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Well as a spin off from Kyles recent thread on Community concerns, I'd like to start a civil conversation regarding suggestions for safe online frog purchasing.



Rules:
  1. Lets not rehash the vendor feedback debate here. It isn't going to happen on this site at this time.
  2. Let's refrain from mentioning specific vendors by name.
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OK, my first suggestions for those contemplating online purchasing come from years of being both a vendor and a customer.



1. Do your own Due Diligence. Don't just rely on others for 'feedback' and advice alone.
  • Call the vendor, or email.
  • Give them your background and ask theirs. Have some 'conversations' with them prior to ordering so you feel comfortable with them.
  • Ask about their shipping requirements, and any guarantees.
  • Ask other froggers privately about their experiences [PM system ect.]
  • Get pics of frogs if available.
  • Make sure they know what you want, and they are supplying what you want. Don't make assumptions on ages/sizes/shipping requirements/guarantees etc.
2. Provide all shipping info to the vendor including name, shipping address, phone # and email so that there is less room for error.

3. Pre-pay with Paypal or Check/CC, which can be tracked and 'disputed' if needed.

4. Communication is key. Both before, and after receipt of the animals.

5. If you have concerns, try using site registered vendors or members in good standing.

6. Realize that in most instances, once a buyer takes possession, further health and care of the animals is up to them/you.

7. Communicate any concerns you have with the vendor directly before you consider ever making transaction specifics 'public'.

8. Realize that in many case the 'vendor' is just another enthusiastic hobbyist like yourself. They don't necessarily need to be a "Pro" in order to get it right.

**EDIT 2/18/2016**
This is also a thread with useful information:
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/ge...u-dont-get-ripped-off-dead-beat-froggers.html

Shawn
 

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An excellent list of guidelines, Shawn. I've been active on a number of forums over the years (on a wide and eclectic variety of subjects), and I'm always flabbergasted that many people will rant/complain/whine about a perceived wrong publicly before contacting the seller directly (and in some cases, in lieu of direct contact).

Seriously, people, pick up the phone. Ask questions, set expectations. Allow sellers to make good on their promises before marring their reputations publicly.
 

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That is something that bothers me as well. People would rather get attention, "poor me, see what xxxx is doing" from the community at large vs dealing with the only person who can solve the issues.

In the end, animals suffer & perceived issues are blown out of proportion.

Shawn - I think the guidelines are good.


An excellent list of guidelines, Shawn. I've been active on a number of forums over the years (on a wide and eclectic variety of subjects), and I'm always flabbergasted that many people will rant/complain/whine about a perceived wrong publicly before contacting the seller directly (and in some cases, in lieu of direct contact).

Seriously, people, pick up the phone. Ask questions, set expectations. Allow sellers to make good on their promises before marring their reputations publicly.
 

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  • Ask other froggers privately about their experiences [PM system ect.]
This one can be a bit uncomfortable I guess would be the proper term. It's almost impossible to know who has bought frogs from people unless you know that they have purchased from them to begin with. I assume that your recommending to post in the vendor info and questions area? Even though responses in that area are to be done through pm, I can see where an individual frogger who is selling frogs could take offense to you posting up the question as to whether or not a person has done business with them. I personally wouldn't care and would almost prefer they do about things I'm selling just so they know that they are dealing with a fair and honest person. What is the take on those of you who sell on these forums to seeing your name show up in that section? Like I said, I don't think that it should be looked at as insulting. If you're an honest seller you should have nothing to worry about right?
 

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I don't really think honesty had much to do with it, more just how reputable you are. If you are supply people with terrible animals but are honest about it I think that is a lot worse than being a really good breeder who makes occasional mistakes.

It also seems like people are more inclined to post if they have had a bad experience. I am not sure why but it definetily seems people are more inclined to complain rather than compliment. So if there was something posted about xxxxx I don't necessarily think the comments would accuratly show the quality of their services.

People also hear what they want to hear, even if there is only one statement saying what they want to hear, I think some people will ignore all the others, blaming it on the customer or shipping ect.
 

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Thanks for starting this Shawn.

One thing that I have found extremely helpful is when vendors/sellers offer references when you start talking seriously about a purchase. While I don't always check (sometimes I do) it definitely goes a long way to assuaging any concerns.
 

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have realistic expectations on what your getting ,if something is priced too low find out why.
ask any health questions before sale is made ,like do they have a treatment history , have fecals ever been done, if wc what treatments if any have been done, this can be valuable info to have before a sale is made and should affect the cost.

if possible ask for copies of original cites papers , for some these could be very good to have in future
thats all i can thinkof looks good shawn
 

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I don't really think honesty had much to do with it, more just how reputable you are. If you are supply people with terrible animals but are honest about it I think that is a lot worse than being a really good breeder who makes occasional mistakes.
I think that reputation plays a lot into it. My point was directed towards buying from individuals who are not necessarily a steadily appearing name in the classifieds who may just have a few pairs of frogs that produce occasional offspring. These sellers are not going to have a known reputation like a more frequent seller. More than likely this seller has sold nothing but quality animals and been a reputable seller in their past transactions, but since they only have a few frogs for sale every 6 months or so they are kind of an unknown. There is a fairly large number of posts that get made in the classifieds from sellers just like this. If your that seller or maybe put yourself in that sellers place....would it bother you to see another frogger who you've discussed a sale with post a thread asking if anyone has dealt with you in the past to please pm them?
 

