Within the past year, I have given Prescript-Assist glowing, rave reviews for helping me to recover from some severe allergies, reflux, and muscle weakness. While I stand by my recommendation to give them a try in desperate situations when your digestion is severely out of whack, I would like to walk it back a bit on my general recommendation. Suddenly things have not been going well for me on this supplement, and it turns out their return policies don’t bear any kind of criticism.
I’m not the only one who has had an experience like this. Just a glance at the reviews for Prescript-Assist on Amazon will show you the true effectiveness of this product for people who could be best described as “leaky gut” sufferers. In this 5-star–bespeckled landscape, there exist hundreds of accounts of allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, skin issues, and severe digestive problems disappearing overnight. To me, this is absolutely a testament to its effectiveness, and it mirrors the results I got with it.
However, there were some reviews on this page where there were updates several months later where they described their reaction to it taking a turn for the worse. The first five-star review has this appended to it (since you can conveniently update your product reviews on Amazon):
A have been taking Prescript Assist for almost 2 months now and I wish to update my review. I have been recommending this to a lot of people and have given samples to some. A few people told me that Prescript Assist made them feel like they had to go to the bathroom several times a day and it felt like they had to constantly go to the bathroom. What we found out was that the does was too strong to start. Don’t know why. So they adjusted the dose to about ¼ capsule, then after a week or 2 went to ½ capsule and worked up from there.
This product has helped me so much, I am feeling better every day. Some other problems I have experienced over the last several years seem to be getting better since I have been taking this, including dry eyes and dry skin including a mild case of eczema.
To be fair, the indications for Prescript-Assist suggest a somewhat interventional period, followed by a lowered dose for “maintenance.” Well, looking around I’m having trouble finding that specific recommendation, but I do remember reading it. Perhaps they changed it. In any case, that’s my recommendation. Take an aggressive dose of 1 or 2 capsules per day, then taper off, just as you would with an antibiotic.
Recap on the Good Side of Prescript-Assist
For me, before taking it I’d been having worsening allergies, chemical sensitivities, and EMF sensitivity that made it so I couldn’t sleep in any house. This was in my opinion, secondary to mold exposure I’d been experiencing from a very humid summer when we weren’t running the HVAC or a dehumidifier. While I waited for the house to dehumidify and the air to be purified, I was sleeping in my car, and even that was becoming difficult for various reasons, like the need to breathe.
My reflux had gotten so bad that it would occur right after I had eaten lunch. (This was actually a relapse to severe reflux that I’d pretty much recovered from years ago.) So, you can imagine how relieved and excited I was about this product after having that first pill slide down and start melting away the symptoms within the first minute. You can read more about my account in the original review.
How Things Got Ugly with Prescript-Assist
Probably one of the most reliable biomarkers for when supplements, foods, or even environments become a problem for you all of a sudden is smell. At first, I always felt great almost every time I took a PA capsule. During that “honeymoon” period, the stuff literally smelled like chocolate. This might be a good chance to mention that most of what you see in the capsule is something called leonardite/humic acid. To be exact, this is how they describe it on their FAQ section:
Leonardite is used in our Prescript-Assist soil-based probiotic as a prebiotic – helping to establish the beneficial microflora once it reaches your gut by acting as an immediate food source.
Leonardite itself is a mineraloid substance that results when lignite – a sedimentary rock formed from decaying plant material – is oxidized.
It is a rich source of humic acid and is often used to condition depleted and polluted soils due to its ability to accelerate microbial activity.
So, I’m pretty sure it’s just a special word for “dirt.” But it’s definitely good dirt.
So suddenly, after about 4 or 5 months of using it, I started having serious issues when ordering on Amazon.com. I always ordered there because I would procrastinate and wait until I only had one or two doses left to order. The last few bottles I ever ordered on there were through Prime, but they were always “delayed,” especially when I did one-day shipping. As in, when I ordered them one-day, there were two or three times when they were more likely to be late—like, 5 days late. In those instances, I always had like 2 or 3 follow-up orders from different sellers to hopefully get them 3 days after the original order, as opposed to a whole week afterwards.
During these doldrums of the probiotic-hungry gut, I would always frantically clamor around Facebook for some spare Prescript-Assist I might bum from my Paleo/local farm contacts. I never actually was able to procure any in these times of need, actually. Sometimes you’re just high and dry I guess.
