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Last update on .

After further discussion with the community, we have decided NOT to add a virus testing clause to the Default Store Policy (DSP). While our intentions are good, the complexities of such a process make it difficult to recommend a specific policy that is fair to all parties.

What are we doing instead?

We have added a comment to the DSP that any virus testing should be discussed prior to purchase so that a procedure can be agreed upon as well as recourse in the event of a positive result.

Why did we change our minds?

Our understanding of some of these viruses and how to test for them is still relatively new and developing. Virus testing is a good idea, but it also creates complexities within the transaction which make it difficult to recommend a good across-the-board policy. While our default can be overridden, it can give the appearance that sellers who endorse a different policy are untrustworthy, which is rarely the case.

Buyers sometimes don't realize that trust is a two-way street, and sellers can also be put at risk. For instance, if not properly quarantined, the animal could actually pick up a virus from the buyer's facility. Also, some buyers might try to abuse this policy to try to gain an advantage. Finally, both false positives and false negatives in these tests do occur. For these reasons and others, we encourage each breeder to determine their own policy and for buyers to ask about it if they are concerned. As we always say, at the end of the day you should buy from someone you trust, and this topic is no different. To that end, we provide a variety of tools to help buyers connect with sellers they can trust.

What does MorphMarket do to protect against sick animals?

As mentioned above, we are encouraging concerned buyers to raise this topic with the seller prior to purchase. This matters because any written agreements supersede the store policy which supersedes the default policy in the event of a dispute which MorphMarket will moderate. This has always been true.

If a buyer were to report positive tests, even if we could not moderate that particular transaction, we would still investigate. If we can establish with confidence that a seller is selling unhealthy animals, we will remove them from the marketplace. Thankfully in the few instances where this has occurred, the breeders had already conscientiously removed themselves until they could restore health to their collection. This has always been true.

Buyers also have the opportunity to leave negative feedback on a seller in the event of a failed test. Some buyers might wish to wait to leave a rating until such tests come back. The ratings system on our site is alone enough to provide checks and balances for this problem and others. This has always been true.

In addition, we will provide more resources to help continue to educate the community about what we know about this topic.

More Information

We believe it's in every keeper's best interest to quarantine new animals coming into their home or facility. Additionally, since viruses can hide in what appear to be healthy-looking animals even beyond typical quarantine periods, keepers may want to consider virus testing their animals.

Tests are available in kit form that can be performed at home and sent into a lab for analysis. These can detect some viruses including Nidovirus and Inclusion Body Disease. A few popular testing options are Fishhead Diagnostics and Research Associates Laboratory. Allegedly some facilities produce more accurate results than others; however, we do not yet have an official recommendation.

Here is an overview of viral diseases in reptiles. For information specifically about Nidovirus, check out this interview with Fishhead Labs by Chris Eaton of Snakes and the Fatman.

Last update on .

Basic Buyer Info Required

From now on we are requiring buyers to complete a few basic fields in their User Profile before sending new inquiries. The basic fields include:

  • First and Last Name
  • General Location (Country & Postal Code)
  • Phone Number

This change will speed up the inquiry process for everyone. Providing this basic information up front saves both the buyer and seller from having to request or provide it in a series of messages.

Phone numbers are now part of the required fields for a few reasons. First, sellers shipping live animals must provide the buyer's phone number to shipper. Second, phone numbers are valuable for in-person pickups. The Messenger will become progressively more real-time in future versions of our app, but it's always good to have backup communication methods.

We recommend that buyers enter accurate information. While there's nothing stopping you from entering "Daffy Duck" as your name, it will be off-putting to sellers, and you can expect to be declined and blocked frequently. If the name in your profile doesn't match the name in your payment information, that will be a red flag to the seller and will likely cause delays.

We also recommend filling out the optional fields. This information will help you build trust with the sellers and they will take you more seriously from the beginning.

In the future, as we add more support for transactions, we may have certain information such as phone number or full address become to the seller once a transaction has begun. Until then, you could enter a fake number -- such as all 1's -- if you are not willing for sellers to see our number. But again, it's the seller's option (just as it always has been) to decline an inquiry.

Last update on .

