Know Thy Breeder/Vendor

Friday, June 21, 2013
I don't think I've touched on this as much as I probably should have, so I'm dedicated an entry to it. As a moderator on the Chameleon Forums, I get asked questions all the time about who to buy from, as people assume that I know who is a reputable breeder or vendor. And I do, to an extent, and am always willing to recommend breeders and business whom I have dealt with personally with great results. But I find that it's always a good idea to do some independent research.

So that's what I'm here to talk about! Especially when buying or selling online, it is SO easy to get scammed out of money, animals, or both. I highly recommend doing a quick internet search on anyone who you are doing business with, in case negative experiences come up (because thankfully, people are quick to post about negative business transactions online!)

Search the Board of Inquiry

For exotic pets and reptiles in general, I very much recommend a quick search on the Fauna Classifieds - Board of Inquiry. It is an enormously useful resource! Use it! 

You can look up a person's name or business and any threads (negative or positive) will come up, which lets you see their history and decide whether you trust them with your business or not. The great thing about this website is that it has very strict rules about making a negative thread, so you will always get evidence as part of the complaint. So you can see not just that someone had a bad experience, but all the e-mail conversations, photos of sick animals, etc.

It pays to at least Google a person's name. Threads like the ones in the BOI or elsewhere are sure to pop up. 

Look Through Forums

Additionally, I recommend asking breeders or sellers if they are members of any forums. Forums allow you to see a person's entire posting history on their profile, and this can sometimes be very enlightening. You could see that they are a great, very knowledgeable member, or a very ignorant one, who cuts a lot of corners when caring for their animals. So looking through people's posts online can be a good way to see if people are trustworthy or reputable before trusting them with animals or money.

Always Use Safe Transaction Methods 

And finally, always protect yourself when purchasing online by going through websites like Paypal for all transactions. Paypal will usually fight for you if you pay for an animal that you did not receive, or if you receive a dead or sick animal and the seller refuses to refund you. Paypal is a good ally in most cases, and it pays to make all transactions through them.

Avoid anything that sounds fishy - such as paying through Western Union (untraceable) or cashier's check. Those are most typically scams.

Stay safe online!
I'm willing to help wherever I can, but please do your own online searches before buying or selling. 

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