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Good Thread Topic Shawn.

I don't pop frogs up on the classifieds but I will pm someone if they are looking for something I have available. I've had some interesting conversations or lack there of. Both parties really need to "talk" about the frogs care. What are the successes and failures the seller has had with x species. What recommendations do they have about viv size, feeding, reproduction needs, how susceptible to stress are they, etc. This type of conversation and data gathering gives both parties a chance to eliminate surprises down the line. Which is good for the frogs and the people.

I've been around for decades in the frog hobby but I don't take offense to being asked for references. Although some of my references may be "old timers" as well so it can be tricky to someone who has just started in the frog hobby. I think it shows some caution and a serious concern about getting quality frogs from a sellers point of view.

Bargaining. I don't take offense to someone asking for a better price, but I do take offense to those that demand it because someone else is whoring out their frogs for cheap. Most of the time you get what you pay for. There is always the case where people breed too many frogs and unload them. It happens all the time, just watch the classifieds; but that doesn't mean we are all bound to cheaper prices. My first question is why aren't you buying those frogs then. There are a lot of other factors that make a good frog besides price so take those into consideration and ask specific questions before assuming too much.

I like the suggestion of putting up a message on the board to solicit feedback in dealing with a specific buyer/seller. Maybe Kyle could make this a separate section that would instantly lock the thread to prevent public replies and only let pm's through.

Just some thoughts
Eric
 

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My first question is why aren't you buying those frogs then.
Sorry, not to go too far off topic, but your comment brought back a memory from one of my early jobs. I was 20 and working in a tropical fish store. The store was owned by two guys in their 30's. They said they had been sick of having to put up with cr*p from customers all their lives and told us we didn't have to with a difficult person.

(Just to show you how long ago this was), I was catching some zebra danios for a guy, we were selling them 10/$1.00. The customer commented "The store down the street is selling them for 15/$1.00". I paused with the net in my hand, turned to him and said, "Then you'd be pretty stupid to buy them here!" He didn't say another word about trying to bargain, so I finished bagging his purchases.

I admit, I have asked for multi-frog discounts from vendors, but I wouldn't think of asking them to match someone else's prices. Generally, you get what you pay for in quality and reputation of the seller.

Deb
 

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Sorry, not to go too far off topic, but your comment brought back a memory from one of my early jobs. I was 20 and working in a tropical fish store. The store was owned by two guys in their 30's. They said they had been sick of having to put up with cr*p from customers all their lives and told us we didn't have to with a difficult person.

(Just to show you how long ago this was), I was catching some zebra danios for a guy, we were selling them 10/$1.00. The customer commented "The store down the street is selling them for 15/$1.00". I paused with the net in my hand, turned to him and said, "Then you'd be pretty stupid to buy them here!" He didn't say another word about trying to bargain, so I finished bagging his purchases.

I admit, I have asked for multi-frog discounts from vendors, but I wouldn't think of asking them to match someone else's prices. Generally, you get what you pay for in quality and reputation of the seller.

Deb
I don't think that it is out of place to inquire about getting a multi-frog discount. It's really a harmless question and many times sellers are more than willing to give such discounts.

Eric, it's good to hear that you have that attitude towards the referencing issue. When I posted my question on that I had a feeling that most would be completely fine with it. In my opinion if your going to take offense to me researching your selling history a bit then I don't want to deal with you.
 

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4. Communication is key. Both before, and after receipt of the animals.



Shawn
Yes, and to specify: timely coummunication is key.
For instance, if you respond to an ad with an inquiry like:
What would be my total price for 5 frogs shipped to my zip code?
And the vendor responds in a timely manner (say within a day) it is only fair to respond with a yay or nay as soon as you can...in other words, don't wait several days, and expect the frogs to be still available.

That being said, don't get you're undies bunched up if you send an inquiry on a weekend, and don't get a response till monday...some people have lives.

Vendors: send tracking #s as soon as you have them available.
Buyers: it is a very nice thing to let the vendor know the frogs arrived OK (or not) as soon as you can find a minute to do so.

Don't post an ad if you are planning on going on vacation, etc.

If the frogs are to be shipped, understand that you must be available to receive (ideally pick it up at a "hold at" location) and sign for the package when it is to be delivered. Figure out a day when you could do this, and ask the vendor if shipping that day would be possible. (always nice to have a little idea of what you're week will be like)

Picking you're package up at a "hold at" location eliminates a truck ride, so instead of riding in the back of a boiling hot or ice cold truck, you're package sits in a nice, room temperature environment. It is also cheaper than residential delivery.

