HTTPS at its URL or address bar instead of just HTTP. The added “S” at the end stands for security or that you are accessing the site through a secure or private connection. Any data that you enter from your computer or mobile device will go through an encryption process. This will make all information nearly impossible for people outside of the connection to read or decipher. Certain browsers will also warn you if you are visiting a site that does not have a private connection.
Acquiring an HTTPS requires applying and buying an SSL certification for a site. For rogue sites or criminals, the process hardly pays off if they are aiming to create a near-legitimate fake online shop. Take note that hackers may actually create a fake site that bears the HTTPS address at the top. The secure connection only applies to select parts of the website such as the front page. Meanwhile, the order or payment page part of the site is not on a secured connection. Always be mindful of the HTTPS at the top when you are about to enter any sensitive information on any site.
Seed bank site has been around for more than a year
You want to make sure that you are buying from a company who has been selling cannabis seeds for more than a year. Seed banks that have been around for at least a year are likely to be selling legitimate seeds and are able to keep afloat for a long time due to steady business. On the other hand, rogue sites are usually only around for less than a year.
A subjective way of knowing the age of a seed bank is to use a Wayback Machine website. This place takes a screenshot of most sites at certain dates and puts it in the archives. Check on the screenshots of a seed bank from at least a year ago. Most of the best Canadian seed banks will have a similar design on their current page.
Legitimate credentials on the domain name
Look up the domain name of a seed bank through domain registrar sites. The domain name is the website address of a seed shop at the top of your browser. Legitimate seed banks should not be using a private registration. This means that the domain’s contact is the provider and not the person owns it. Check for any indication that this is not a transferred domain. If it is, it can be a compromised site and is not legitimate.
Check on the contact information of the domain as well. If there are no details on the name of the domain owner or their email, consider it a red flag. Should there be a name, be wary if it sounds generic like Adam Smith. Check the registered email of the domain. This should at least be consistent with the owner of the name such as adamsth@gmail. If it looks like gregorythmsn@gmail, consider it a red flag. Take note of the domain of the email address as well. Hackers tend to use disposable email addresses that usually ends in domains such as yopmail.
While we are on the topic of domains, you can also look up the age of the seed bank through the creation date of their domain. Registrar sites will show you the creation date of a domain within its listing. As state above, legitimate signs will have a domain name that is more than a year old.
Another detail to check on a registrar site is the domain owner’s country. Seed banks that have a Canadian address should show that the domain owner is someone in the country as well. It is not a good sign if the owner is in a different country.
Contact details return an actual response
Check a seed bank’s ‘contact us’ page. If there is a phone number on the site, consider dialing it. If someone responds and acknowledge work for the company, this is a good sign. Take note that many companies will have an auto messaging system if you call their number. Do not quickly think this is a bad sign if you get a messaging system upon calling the number. However, it is a bad sign if no one picks up an hour or more and you are calling the number during common working hours.
Use the email address and chat support line on the seed bank site if you do not see any numbers listed. Ask about their policies such as how they would process of returns or how they will handle bulk orders. If you get a legitimate response that looks like an actual person wrote it and does not come off as robotic, this is a good sign of a legit seed bank.
Offers credit card and other secured payment options
Be careful of seed banks that only allow you to pay for your orders through money order, prepaid cash cards, or cryptocurrencies. These three form of payments does not have any security or protection on your orders. If the site happens to be an illegitimate seed bank or if you did not receive your order, the criminals can easily steal your money and be gone without a trace.
Legitimate seed banks should include another secured form of payments such as credit cards and e-wallet services. Should something happen to your order, card companies will work on getting back your money from any criminals. It is important to note that having any of the three payment orders listed above does not automatically make a seed bank illegitimate. Always consider ordering from a site that offers secure payment options along with money order, cash cards, and digital coins.
Have numerous positive and neutral authentic reviews
Go to a cannabis community site that has listings of various seed banks. They often allow people to leave feedback on any seed shops. A good sign to look for here is multiple positive reviews with a mix of negative and neutral ones. Not all companies that have been in the business for a long time can satisfy all of its customers, so there is likely a few that have had a bad experience with them.
Take note of the authenticity of the positive and neutral reviews of the site. Be wary if there are more than 10 reviews that only say ‘good quality’ or ‘fast shipping’. If you find several reviews that detail their experience with a seed bank, you are sure that this is a legitimate one.
Looking up reviews is also another alternative method of checking on a seed bank’s years in business. You can be sure that a seed shop has been around for a long time if you see reviews that date back to more than a year ago.
Nearly zero grammar or spelling error
You now know what to look for in a legitimate seed bank. The age of a site and use of HTTPS are immediate signs of a good seed shop. Do the extra legwork in looking up the site’s domain and contact information to help you know if you can trust a specific seed bank.
By buying quality seeds from a legitimate seed bank, you can improve yourself with the buds that you harvest. As Sebastian Marincolo would say “A marijuana high can enhance core human mental abilities. It can help you to focus, to remember, to see new patterns, to imagine, to be creative, to introspect, to empathically understand others, and to come to deep insights.”