The second time I went through this fiasco and I finally got my order (about 2 weeks late), I noticed the nice chocolatey smell I had grown to love had changed. It was now kind of sour—and well, dirty. But I took it anyway, having so much trust in the product that had once saved me from such depths. In the next week, popping them started giving me a bit of a tummy ache, followed by straight GERD-type acid reflux (the really acidic type that happens more when you lie down).
Being always attuned to my body and various reactions from things I consume, I quickly narrowed down that the problem was the Prescript-Assist. The negative effect was so pronounced, there was no way I was going to finish that particular bottle of it. I thought it couldn’t be the actual company or manufacturing that would produce such a starkly different result, so I decided to try ordering directly from the company just to make sure it wasn’t something in the food.
Fiasco with Prescript-Assist Customer Service
So this was my experience ordering PA directly from the manufacturer, once Magnetic Clay, now Enviromedica. First off, the shipping was way overpriced. It was $10+ to ship a literally 1-ounce bottle. I ship stuff that I sell online for a living, so I know very wel that this should cost only about $2.50 (if you use USPS, which is plenty reliable). When I ultimately complained about the shipping cost (it took about 5 days to get to me, by the way), the rep insisted they wanted to use something “more reliable.” They used UPS. I don’t particularly see that as much more reliable, and certainly wasn’t more expedient.
But back to the point, upon receiving and trying my new bottle of these once-miraculous probiotics, this time straight from the manufacturer, I had the same exact symptoms—excessive and spontaneous eructation (burping) followed by severe acid reflux. It was time to turn in the towel and find a different probiotic (or stop taking them altogether).
My Correspondence with Enviromedica Returns (Story Basically Over)
When I tried to return them, though, I had a serious hang-up. The rep told me they didn’t accept returns of opened products. Upon vehemently expressing my disappointment over this in a choice-worded email to the customer representative, I received this reply, which I think says it all about their attitude over at Magnetic Clay/Enviromedica:
Your email was forwarded to me with your concerns. I would like to address them individually, as there are quite a few points being made, and I don’t want to overlook anything.
In regards to the shipping expense, we use UPS as our preferred method due to efficiency and reliability, even though they may in some cases be the more costly option. In the past we have tried to use other forms of shipping to save our customers money, but had too many issues with damage and lost packages that were never accounted for, attended to, or refunded by the US postal service. As a small business that prides itself on quality, we choose to use a shipper we’re confident in and we fully believe that you do, in fact, get what you pay for.
Pertaining to the product’s affect on your health and well-being, the Prescript Assist is a complementary blend of millions of beneficial microorganisms that are formulated to have a positive impact on your gut microbiome – a community that is made up of trillions of microorganisms. Our microbiomes are affected not only by what we eat and the supplements that we consume, but by our lifestyle, stress levels, age, genetics, and even the time of day as our circadian rhythm influences the ebb and flow of varying bacterial communities involved in our metabolic cycle. Each and every person’s experience with the product is as individual as a fingerprint, and as no living being remains in a static state, each experience with the Prescript Assist will fluctuate depending on all of these factors and more. For these reasons, we do try to set forth reasonable expectations for the product that do not entail the promise of miracles, nor do they guarantee that a customer will noticeable effects of changes that are occurring on such a microscopic, yet systemic, level. What we promote is the understanding that gut health is critical to our overall health and wellness, and that by adding strength and diversity to our internal ecosystem via beneficial symbionts we are promoting optimal conditions for us to thrive.
We cannot control those unauthorized resellers who choose to list our products on Amazon, nor can I comment on the integrity of what would be purchased on there due to the nature of how companies operate on such third party webstores. However, the quality and consistency of our products are under tight control at all times, and given the high demand of the Prescript Assist product, our own available stock is nearly always shipped within 1-2 months from the date of manufacture. On a personal note, I am slightly confused as to why after purchasing 6 bottles from Amazon you would suddenly feel the need to purchase this final bottle from us, and it be the one to cause you discomfort. Although you mentioned the last bottle from Amazon beginning to “give you bad symptoms,” and yet you proceeded to purchase another one with that knowledge in mind with no mention of consulting with a physician regarding the symptoms that brought you concern. I hope that you are able to see why I am perplexed by this.
That being said, we do have a strict return policy that we adhere to. Given that your experience with our Prescript Assist product shows only a single purchase in our system, I cannot comment on anything outside of this single snapshot. We are not a large company, and our policies are in place to ensure that we are able to service the natural health community for years to come. These policies are transparently listed directly on our website so that customers are aware of them prior to completing their purchase and can make their own informed decision on what their best option is – both for their health as well as their financial situation.
