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Author: Subject: Ordering from a reagent supplier—risky?
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[*] posted on 25-5-2015 at 10:51
Ordering from a reagent supplier—risky?


I'm a layman now, but when I was still a grad student, I had at times ordered from Sigma-Aldrich. It looks like I still have my Sigma-Aldrich account (they even insist on sending me periodic notifications about special deals), as well as my university email address, where I receive those emails. What is the (legal) risk, if any, that I'd be facing if I place orders for reagents? Would I be placed on some watch list, etc.? By using that email address to place an order, I would be implicitly misrepresenting myself as still being in university.
This is in Canada, if it matters.

[Edited on 25-5-2015 by Crowbar]
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[*] posted on 25-5-2015 at 14:14


Most likely depends on what you're ordering, I doubt anyone would care if you're ordering K2CO3, although I don't know why you'd want to pay extra to get if from Sigma...
Might it also be an issue that you can no longer order it to you university's address?
I recommend searching for another supplier. You can get (almost) anything Sigma Aldrich will sell you if you look hard enough/are willing to pay enough.




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[*] posted on 25-5-2015 at 14:54


If I could order from Sigma-Aldrich for my small business it would save me a hell of a lot of wait time for things like Anhydrous THF or n-Bu-Li. In factt, I can't even obtain tiny quantities of n-butyllithium in Australia for any money from any other supplier. Sigma-Aldrich have a large product range and pretty good customer support / documentation.

I would keep your account and order from them a couple of times per year to maintain a buying history. If you have a valid reason for ordering a material, they seem fairly happy to help.

Caveat emptor: They do sell a lot of things that are highly restricted or controlled so your mileage may vary where "risk" is concerned.



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[*] posted on 25-5-2015 at 15:12


These days ordering anything from anywhere is a Risk.

Everything you do is a Risk.

All notions of Safety have always been an illusion.

Judge Risk versus Reward and then decide.




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[*] posted on 25-5-2015 at 15:30


If you try to order to any other address than the original one, they will likely start asking for more info. As long as you are not ordering anything restricted, I doubt that they will do more than say no. If the item is not hazardous or special, then just as easy and likely cheaper to find elsewhere. I don't order much from them now, other then dry solvents and a few special chemicals, as they are so expensive now. They are also very good for restricted chemicals, since they handle them so often. Many small companies don't bother with them due tot he paperwork. But Oakwood, Matrix, Strem, and others are much better.
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[*] posted on 25-5-2015 at 15:37


Apparently in all world exist a chemical inquisition. I'am argentine and your situation is the same.:(
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[*] posted on 25-5-2015 at 18:38


I think everyone will tell you the same thing.

There are multiple suppliers that are far less expensive, and you will not place yourself in a "gray" area.

If it is specialty items you are after... there are many vendors that deal in Bit Coin. They are listed all over the net, and you can look up their validity before ordering. Paper trails, and encrypted emails are your enemy.




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[*] posted on 26-5-2015 at 03:41


I'm not doing anything illicit, though almost ten years (and a couple of sciencemadness accounts) ago I did play around with energetic substances. While the fun of that wore off and I'm more careful now, I'm worried about unknowingly ordering something that's watched. Most things are multi-use, after all. Having to cross-check anything one might decide to order for being restricted or watched seems a sad state of affairs in this paranoid world.

Dr.Bob: the address being different is a good point, but I figure that as long as I can find someone on campus to receive shipments for me, it's good enough. I'm also considering using my work address, as ordering to a commercial address might be sufficient to avoid raising any concerns, at least for non-restricted items.
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[*] posted on 26-5-2015 at 16:42


Aldrich sells reagents NO-ONE-ELSE offers.

If you have something interesting to sell, these are your guys. Used to be, that was the way they acquired those items, that no-one-else offers. I suppose it still is.

They have always had a paranoid stance. At least, here in the U.S..
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[*] posted on 28-5-2015 at 09:31


I've tried contacting big companies, they didn't even reply to my messages :(. So If I were you I wouldn't deal with Sigma directly. However, I 've had very got experiences with small resellers (resellers of Sigma, Acros, TCI etc. reagents). They are willing to sell literally anything (well, not anything but a lot of reagents that I've never imagined to have one day).
Don't hide! If the police want to catch you they will catch you no matter how hard you try to hide your identity.
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[*] posted on 28-5-2015 at 16:13


Quote: Originally posted by Zombie  
I think everyone will tell you the same thing.

There are multiple suppliers that are far less expensive, and you will not place yourself in a "gray" area.

If it is specialty items you are after... there are many vendors that deal in Bit Coin. They are listed all over the net, and you can look up their validity before ordering. Paper trails, and un-encrypted emails are your enemy.



I had to edit this to read UN-Encrypted.

FTP! :o

[Edited on 5-29-2015 by Zombie]




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[*] posted on 1-6-2015 at 17:39


Even the small college I attended, didn't order directly from Aldrich. Small orders were typically fulfilled through a middleman. My U., used VWR. Personally, I used Daiggers.

Keep in mind, laws on this subject are very complicated. Ordering using U. credentials, when you actually aren't U. affiliated, might be construed as setting up a "Front Company". Such an action, in itself is suspicious.....and possibly a crime.

Better to order though an intermediary that willingly sells to you, than to misrepresent your credentials, so as to deal directly with Aldrich or another major supplier.

Last time, I called Aldrich directly, just to make a gentle, legal, inquiry....I heard a novice clerk, on the other end of the line, whispering excitedly to a co-worker or supervisor...." I think I've got one on the line!".

In their world, you are an insect. They don't need or want your small order. And, to avoid liability or possible legal difficulties, they would prefer to simply get your info., and report you to Homeland Security, or Etc.

Depending on where and how your order is processed, it may be perused or reviewed by a Control Agent. An under-occupied revved-up Control Agent is bad news. Some items of purchase, are naturally highly suspicious, but to a revved up, Control Agent......EVERY item of purchase will be viewed as suspicious.
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