Fridays are not a good day to expect you're package...if for some reason the package is delayed, it may be monday before you see it...not good.

A word on pricing:

I usually offer competitive pricing, I don't mind if you ask for a little break on a large purchase, but please, no low-ball offers. I once had someone offer me x amount of dollars for every frog in my ad...the amount they offered was only about 10% of what the frogs were worth...I took it as an insult.
 

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And realize, in times like these, if you only want 1 $50 frog and that person has to travel an hour and a half to drop them off and gas prices as hi as they are, you may have to go to Black Jungle or Josh`s Frogs to get someone to do that. If you spend an hour on emails and an hour on the phone for 1 frog and then 1 1/2 driving and gas etc. it isn`t really worth it for an individual to sell you a frog. If they have no other reason to drive(other orders or chores) it isn`t feasable to make that sale. We are not all walmart w/ a bunch of minimum wage employees to field such questions and spend that time on 1 frog purchases.
This is why I`m doing mostly wholesale. Spending 20-30 hours on the phone and emails to get no sales that week isn`t possible from a business model. Especially when you`ve spent enough time to at least get 1 sale that week. And especially when you find all your customers DID purchase frogs from someone else AFTER they`ve picked your brain enough and went w/ a cheaper competitor.
 

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Aaron, the problem with that is that all businesses suffer the same thing. Everyone wants to pay less for items they buy. While I understand that spending all of that time does suck when you don't make the sale, its not time wasted. Many times your time and effort will payoff in the long term. Sure you didn't get this sale, but what about their next purchase when they remember how helpful you were before? Businesses don't thrive off of a customer coming in one time. Its the repeat customers that keep businesses thriving and while the sale may not happen the first time you talk....treat them well and its almost guaranteed they will check with you again for future purchases.
 

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Another couple of things about buying online---

Be sure that they volunteer info such as the bloodline and give husbandry advice on that species, rather than merely quote you a price. That's how you can tell if you are getting them from a somewhat reputable breeder.

Also, don't be tempted to sell your frogs/juvies for much less than they're worth---especially from someone who just joined the forum 5 minutes ago! This undercuts everyone since these 'bargain hunters' may turn around and resell them for more once they're grown, and IMO that's not someone from whom I want to acquire frogs---it begs the question "How adequately were these frogs cared for?"

Finally, don't be too shy---ask why they're selling. A reputable frogger will usually volunteer most, if not all, of the above, without you asking.

If none of the above is volunteered, the seller/buyer just joined DB and is posting questions about price rather than frog info---beware...
 

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Another couple of things about buying online---
Be sure that they volunteer info such as the bloodline and give husbandry advice on that species, rather than merely quote you a price. That's how you can tell if you are getting them from a somewhat reputable breeder.
I'm going to have to disagree with this, I have bought frogs from many "reputable breeders" who just quote prices, and there's nothing wrong with that. Especially for large breeders who sell a lot of frogs, I would imagine that telling every single customer the specific care information would become quite tediuos after a few sales.
 

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I think that reputation plays a lot into it. My point was directed towards buying from individuals who are not necessarily a steadily appearing name in the classifieds who may just have a few pairs of frogs that produce occasional offspring. These sellers are not going to have a known reputation like a more frequent seller. More than likely this seller has sold nothing but quality animals and been a reputable seller in their past transactions, but since they only have a few frogs for sale every 6 months or so they are kind of an unknown. There is a fairly large number of posts that get made in the classifieds from sellers just like this. If your that seller or maybe put yourself in that sellers place....would it bother you to see another frogger who you've discussed a sale with post a thread asking if anyone has dealt with you in the past to please pm them?
I agree wholeheartedly. As a business man I've learned that reputation and proven quality are virtually always worth paying a little bit extra for. By choosing to support honest and ethical breeders we are doing a favor for ourselves, the frogs, and the hobby as a whole. :D
 

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I'm going to have to disagree with this, I have bought frogs from many "reputable breeders" who just quote prices, and there's nothing wrong with that. Especially for large breeders who sell a lot of frogs, I would imagine that telling every single customer the specific care information would become quite tediuos after a few sales.
I think what I had in mind when I wrote this was private individuals, like myself. Maybe 'willing to share' is a better way to say it than 'volunteer' when getting husbandry advice from a vendor/individual.
 

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i wish there was some sort of rating as far as sellers go. kinda like ebay.
seems like theres little to no accountability here almost like cops or docs covering for each other.

i can tell u the other day i saw a vendor selling "WC blue jeans"

so i sent an email "caught from where?"

(since these are illegal to export from costa rica)

i got no response

that in itself was all the response i needed.

ask the hard questions. as soon as the person stops responding you have yr answer. move on.
 
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