I do apologize if you feel that is something that we should provide recompense for. However, since we fulfilled our duty to the best of our ability by providing a quality product in an expedient manner, we do not feel remiss for denying a request to supply the aforementioned product free of charge.
Gosh, I hate this crap! While I couldn’t agree more with her first paragraph about the volatility of each individual’s system, it was the rest of the email that really showed their lack of due attention and understanding. In a case like mine, where I suddenly developed a sensitivity to your product, which I’ve spent thousands of dollars on in the past, it’s perfectly reasonable to want a refund for the last order when it stopped working.
Her response is a perfect example of how people nowadays do not seem to understand even the simplest of concepts. This representative obviously didn’t read what I said (or interpreted it how she wanted to so she could write this non-customer–oriented response making it sound like I was being ridiculous). She didn’t seem to get that: 1) I experienced negative symptoms from the bottle I ordered from Amazon and 2) immediately assumed it was the seller’s problem, not the product, and 3) decided to try the one directly from the manufacturer—yet, 4) it still gave me bad symptoms, so 5) I wanted to return it.
If you’ll take a minute and look at the bolded section of her email above, you’ll see that she completely contradicted herself. She implied that I basically “decided” to buy a final bottle from them and have “it be the one to cause [me] discomfort.” Yet, she also acknowledged my claim that the previous problem orders were from Amazon, wondering why I would even bother ordering another bottle without consulting my doctor first? What the–?! People are seriously losing the ability to express themselves and/or understand what others are trying to communicate, or they’re just intentionally finding new ways to sully up the proceedings so that “difficult” people will just get lost or frustrated, then ultimately give up.
I bought a bottle from you directly because I thought maybe the quality was lacking because of bad storage from the seller from Amazon, and wanted to make sure PA was no longer working for me. In other words, I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t the quality of the item or some other contamination from a third-party seller, but the product itself that wasn’t working..
You’re not giving me enough credit on my understanding of these products. Please don’t assume I don’t understand. P-A actually has been nothing short of a miracle for me in the past, but all of a sudden it doesn’t work for me. I have actually previously reviewed your product and featured it and recommended it without reservation (which I will have to rectify, now with even further review of your poor customer service practices). Nonetheless, my reaction to it is now different, and I have to reevaluate. I’ve read other people who have suddenly had digestive distress from taking it as well. Until we can see inside the gut, we can’t understand this reason.
I don’t necessarily consider this change a fault in the product (unless it somehow turns out it’s from consistency of the bacteria within), but due to the volatility of each individual, you need to provide an ability to return this item without question if it no longer works for an individual. This is a great fault of your company. Almost every supplement company offers this option of return without questions due to the changing needs of the customer, and because of this stellar point of customer service, they are always able to make ends meet having provided reliable and reasonable service. I’m a businessman myself, and offering a return policy, especially on something you generate, has never undermined the profit I was making due to creating something I always stand by.
Again, this product can affect people in different ways at different times depending on the other markers of their wellbeing. Your comment about an individual fingerprint applies here. But you’re oversimplifying it, because obviously the way you described it implies that it changes. So please recognize that, and adjust your return policy accordingly.
That shipping amount is completely beyond ridiculous as well. I stand by that, as someone who sells products online and ships all around the world. USPS offers quite reasonable rates, and this could easily be as low as $5 with insurance included if you use first class. This is at most a 10 oz. item with a box, so that’s entirely possible.
The tone of your reply is baffling to me, because you seem to be likewise baffled that I would continue to order a product that has worked consistently for me in the past. Why is that confusing? I told you exactly my reasons for ordering directly from the website. Because I wanted to make sure I got the most representative sample of it before I completely eliminated it from my supplement roster. Also, you brought up my having trouble with the last batch that I ordered from Amazon, and implied that the fault was in that product, simultaneously failing to acknowledge that I ascertained from ordering directly from you that the product wasn’t agreeing with me at all now. I do wish that you would try and at least be logical.On all counts, you’re being absolutely unreasonable to someone who has supported your company for the better part of a year. You’ve completely negated the unbridled positive regard I once had for Enviromedica.
—regarding which I received reply nil to this very day.
So my rating for the customer service level of Enviromedica: