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Thread: Avoid Scams and bad deals
07-10-2013, 08:51 AM #1
Avoid Scams and bad deals
I wanted to write this post for anyone new to our community, or to anyone who is a bit nervous of making their first purchase. Like any trade, ours has it's share of scammers and just plain bad people. You can't really 100% avoid them but you CAN avoid losing your money or ending up with a sick animal in most cases. I am sorry that anyone gets scammed or gets a crappy animal. It sucks being quite excited by a new purchase only to feel you've been taken for a ride, and now you have the worry of the animals health to deal with. Here are my personal suggestions and other members can feel free to add their ideas and ways to avoid scams.
Examination- Exam the animal in FULL. Refuse to buy if the seller doesn't not allow you to. I understand in public meeting places (always meet in public) that it's difficult. However, I go into my own car with the animal and have a once over. A snake is a bit easier then geckos as there are two business ends that need the closest look, the vent and the mouth. Do not buy from anyone until you've looked at the entire animal, including paying close attention to those places. If the seller doesn't like it, again, you are free to walk away. I try and sell my geckos in tight clear containers, allowing for the buyer to do a near full exam without even handling the gecko. I offer my car and always carry bright lights if it's at night. All so the buyer can be satisfied BEFORE handing me money. If they don't like what they see, they can walk away. Surprisingly, MANY customers of mine don't even bother barely looking at the animal!!! Luckily I don't sell crap but this behavior is really scary to me for those people. They will get ripped off.
Payment and receipts - I am always amazed that people hand their hard earned money over to me, and about less then 10% ask for anything that proves they even bought something from me. I am not talking about tax purposes. I am talking about having literally *anything* that proves you handed cash to someone for a product. Ask for something. Print the classified ad and the emails/save them for a year on your hard drive. Save all text messages. It's surprising to me how many "I was scammed" threads go up on Fauna and the buyer has nothing. Nothing to show they made a transaction. As for payment, never use bank transfer. Ever. Never use money orders, ever. In todays world we have MANY safe payment options.
Sexing - If it's important that you purchase a certain sex, ask to sex the animal yourself. Some sellers do not want a random person probing their animals. That is o.k and doesn't always mean they have something to hide as many people are very protective of their stock....but it leaves you with the option of only buying from sellers with OUTSTANDING reps so you can trust the sex they tell you it is without sexing it yourself, or moving on to the next seller who WILL allow you to sex the snake on your own before buying.
Feedback and word of mouth- In many cases, every story has two sides. So even feedback needs to be read closely. Remember, lots of little guys sell OUTSTANDING animals and don't bother with feedback. On the flip side, if someone has numerous remarks from customers about being unhappy, you may want to think about that if you cannot afford to take a risk. So talk to people. Ask your friends in the community who they enjoy doing business with, go to shows and start talking to sellers so you can build a relationship with someone you trust. Make a habit of reading the forums, like RC and Fauna. Keep your eyes open!
And if you just don't know where to start, who to trust, I suggest not buying online at all until you are ready. I suggest visiting a show, the CRBE in September is coming and would be a great place to start. Talk to the vendors, make your purchase in person but also build a few "relationships" to give you some sort of guidepost of who is a seller you feel comfortable about and who isn't. Watch other transactions go down. Ask sellers to allow you to either handle an animal or pick it up in the deli cup and do a full examination of it as practice. Notice tiny things wrong between animals. Do this hundreds of times and you will be able to pick a healthy snake out of a hobos shopping cart full of fresh imports in an alleyway. (Yes things can lurk inside animals but for this conversation we are talking about visible external issues)
I just wanted to post because I hate seeing people get scammed, but it's also NOT something that constantly happens to everyone...it's bad apples. I've been buying and selling reptiles since 2000 and have yet to be scammed in a horrible way. Some close calls and shady stuff for sure. Each time I had an issue, it was my fault as I had no time to exam or I committed one of the above offenses LOL. (yes the seller shouldn't sell crap of course) But I have also refused a purchase in many a parking lot after looking at the animal or seeing it's a male when I wanted a female etc etc etc. This post is also not intended to say scammers are scammers and it's our fault. It's not. But you MUST protect yourself at all times, in every aspect of life while also hoping that the people you choose to deal with have integrity.
Looking forward to other members safeguarding suggestions on the topic of people protecting themselves before a purchase.
The Following 15 Users Say Thank You to Marisa For This Useful Post:
All Pieds (10-22-2013),GreenThumb (08-15-2013),Lizzie B. (07-10-2013),Mrs.herper (09-10-2013),mykee (08-15-2013),nsducktoller (07-17-2013),QBrwn12 (05-27-2016),RedBaron (04-18-2014),Sammy_L (08-01-2014),Serenityskyz (01-20-2015),Surreal Serpents (10-30-2014),Turtle_Turtle (12-01-2013),twilight (07-10-2013),wannabereptileguy (08-15-2013),yeahmarley (09-11-2014)
07-10-2013, 10:09 AM #2
Well said Marisa. The positive improvement of the Canadian herp community starts with all of us!
(I also cringe reading the threads where people purchase sick animals to "rescue" them... while it is of benefit to the animal, it is also hurting the community... the breeder/seller just made a buck on an animal they knew was not of quality, that's the bottom line, unfortunately. The only way to begin to shut out scammers is to stop giving them business, regardless of how great the deal...)I have a zoo... how about you?
1.1 dogs (plus fluctuations due to what service pup(s) I'm raising/training at any given time); 3.2 kids
07-10-2013, 11:51 AM #3
I wanted to add and elaborate on one point....bank transfers. Many people including myself use Email Money Transfers on a regular basis. I am not aware of each banks protection for this sort of thing but the basically use your common sense. If you are just starting out with the seller, don't know them well and not many others do, use cash or some other safe payment. If you've done your homework, built up a comfortable relationship of some sort with the seller, or they have a well known tried and true rep, then by all means don't be scared by the mention of Email Money Transfers (EMT) as they are commonplace amongst reputable responsible breeders and buyers all the time and definitely not always a sign of "scammer". It's just all about being smart and careful before you get to the point of sending an EMT.
08-07-2013, 12:50 AM #4
- Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
How do you go about posting a classified ad? Every time I try it says I don't have permission. I've e-mailed the site administrator a couple of times but have not received any response.
The Following User Says Thank You to Burnabydoc For This Useful Post:
08-07-2013, 08:11 AM #5
New members need to post some and be apart of the community before they get classified privileges.
08-15-2013, 10:14 PM #6
- Welland, Ontario, Canada
- Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I've been guilty of this in the past. I have learned however there are some amazing people out there. This is thanks to the Breeders expo in Toronto.
The Following User Says Thank You to Nancy Diprose For This Useful Post:
12-01-2013, 12:45 AM #7
- Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
This is something I wish I had learned sooner. A few years ago I ordered a burmese python from a so called breeder in the USA. To make a long story short I was strung along for a while always more excuses and unforeseen costs. It cost me well over a thousand US just to find out the guy was a scam artist well quite well known on some of the herp forums. I wish I had done more research sooner. About a month after that the new legislation came out banning burmese pythons in BC. That hurt me the most because I spent most of my life getting to a position where I could properly care for a burmese. Anyway... My loss.
The Following User Says Thank You to Blackcat For This Useful Post:
10-04-2014, 05:29 PM #8
Thanks for the safe trading tips!
How many posts are needed before you can post in the classifieds ?
The Following User Says Thank You to Gabriel Navarrete For This Useful Post: