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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading another post here it got me thinking about my experiences and what is considered normal vs something that should be a concern.
So i have been in the hobby for years but only recently started ordering online as it just is easier than waiting for a store to get what you want. I have been to cheap to pay for the overnight which has burned me... I ordered from a member here two pairs of cpo and they were delivered but instead of at my door in the general mailbox and i didnt realize it for an extra day and lost them all...
Also I recently made a couple of orders of fish and had some fish and snails die even with heat packs... I was mixed on it as I felt well they are doing their best but of course you feel like what a waste of money...
I dont know what the answer is as i have no idea the margins people have and the quality of fish they get. I do feel like maybe with bigger orders its good to throw in a couple of extras just in case and in my opinion goes a huge way to make a customer feel like they are being looked after. Again I dont know what the answer is but I know how a company reacts to issues is extremely important...Right now i spent days fighting with snapfish because they screwed up some gifts i bought and basically tell me wrong info and blew me off for days and still are telling me nonsense.... And now i have made a point to review them on multiple sites to warn others...
SO i guess after this looong thought my question is what is an "acceptable" loss considering the risks of shipping during cold weather?
 

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I'm not sure that question is easily answered. I would say check the vendor reviews thoroughly and see what the general consensus is on their shipping practices. If you're purchasing from a sponsor on here, you can even write to people that have left feedback and ask them if they felt the packaging was adequate to protect their order during transit. Shipping in cold weather is always risky -- I am not shipping ANY livestock right now because our temps have been in the single digits. I'm not willing to risk it. Plants I can more easily replace, although I hate for them to freeze, too. If you can, hold off until well after the holiday, too. I have some microworms that I sent out a couple of days ago and they're still not showing up in the system. I'm pretty sure they'll be wormcicles by the time they get where they are going. :-(
 

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I think it's up to you to decide what's acceptable. For me, no loss is acceptable. I only order from reputable places (learned that one the hard way) that have live arrival guarantees, which they wont have if it's freezing/too hot or you don't use overnight shipping. The trick to saving on the shipping, is to spend enough to either get free shipping, or to make your purchase as cheap or cheaper than buying from your LFS. This requires spending a lot at once, which requires planning on your part. You say you're too cheap to pay for overnight, but which is more costly- paying less for shipping and having nothing to show for it because everything died, or paying more and having your livestock? I'd rather spend more and have something than spend less and have nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the issue is so many times i hear people say they shipped priority no problem so yes i say why spend an extra 20 if i can get 20 more worth of fish...i know it is a penny wise a pound foolish.
Also I am still learning but hearing people seem to a little scared to say negatives about sponsors and so it makes me think reviews are not true...I come from another site that if you said a bad word or even hinted that you had an issue with a sponsor you would be banned and i was a newb to cichlids and got screwed when some one gave me a group of fish that were supposed to be one thing and turned out not to be but i couldnt really do much about it with out getting crap from the site people... So i guess can i trust the ptrader reviews after recent posts i see people expressing concerns with a company i actually used and perhaps if i knew those issues i may have considered my options better....
 

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The general rule of thumb: Pay for overnight shipping if you're ordering fish or sensitive/rare/expensive inverts.

Plants and things like snails or Cherry Shrimp? Priority works but you should use heat packs and ice packs for all of them when necessary.

99% of sellers and sponsors here are top-notch. You can usually tell by reading their feedback whether or not they correct mistakes or take care of their customers. If someone doesn't have enough feedback for you to judge, then there's no harm in finding another vendor or member to buy from.
 

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My best advice is to get involved here on the site with the other members and get to know them. Many of the problems I feel can be avoided once you gain some insight about people.

The Itrader is only a starting point. It's definitely biased towards Rainbows, Puppy dogs and Lollipops. Very few people post neg because they fear neg retaliation posts. I've had two people I've sold to here where the transaction did not go well. In one, against my better judgement I sent Hornwort to LA in the heat of summer. The buyer insisted someone would be home, I don't believe someone was home to receive the box. The plants were mush. In the 2nd transaction around the time of my cataract surgery I sold someone the wrong plant.

BOTH buyers were given 100% money back including shipping, no hassle, no questions on my end. That was my policy when I used to sell plants here. I would be rather hurt if my 100% pos. rating was tarnished by an unfounded retaliatory post. I work too hard at being an outstanding seller. I write novels of info with each sale to help my buyers to be successful. I treat buyers as friends, because there are my friends here.