Have you ever wondered how MorphMarket moderates our site and mediates disputes? And how does our effort stack up against other services? This is something we care deeply about and put many hours into every week.

To increase transparency, we've just published an article on our Market Moderation Policies which gives a brief but thorough overview. It describes our handling and resolution of a wide variety of issues involving users, ads, ratings, transactions, and more. It explains what we do and what we do not do. We believe this information is helpful for understanding your rights and obligations on our site.

This article is part of our growing set of resources in our Learning Center.

Last update on .

Two years ago, we introduced the MorphMarket ratings system. Since then we have gathered approximately 50,000 ratings on buyers and sellers making it one of the most valuable tools in the world of herp commerce.

We will be discontinuing the option for sellers to opt-out of the ratings system. This choice was provided when we launched first launched the system, but we will no longer support it moving forward because we believe it's unhelpful to the kind of transparency we want to promote in the marketplace.

In reality, using this feature has always been a bad look for the seller. It's better to have a few negative ratings with professional responses than to hide them all-together.

In two weeks, we will be removing this setting from all accounts. If you wish to permanently deactivate your account you may do so by contacting support.

Last update on .

All sellers need to read about the MorphMarket's Default Store Policy that will take effect January 15, 2021. This update does not necessitate any changes to your business policies PROVIDED THAT you have overridden the Default Policy in the terms of your own custom Store Policy.

The Default Store Policy page both explains the purpose and the terms of the Default Policy.

As written there:

"This Default Store Policy defines a minimum set of expectations which will be applicable for Sellers who do not otherwise override them in their own Store Policy and/or communicate them in writing before the sale. These terms are subject to change, and it is therefore recommended that a Seller override them in their own Policy.

Note that while a custom Store Policy can and should override the following, it cannot override MorphMarket's Rules or provide immunity from the rules."

You can find and edit your own policy under the Seller Profile page.

The purpose is to provide a more uniform and predictable experience for both buyers and sellers on the site. Many sellers historically have had gaps in their store policy if it is defined at all, which creates a divergence of expectations between buyer and seller and challenges for MorphMarket in providing moderation.

Last update on .

In the marketplace, we have Terms of Service which apply to all users, but also a set of much more specific rules for sellers, which is now posted here: Rules and Guidelines.

We're making the following updates to selling rules today:

  1. These rules have always been located within the Seller Guide. Because of their significance and length we’ve finally moved these rules to their own top level page.
  2. The rules are have been updated with more detail, clarifications, and examples to leave less ambiguity about what we’re enforcing, to the extent that it is possible.
  3. Finally, the rules are numbered. While the numbering isn’t permanent, it is unlikely to change within the timespan of a conversation and should be useful for reference in conversations.

All sellers should become familiar with this latest set of rules as this is the current standard. Clarity around these expectations helps our support team keep buying and selling running smoothly.

Thanks for your support in making this marketplace excellent!

Last update on .

At MorphMarket, we take fraud very seriously. We have gone to great lengths to help buyers avoid getting scammed, and yet it never fails that on the occasion that a scammer pops up, a few unexperienced buyers are quickly drawn in.

The point of this post is to outline what MorphMarket does and does not do to protect against fraudulent sellers.

Continue reading on the MorphMarket Reptile Community...

Last update on .

How to Avoid Fraud as a Seller

Most of the time we think about buyers being the one at risk, however sellers can end up getting shorted too. Here's a great thread by John Dague about How to Avoid Fraud as a Seller. Please add your thoughts and methods as well.

https://community.morphmarket.com/t/tips-on-avoiding-fraud-as-a-seller/2290

Last update on .

How to Ship Live Reptiles

Responsible shipping is important for your animals, your customers, and the reputation of the whole hobby. It isn’t that hard but can be daunting the first time around.

For this reason, MorphMarket has partnered with our friends at ShipYourReptiles to produce this new guide: How to Ship Live Reptiles, showing the key steps and common pitfalls.

Last update on .

Ordering a live animal online is a more complex process than going down the street to the pet store, but the rewards are numerous: wider variety, higher quality, and better prices.

Part of having a good experience is knowing what to expect. In our new article titled What Buyers Can Expect, we'll give you an idea of what is typical when purchasing a reptile online.