The way to use the Itrader as I see it it is to contact the seller's buyers that are your friends here via PM and get a reference. Most people are more than willing to talk candidly with their friends.

READ the forums! Think about the responses. If the person is a jerk or evasive in answers. That is a RED FLAG. If the person only posts are in the Swap, RED FLAG. There are more great people here than weak people. The only way to know the players is to get in the game. Get involved in the forum. If the seller wants you to pay as a "gift" RED FLAG.

Buyers - take some responsibility for your side of the deal. ASK QUESTIONS. If it's a new plant for you ask about it's requirements. If you did not see pics of what you are buying ASK about how big, long, roots, leaves, snails, algae, etc. What will happen if the box doesn't arrive. What if the plants are mush etc. The time to talk about this stuff is BEFORE you pay.

Develop a group of friends, buy/trade/sell with them. I have my own "A" list. These days I usually PM a friend when looking for a plant. I seldom go to swap anymore.
 

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I was going to respond, but somewhatshocked and dogfish gave such great advice there's very little more I could add!

Some tips:

-Often you'll see posts about one seller or another in a thread and you can tell they are thought highly of.

-At other times someone will post something they received they are very happy about. There is no rule that says you can't pm them and ask where they received their item from. The reverse is also true. If an item is questionable, or the buyer is unhappy, you can still pm them and ask questions.

-You'd be surprised how many people pay a little extra for an item from someone they trust- either by using them before or on a recommendation from another member. Trust and peace of mind is sometimes worth a few extra pennies

-Not everything needs to be expressed. Some can be priority. Ask your seller their thoughts. Post a question on the forum. That's what we are all here for- to learn more about our hobby.

-Ask if a heat pack/cool pack is included in the cost of shipping

-Most honest sellers from this forum don't make money off the cost of shipping. If it is over the cost of the actual shipping, the additional money usually goes into safe packing.

-You can also ask HOW they pack to ensure live arrival of your item. If someone is asking $25 for shipping, and they are going to use crumpled newspaper in a used VHS box, something is wrong there.

-Also, you can ask for their DOA policy. Depending on what the item is, some sellers will give credit, money back or give another item. Sometimes this is only with express mail, however some do it with priority. Some, don't do it at all. Some have this information written in their Sell/trade blurb. Some don't. No way to know unless you pm and ask.

Hope this helps. :)
 

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Buyers - take some responsibility for your side of the deal. ASK QUESTIONS. If it's a new plant for you ask about it's requirements. If you did not see pics of what you are buying ASK about how big, long, roots, leaves, snails, algae, etc. What will happen if the box doesn't arrive. What if the plants are mush etc. The time to talk about this stuff is BEFORE you pay.

that statement needed to be said again it is YOUR job to use your brain and common sense or judgement as the seller doesnt know your weather or other issues that can come up thats not there job. ive actually ordered shrimp*nick* during a decent snow storm and had to track down the mailman as when i got to the door they were gone and i wasnt letting them sit in the truck till there ready to go back to the hub.

so if you have weather that is questionable then might be best to wait till better temps befor shipping flora or fauna expecially as a first timer. correct packaging is key but can only do so much in bad weather hot or cold,
 

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I have recieved 6 discus shipped from california to chicago in feb. all were in perfect condition.

I recieved a pack of dead snails from poor packing and the person made good on it by sending me more even when there was almost no charge ti begin with.

I recieved a pack of ramshorn snails when I paid for pond snails with no reply.

I expect professional packing and zero DOA when I am dealing with someone who is certainly selling as a source of income.
I don't expect those results from the casual (or even serious) hobbyist but I would still expect good communication and them to make good if it is their fault I have mush or DOA.

---and I always chuckle when I see some disclaimer that it is somehow my responsibility to know whether the product can be shipped safely. --as if I ship all the time and am somehow qualified to determine what is safe
 

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Before you purchase from someone online, make certain these few things, especially now because of the cold.
1.Plants/Livestock are shipped with insulation
2.Heatpacks!!!
-a.(72 hours mandatory for Coast to Coast shipping)
-b.(40 hours minimum for state to state & local)
3.Make sure that the heatpack won't come in contact with the bags of plant/livestock in transit.
4.Verify that the seller doesn't pack too many fish per bag.

Shipping is fine this time of year, I'd rather ship in the fall/winter than the summer any day. If you find something you want to purchase, you should always question the seller.

If you don't feel comfortable and aren't getting the right answers but a wtb thread up and list what you're trying to buy. Worst case, you can go to a local fish store, there are a number of shops in Jersey!

-Gordon
 
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